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"I think that that's the wisest thing - to prevent illness before we try to cure something."
- Maya Angelou, American poet, singer, story teller, and civil rights activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Medicaid Expansion Waivers

Last November, by a clear margin, the voters used the ballot initiative process to expand Medicaid coverage to many Idahoans who had been living without health insurance. This monumental achievement was diluted by the legislature when it passed Senate Bill 1204, which included work requirements among other limitations. Unfortunately, other states' experiences with work requirements show that they do not result in more people working and they do result in fewer people with health insurance, often due to bureaucratic requirements.

"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.

"The individual woman is required...a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition"
- Jeannette Rankin, American politician and women's rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Women's History Month
The month of March is dedicated to honoring the contributions of women to events in history and current society. Throughout this month I will highlight women that have made a positive impact on our world.

"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.

In Honor of Black History Month

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
- Maya Angelou, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Teachers Salaries
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Brad Little proposed to increase starting teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000. This week he indicated a modification. The change is the result of concern about state tax revenues coming in lower than projected due to income tax withholding issues. The revised numbers call new teacher minimum salaries to be increased to $38,500 next year, and $40,000 the following year. This change would add $3.8 million to next year's budget for the salary boost in comparison to the previous $11.2 million. The following year would be an additional $7.7 million.

In Honor of Black History Month

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." - Frederick Douglas

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

First Responders Bill Passes in the Senate
The Senate passed SB1028, 31-4 which gives First Responders compensation for psychological treatment. Currently, police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders are only eligible for workers' compensation for psychological treatment if the injury is accompanied by a physical injury. First Responders who are in need of counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder are often required to use their vacation time and/or personally pay for their therapy. In the debate, situations like the stabbing of nine at a Boise apartment complex were brought up as an example of the horrendous situations First Responders face, and the importance of this legislation. It will now move forward for a hearing in House committee.

In Honor of Black History Month

"The progress of the world will call for the best that all of us have to give" -Mary McLeod, American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Marsy's Law Rally
As you may know, I am in strong support of Marsy's Law and the rights of victims. Last week, I participated in a Marsy's Law Rally at the Capitol to raise awareness and show support for the legislation. I joined a bipartisan group of legislators and a vibrant crowd of supporters to share the importance of the bill and to encourage support for the legislation. I am honored to advocate for passage of the bill.

Read more about the initiative here.

"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."
-Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court member


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Black History Month
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the U.S., is an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. The national celebration began February 1st and will continue through February 28th.

"It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent."
-Madeleine Albright, first female Secretary of State

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./Human Rights Day Celebrations
On Sunday, January 20th, the College of Idaho kick off the celebration with a Solidarity Candle Light March through downtown Caldwell to the Langroise Center for the Performing Arts on the campus. The theme for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day was "Resourceful, Responsible, and Reflective, A Day of Recognition." Members of the community joined with students to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King. the backgrounds and beliefs to march in a resourceful, responsible, and reflective way to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. I was honored to present the keynote address for the event.

"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."

-Winston Churchill

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

State of the Judiciary
Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick presented the Annual State of the Judiciary speech to the Senate this week. The Chief Justice highlighted a number of issues facing the state while ensuring the safety of the public:

- the need to identify better alternatives to bigger jails and prisons to address criminal acts
- best methods to avert recidivism
- increase local resources: housing, probation officers, rehabilitation support
- options to incarceration
- technology upgrades
- increased collaboration of legislative and executive branches as well as county partners

Further, he noted the importance of fair sentencing and programs geared to enable success post-incarceration. I was very pleased to hear that more women are being incorporated into the judicial system. He spoke to this by revealing statistics from a recent survey showing that women hold 23% of judicial positions which is comparable to the 28% of women that are members of the Idaho Bar. I celebrate the judiciary's effort to increase the presence of women.

"The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better."

-Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

I had the honor of singing "Amazing Grace" during Gov. Little's inauguration.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

State of the State
Last Monday, Governor Brad Little delivered the State of the State address to the Legislature where he outlined his plans for the future of Idaho. I was glad to hear him express his continued commitment to education and support for Medicaid Expansion. The people of Idaho have spoken loud and clear, by their votes, of their support for this Idaho solution, not some watered down version. Medicaid Expansion is the prudent, most cost effective and efficient way to deliver healthcare to thousands of Idahoans. While the discussion has been opened, I am, however concerned about the funding formula for Education under consideration. I find many aspects problematic. Stay tuned.

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

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