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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 26

February 26th, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I received a text the other day from one of my sons reporting what he called the deep thoughts of Caleb Loertscher: “You know if you follow your blinker it tells you where to go.” That is sound advice from a seven-year old and should apply to the legislature.

There has been no end of comment this week about House Bill 536 other wise know as the trespass bill. During debate someone asked the question if the Attorney General had weighed in on the matter. It was pulled back and the AG says it is unconstitutional and now changes will be needed. The real problem is that we have three different types of trespass in law and this was an effort to bring them together. Changes are forthcoming.

Another hot item on the email stream has been House Bill 496 that is one to have the Governor appoint three directors, Corrections, Transportation, and Parks and Recreation. Those three directors are currently appointed by their respective boards and the thought of this bill is to have them appointed by the governor and serve at his pleasure. The email has been about jeopardizing Harriman State Park because of some stipulations of the gift from the Harriman family. The bill is now up for amendment to remove Parks and Recreation director from the bill. As a side note, years ago the transportation director was at the governor’s pleasure and was changed in an effort to remove highways from the political world. And corrections is a very professional assignment . Is it good to make this change? Maybe not. One thing is for sure, Harriman will be safe.

House Bill 591 is another property tax exemption bill concerning new business property of one billion dollars. The mechanics of the legislation are a bit complicated, but the idea is to provide help for new very large companies to get going in Idaho. The law was originally enacted to get a company called Areva to build nuclear related facilities near Idaho Falls. Only problem is that in about a dozen years they have not turned a shovel of dirt. I voted no on this one because my concern is that these types of exemptions tend to shift taxes to other properties including homes, farms and small business. Even the sponsor admitted after the vote that I might be right, and he committed to check it out.

One of my colleagues this week remarked that it felt like the end of the session today. It looks like the Senate will be passing the tax bill we sent them and that is the final piece of the puzzle to make the budget numbers work as we anticipate.

The annual Know Your Government conference put on by U of I and 4H was this week and each year they invite us to breakfast on the last day of their program. Again, this year our own Bear Lake delegation was the largest group at the conference. These young people have great plans for the future.

We have the plan in mind and now it is time to work the plan. I just hope we have the wisdom of my young grandson Caleb and follow our blinker.

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