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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 4, 2013

February 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

A man by the name of Joel Salatin, in his Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World said “A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches.”

This reminded me of a conversation I had last week with one of the new members of the House about getting a bill ready. The question he asked was just how the idea would come before the body and so I explained how a bill is drafted and how it is brought before a committee and how the process works. You don’t just pick it off a tree.

A bill on Health Insurance Exchanges has been introduced in the Senate and is one that I would recommend every one read. It is Senate Bill 1042. A couple of the interesting parts of it are that it will set up a brand new bureaucracy, and that it would not be overseen by the legislature. One of the things we do not know is if it will comply with the requirements of the Secretary of HHS. I have an abundance of mail on this one and it is good to get the comments. The Farm Bureau has come out in opposition as well as some other grass roots groups. My plan is to go over it with a fine toothed comb.

A bill has come forward that wants to establish a State Water Plan. While at this time it may not have a lot of impact on the Bear River drainage, it certainly could have impact over time. The larger focus seems to be on the Upper Snake and the issues surrounding aquifer recharge. This is another that will take a lot of review and make sure that the details are addressed.

JFAC is going through the budget hearings and they are going to set some of the budgets that will have to do with last year’s matters. One of those is the so called “Use it or lose it” dollars for the school districts. It would be my best guess that those moneys will be protected. We are hoping to see some technology funding for infrastructure be made available to schools as well.

All is quiet on the Medicaid front for now but that may change as we begin discussing the pros and cons of expansion. I have a bill for that mix that will probably ignite things on that front. More on that later.

Brian Brett is quoted as saying, “Farming is a profession of hope.” And I suppose you could say that about what we do around this place. We hope we get it right, we hope we do no harm, we hope we don’t cause unintended consequences, we hope…

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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