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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 25

March 25th, 2013 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I like to look at headlines and as I was looking at a list of headlines from the past week, I think you could agree that the legislature has been extremely busy. I know that I have been very busy and continue to work on some projects, before the legislature in the very near future comes to an end for this year.

One of the most talked about issues this year that will be before the full Senate is the personal property tax issue. The bill does provide for the removal of personal property taxation for approximately 90% of the businesses in Idaho. There have been so many editorials on the subject both pro and con, that the only conclusion you could draw would be that at a minimum it will reduce a lot of paperwork problems for small businesses. Likewise it would provide some relief for the County assessor in trying to get the list of all personal property from business owners every year.

This seems to be the year of the “informational” meeting. This last week I was involved in two of those, one was a joint meeting of the House and Senate State Affairs Committees and the other was a joint meeting of the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

In State Affairs it was a presentation by the “Add the Words” group. In contrast to last year, the group conducted itself very well and gave only information on the subject of changing our human rights law to include gender identity and sexual orientation. It was not an official hearing on legislation, but was meant to be informational for members of the legislature.

An early morning session of the Health and Welfare Committees was a listening session with no public testimony, on the repeal of the County Medically Indigent law in addition to the repeal of the Catastrophic Healthcare Cost Program. I was asked to make presentation on that item and then the director of Health and Welfare gave a presentation on Medicaid Expansion, which he labeled Medicaid Redesign. There were a lot of questions and some eagerness by some committee members to move forward. These two items should be a very hot topic for the coming week.

While I served in Germany and as I learned the German language, I was told that you could tell how well you had learned to speak, if you dreamed about your mother speaking German to you. I guess you could say around this place that the session had gone on just about long enough if you are dreaming about passing legislation all night. So I guess that time has arrived because I find myself thinking about what is going on in the House during my sleeping hours. At least I think I was asleep. How did that old saying go? “I dreamed that I was awake, and then I woke up and found out I was asleep.”

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