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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 27

February 27th, 2012 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Now that the calving season has started at home, when I get home on the weekend I make a number of the night runs to check the cattle so that everyone else can get some rest. It gives me a little time to think about the happenings of the week and to get a little “ironed out” for the week to come. It can be a great stress reliever and besides there is the side benefit of witnessing some of life’s little miracles.

We covered a lot of ground this last week and some of the budgets have been appearing on our third reading calendar. Most of them so far have dealt with supplementals, which are those that have been made necessary because of unforeseen changes since the budget was set last year. The big three namely corrections, health and welfare, and education still are all ahead of us. The biggest budget discussions this week were centered around how to treat the state employee and teacher raises. The majority of the mail generated to my inbox had to do with these matters. The question is how to treat merit pay and who decides what constitutes a merit increase, or to give across the board raises. In the end the across the board version appears to be what will happen with some discretion for merit.

No camping on the Capital Mall (aka de-occupy) passed both chambers and was signed by the governor. Those folks with tents pitched on the site have vowed to cause a ruckus this next week when their equipment is removed, saying that this is by no means over. My hope is that it won’t turn ugly. As my mother used to say, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and take what comes.”

Other topics generating some heat this week were, the Affordable Healthcare Act requirement for payment of contraceptives, restoring funding for mental health and the disabled, animal cruelty felony provisions, what to do with wolves, wind turbine moratorium provisions, and the disabling of parking meters around the Capital during the legislative session. I’ll bet you can guess which one generated the most heat.
Ada County Republicans held their annual Lincoln Day Banquet on Thursday evening. These events are well attended and it provides a chance for elected officials at all levels to visit with constituents. I was able to sit with our State Senator Tippets, and with Mayor Roy Bunderson from Bloomington. I really enjoyed the conversation around the table. The speaker was particularly good, a Professor Yenor from Boise State.

He gave a “lecture” on Lincoln that was the best I have ever heard. He told us that if we are to call ourselves the party of Lincoln, we need to look back to what Abraham Lincoln really believed. Everything these days seems to finally come around to a discussion about how we are going to save our nation. In a very forceful way, after presenting evidence of how the destruction of the family has come about, he told us that if America is to be saved, it will only be done by saving the family. I could not agree more.

At another event I was sitting with some young farmers from around the state. It had been a long and tiring day. There was a lull in the conversation and I was able to listen to a lady that was playing the piano as background music. She was playing a familiar piece and it suddenly had a very soothing effect on me. To have a chance to relax once in a while is very therapeutic and recharges the batteries.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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