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"The potential for greatness lives within each of us"
- Wilma Rudolph, American sprinter, teacher, civil and women's rights pioneer

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Medicaid Expansion
On Wednesday, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) voted to fund Medicaid Expansion through the Milennium Fund. The committee voted unanimously 20-0 to fund the program. The appropriation will now go to both houses for approval, then on to the Governor. The Medicaid Expansion initiative was passed by 61% of the voters through a ballot initiative. This is great news for Idahoans! One cautionary note, there are still a number of bills under consideration within the legislature to create"sideboards" such as work requirements for Medicaid expansion recipients. Updates coming soon.

Senate Panel Holds Campaign Finance Bill
A campaign finance reform bill, SB 1114, was introduced in Senate State Affairs at the recommendation of a bipartisan interim committee. The bill has new rules for electioneering communications, lengthening the reporting time, and setting a standard for donations that must be reported based on the amount given. The intent of the bill is to provide the public with more transparency in relation to campaign finances. However, some fear the legislation may actually reduce donations as the donor and the gift will now be public information. The bill has been held in committee.

Foster Care Awareness Day
Child welfare advocates from Idaho Voices for Children, Family Advocates, Casey Family Programs, Idaho Children's Trust Fund, and Idaho Foster Youth Advisory Board were on hand at the Capitol to meet with legislators and the community this week. They spent the day raising awareness about the strengths, deficits, needs, and opportunities that exist in the Foster Care arena in Idaho. There were also multiple presentations at the first meeting of the newly established Child Welfare Review Panel.

House Panel OKs Bill to Set Minimum Age for Marriage
HB 98 headed to the House Floor on Thursday to set Idaho's minimum age for marriage at 16. It would still require parental consent and a judge's sign off stating that the marriage was in their best interest. This bill's goal was to prevent forced marriages and child trafficking while aligning with Idaho's current statutory rape law. Unfortunately, this bill failed in the House on a 28-39 vote.

Suicide Prevention Week
This week the Senate unanimously passed a joint memorial calling for Idaho's congressional delegation and other U.S. leaders to support a 611 designation to the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The joint memorial will hopefully create easier access to help for those in crisis and will lower the high suicide rate in Idaho, especially among our youth. In 2016, Idaho had the eighth-highest suicide rate in the country and 57% higher than the national average. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Idahoans age 15-34 and 21.7% of Idaho youth reported seriously considering suicide in 2017.

Meeting with Boise State's Student Government
I attended the ASBSU general assembly meeting to talk to Boise State's student government on what it means to be a leader. It was exhilarating to be in the company of the committed young men and women who are engaged, focused on the future, and equipping themselves for a new day to make this world an even better place. Boise State will be holding their Day at the Capitol event on March 13th.

SB1058 on Charter Schools
SB1058 has been introduced by Sen. Den Hartog and would grant charter schools more privileges than other public schools in choosing their administrators. The bill aims to create a new charter school administrator certificate in place of the traditional administrator certificate. Administrators would be eligible for a charter school administrator certificate if they (1) hold a bachelor's degree, (2) pass a criminal background check, (3) receive training on teacher evaluation, (4) demonstrate a charter school board of directors seeks to hire them and commits to oversee their work, and (5) have a minimum amount of professional experience. By creating these new requirements, charter schools will hold a higher advantage in the hiring of administrators, unfair to other public schools.

Mandatory Minimums
A bill to relax mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of large amounts of drugs has been introduced by Reps. Bryan Zollinger and Ilana Rubel. Currently, the possession of larger amounts of most drugs falls under Idaho's drug trafficking statute, which is punished by mandatory minimum prison sentences. The goal of the bill is to eliminate the word "mandatory" and allow judges the discretion to impose a shorter sentence if they feel it serves in the best interest and public safety is not threatened. The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted 13-4 to send the bill to the House floor with a "do pass" recommendation.

News You Can Use:

2019 Conference on Indigenous Peoples of the Boise Valley, March 8-9
The 2019 conference will be held at the Boise First Congressional United Church of Christ. The objective of this event is to share tribal histories and contemporary stories of those who live in and travel through the Boise valley. For more information and to register, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Frank Church Gala Event on March 16 at 5:30 pm
The Frank & Bethine Church Gala is the signature event for the Idaho Democratic Party. Now entering its 25th year, the Gala attracts hundreds of Democrats from every corner of the state. The Gala is the capstone of a day filled with trainings and workshops for Idaho Democrats and is a memorable evening for all who participate. If you are interested in attending, tickets can be found here.

Here to Serve You
My goal is to address the immediate needs of District 19 while working strategically toward long term solutions. It is my honor to serve you in the Idaho State Senate. Know that your letters, emails, texts, and calls are invaluable. I appreciate hearing what is most important to you and your family.

You can reach me at (208) 332-1339 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cherie

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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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Phone: 208-861-5482