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"Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

-Maya Angelou

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children Preschool Development Grant
Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of a task force that Senator Ward-Engelking and I worked on, we were able to work with the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) to apply for the federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG-B5).

Governor Brad Little authorized the application, and on Nov. 5, 2019, Idaho AEYC was awarded a grant of $3,343,592.00. The grant will be used to focus on research, planning, collaboration and coordination on early childhood systems, and five activities designated by the federal government.

Improving the Idaho Education system is one of my top priorities, and this federal grant will bring resources into the state that will empower parents and early childhood educators.

Those five activities designated by the federal government are:

1. Statewide Needs Assessment Plan
2. Statewide Strategic Plan
3. Maximizing Parental Choice and Knowledge
4. Sharing Best Practices
5. Improving Overall Quality of Early Childhood Care and Education


American Cancer Action Network
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) visited the Capitol on annual Cancer Action Day. This year, their focus was to advocate for legislation that would regulate e-cigarettes and improve access to oral chemotherapy medications. I was pleased to speak with these advocates and look forward to continuing to work with them throughout the legislative session.


School Safety
After visiting with Moms Demand Action advocates this week, I wanted to share with you the current ways our schools are working to keep our kids safe, as well as what we can do in the future. In the event of an emergency, Boise School Districts asks you to do the following:

  • Do not call and do not go to the school
  • Check the Boise School District homepage at www.boiseschools.org, the District Facebook page, or the District Twitter feed
  • Sign-Up for emergency text messaging
    • Text SUBSCRIBE to the number 68453
    • Ensure that the District has your wireless number(s) in their student information database
  • Download the Boise School District's Mobile App
  • Familiarize yourself with terms that can be used during any emergency situation:
    • Shelter-in-place: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood. Used during severe weather or other environmental threats (e.g., air contamination due to a local fire) to keep people safe while remaining indoors
    • Lockdown: Used when there is perceived danger inside the building. Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, blinds are closed. People are directed to move away from windows and doors. Hallways are cleared of students and school staff.
    • Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
    • Reunification Site: An alternative site other than the school where school administrators will check-out students to the child's parent/guardian. Students will only be released to authorized parents/guardians with proper identification (e.g. driver's license, state identification, etc.)

Planning ahead will help alleviate concern during emergencies and ensure our students, staff members, and public remain safe and secure.

Proposed legislation in Idaho would force all public elementary, middle, and high schools to allow anyone with an enhanced concealed carry permit to carry a loaded handgun in a school with or without permission from a school board. I support promoting evidence-based and expert endorsed school-safety solutions to intervene before violence occurs. These solutions are as follows:

1. Establish threat assessment programs in schools that help faculty understand and intervene when a student is a risk to themselves or others
2. Implement basic security upgrades to prevent access to schools and classrooms
3. Plan for emergencies so that staff can immediately lock-down schools and law enforcement can respond quickly
4. Establish safe and equitable schools to help reduce gun violence, especially in high-risk communities

It is critical that we allow local control by school districts to determine who has guns in schools.


Reducing Barriers to Contraceptives
My legislation that will require insurance companies to cover a 6-month supply of birth control at a time was sent to print in Commerce & Human Resource Committee! This legislation will ensure that all women have consistent access to birth control, especially those in our community without reliable access to transportation or living in rural areas. Keep an eye out for this to have a full public hearing coming up in committee soon!


House Bill 312
I was saddened to see House Bill 312 fail on the floor this week. This bill’s purpose was to protect our children in daycare by updating and improving basic day care licensing regulations. This bill would have ensured basic safety measures for our children, such as requirements to operate any vehicle safely and legally, along with using safety restraints and seat belts as required by state law and local ordinances. Sections of the code, such as the language regarding FBI background checks, haven’t been updated since 2011. Some representatives took issue with the bill for being a burdensome regulation, but statutes like these are important for setting the standards to ensure that our children are safe and well taken care of in daycares across the state. Today, more than half of children younger than 5 are in and out of daycare starting in infancy, and daycare operators across the state joined in support of this bill to keep kids safe. I will continue to fight for legislation that protects our children.


Update: Women's Day in Idaho
The Concurrent Resolution that will designate March 14th “Idaho Women’s Day” passed unanimously in the Idaho Senate! This holiday, which is championed by the Idaho State Historical Society and Senator Patti Anne Lodge, will be a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and of the role of women in Idaho, both historically and in the future.


Science Standards
Certain sections regarding human-driven climate change and renewable energy from the state’s science education standards have been under attack in the House Education Committee. A repeal by either Education Committee of these standards would represent government over-reach and micro-management of education for political purposes. Idaho students deserve the most current and comprehensive education possible, especially about crucial issues related to our impact on the environment. I will oppose efforts to remove the sections related to climate change in the Senate and will continue to push for strong science standards in our classroom.


Common Core
I join educators and education stakeholders and parents from across the state in appreciation and support of the Idaho Content Standards. These standards cover language arts, math, and other subjects, and Idaho teachers are telling us that the current standards are making a positive impact on their students and in their classrooms. These standards give teachers the best tools to give Idaho students the skills to compete in the real world and to learn to solve problems and think creatively instead of simply memorizing and repeating facts. I support the Common Core Educational Standards.


News You Can Use
Ideal Idaho college savings program will help you start saving now to empower the child you care about to have the future they deserve. This program offers benefits that a regular savings account may not, such as:

  • An account can be opened with as little as $25
  • You can receive an Idaho state income tax deduction of up to $6,000 per year ($12,000 if married and filing jointly)
  • Online banking services
  • Savings are able to grow tax deferred and the withdrawals used for qualified educational expenses are tax free, so your money has the potential to stretch further

Visit www.idsaves.org to start saving for a child you care about!

Have a wonderful week,

Cherie

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

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