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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 30

March 30th, 2011 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I was thinking just the other day that I wondered where February had gone. Now March is almost at an end. I’m very much relieved that spring has finally arrived and I guess that’s why we in Bone were snowed in on Sunday morning for one of the two times this entire winter. It seems that winter just won’t let us out of its grasp. That’s kind of how it seems here in the Statehouse, that the session still has us in its firm grasp. We’re working very hard to wrap things up, but it’s going to take another couple of weeks.

Now that all of the population numbers are out, there is a lot more talk about the redistricting process that will begin shortly. Several people have asked me who I think will be on the redistricting commission and at this point I have to say that I don’t know. It won’t be long before the computer programs will be available for the process. I have been told that every legislator will have access to the program so that it can be used as a resource for our people at home to draw lines. I know that I will be spending a lot of time after the session ends this year, providing input so that our district will be treated fairly this time around.

The joint finance and Appropriations Committee has just about finished its work for the year. About the only budget left to set is for education. The third piece of “School Reform” has now passed the Senate and will shortly be considered in the House. My e-mail box is overflowing and I have had a lot of concerned folks expressing their wishes on the matter.

One from a parent in our district caught my eye last week. This mother said that she had no idea how anyone could think that a computer could replace a teacher. I am reminded of when computers were fairly new on the scene and I thought at the time just how much work they would save. What I found out was that the workload really didn’t decrease because of computers, but it did make the information more detailed and organized and faster to process. To this day I’m not sure that computers save me much work. My computer is like every other tool that I have, it only works when I do.

We still have several pieces of legislation to consider in the House State Affairs Committee. I don’t suppose that the world would stop turning if we somehow didn’t get to some of the stuff, but I have learned over the years that these issues are important to somebody. I am hoping that the most major of the issues have now been considered and dispatched.

Maybe this last couple of weeks we won’t see some of the big items like wind generation and concealed weapons permits. I hear there’s another one of those texting while driving bills out there. And then there is another little “noncontroversial” item called party registration. The session definitely does have us in its grasp but I’m optimistic that we will get it to relax soon. On Saturday I actually saw some dry ground around the farm, only to have it covered with 2 inches of new snow Sunday morning. We are never short of variety. I just love Idaho, I really do.

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