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"To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination."
- bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins), an American author, professor,
feminist, and social activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Lack of Transparency and Process
Throughout this legislative session, transparency and process have deteriorated. Repeatedly, a small and sometimes secreted group of legislators make decisions about major and impactful legislation behind closed doors, without transparency, without little or no stakeholder input. Proper legislative process has devolved: legislation is posted on committee agendas without sufficient notice, committees are scheduled without adequate time allotted for meaningful discussion or testimony, contentious bills are placed at the end of agendas, limiting proper consideration,and rushing procedural motions. Hundreds of people have come to the Capitol, the People's House, to present their concerns to those they elected. Yet, unfortunately, they are all too often treated with little respect. Hold your legislators accountable! We were elected to serve you. The citizens of Idaho deserve better.

Urban Renewal Bill
HB 217, an Urban Renewal Bill, would require a vote on any public projects using urban renewal funds, top of mind is the proposed new Boise library and sports stadium. Urban renewal money currently comes from a portion of property taxes paid on properties in the district. Also, a public vote is required if 51% or more of a project's cost is funded with urban renewal money. The spending requires approval from 60% of voters. The new bill would lower that to 55%, but it would also do away with the 51% project-cost threshold and prohibit the use of any urban renewal money without voter approval. While HB 217 sailed through the House, it has not been introduced to Senate Local Government and Taxation, where it would need to be passed in order to be voted on the Senate floor.

Boise State Day at the Capitol
Students from Boise State were at the Capitol on Wednesday morning visiting with legislators and sharing their educational experiences. Governor Little signed a proclamation naming March 13, 2019, Boise State Day. These students will indeed change the future.

Medicaid Expansion Funding
On Monday, the Senate approved the funding for Medicaid Expansion on a vote of 31-3. The budget authorizes $2.83 billion in total funding for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Medicaid Division. Most of that will come from federal funding and will go toward supporting the traditional Medicaid program. The budget also includes about $9.3 million in general state fund support for Medicaid expansion, an amount that will offset entirely by saving in other agency budgets. The proposed budget will now be transmitted to the House, where it is anticipated to come down to a much closer vote margin. I am continuously fighting for Medicaid Expansion to be funded without any restrictions or sidebars.

Public Lands
This week, we have been fighting to keep "Public Lands in Public Hands." The Senate Resources and Environment Committee heard a HB 162, which would create a legislative council for federal lands issues. The intention of the council would be to act
as an interim committee to monitor and review federal lands related issues and policies. While the bill states the council would only cost the general fund $10,000 to $15,000, there is fear this cost would be much larger. Previously in 2013 and 2014, a federal lands interim committee spent more than $90,000 in legal fees. Further, there are potential legal problems in terms of its execution of authority. Groups from all over the state showed up, and there were over a hundred individuals signed up to testify on the bill. The committee voted to send the bill back its sponsor for amendments.

Veterans Bill Passes Senate Unanimously
Rep. Brooke Green has been working on legislation brought to the Legislature on behalf of veterans - men and women who have fought valiantly in service to our country and suffered tremendous injury and disability. Injuries that have rendered them unable to have children. The goal is to bring to the attention of our congressional delegation, a seriously flawed policy that is impacting many of our most seriously injured combat veterans. Due to legislation expired in September 2018, costs for fertility treatments for US Veterans rose drastically. This memorial will let it be known on a national level that we in Idaho value our veterans and understand the importance of family. We honor their service and support their return to civilian life and a new normal. This memorial speaks to our commitment to empower our veterans to realize the fit of families they desire and deserve. I was honored to have sponsored this memorial on the Senate floor. On Monday, it passed unanimously and will head to our Congress. The Senate gave a standing ovation to Ret. Captain Mica Andersen who was the driving force for the legislation and present in the gallery.

Idaho is Too Great for Hate
Sen. Chuck Winder, joined me in sponsoring SB 1175 which passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee this week . The bill creates a new Idaho license platehonoring the Anne Frank Memorial and extolling that Idaho is "Too Great for Hate." Funds collected from the sale of license plate will be used to benefit the Wassmuth Center, home of the Anne Frank Memorial, to sustain and expand educational programming.

Voter Initiative and Referendum Bill
Senator Scott Grow introduced a bill, SB 1159, that would dramatically change how voter initiatives and referendums get placed on the ballot. Currently under state law, to get an initiative on an Idaho ballot requires signatures equaling 6 percent of the state's registered voters as of the last general election. The signatures must come from at least 18 of the state's 35 legislative districts. Petitioners have 18 months to collect the signatures. The bill would increase the number of registered voter from 6% to 10% and the number of districts from 18 to 32. The amount of time to collect signatures decreases from 18 months to 180 day or about 6 months. Furthermore, this would require initiative proposals to include a fiscal impact statement and to propose a funding source, thus voters will be informed of any expenses which may be incurred from the passage of a ballot initiative. Senate State Affairs committee has multiple days and hours listening to testimonies from people across the state, most in opposition. The bill was held Friday in the Committee subject to the "discretion of the chair," but Chairwoman, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge told reporters that she is planning to bring the bill back next week.

Teacher Pay Raises Pass Senate Unanimously
The Senate voted 33-0 to boost teacher pay to a minimum of $40,000 a year over the next two years. It passed the House two weeks ago, and now the Senate. It has been sent to the Governor Little for signature. Gov. Little stated, "The support of the Legislature sends a message to our teachers that we value them and the education they provide for Idaho's children."

News You Can Use:

I will be out of the legislature through the end of the session- I'm scheduled for a total knee replacement this Tuesday. Will keep you posted. Two outstanding D19 folks will be filling in for me:
March 20-23: Chris Mathias
March 25-29: Yvonne McCoy

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