Legislature set to start what could be contentious session | Government | postregister.com

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The Idaho State Capitol, Tuesday, August 25, 2020.

At the recent coronavirus press conference in Lincoln Auditorium, Idaho, Governor Brad Little spoke with the media.

Senator Chuck Winder will speak in the Senate of the Idaho State Capitol on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.

Members of Congress gathered in the House of Representatives at a special meeting held in the capital of Idaho on Monday, August 24, 2020.

Terri Kondeff, Director of the Office of Legislative Services on the left, and Jennifer Novak, Secretary of the Senate, take a look at the plexiglass prototype partition, which was temporarily placed in the Idaho State Capitol on August 12, 2020 Inside the Senate. It is planned to use the divider during future legislative special sessions to protect lawmakers from the spread of the coronavirus.

Representative Julianne Young speaks at a meeting in Lincoln Auditorium, capital of Idaho, on Monday, August 24, 2020.

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, after the Speaker of the House of Representatives ordered Ammon Bundy and two other men to refuse to leave, the Idaho State Police Force marched into the Lincoln Auditorium of the Idaho State Capitol.

Journalists, government and politics

On Monday, the House of Representatives and Senate will shine in the first regular meeting of the 66th Idaho Legislative Assembly. Although there are many other issues to be discussed, COVID-19 will be discussed in several ways.

On the first day, when the governor delivers a speech and announces the budget proposal for the next year, things will be different. Governor Brad Little will not squeeze side by side with congressmen and other public officials in a room that has no distance from society in the House of Representatives and House of Representatives speeches. Instead, he will give a speech from the Lincoln Auditorium and speak in Lincoln. Broadcast in the auditorium. House of Representatives and Senate.

Although the governor did not release the budget or speech until that day, the state revenue of Idaho was stronger than expected, which is different from other states whose budgets have been hit by the pandemic. Little said in December that he planned to "propose a package in January to pass legislation to provide tax cuts and one-time investments in transportation, education, water conservancy projects, etc." in an interview on Tuesday.

He said that education, tax relief and transportation remain the main focus of this conference.

Little said: "These are my priorities, and in most cases, the legislators I talk to are their priorities." "I won't say it will be a love event, but I will oppose it. These three things are a bit difficult."

Although it is not necessary for lawmakers to wear masks and many Republicans, judging by the fact that they did not wear masks at the special meeting in August and the organizational meeting in December, the Capitol will inevitably remind people of the epidemic. Conference rooms that can become very crowded when discussing controversial bills will reduce seats and force the public to distance themselves from society. There will be hand sanitizer stations and air purifiers. Democrats are wearing masks this year, and many have put plexiglass barriers on their tables. Some of them criticized the lack of safety measures adopted by most people and even called for postponing the meeting.

This virus will loom over one of the biggest debates in this session, whether to impose new restrictions on the power of the governor. Many Republican lawmakers are critical of Little’s house order and masks and other local regulations, and said they plan to implement measures such as constitutional amendments to allow the legislature to hold special meetings, which only the governor can do now.

The Senate, the House of Representatives is full of new faces{/ STRONG} Seventeen out of the 70 members, or nearly a quarter of the body, were only elected this year, although there are a few former legislators who decide to run and won again. Six of the 35 members of the Senate have just been elected, but half of them are members of the House of Representatives for the first time.

There are three new members of the House of Representatives in Eastern Idaho-Representative David Cannon (David Cannon), R-Blackfoot (R-Blackfoot); Marco Erickson, Idaho Falls; Jon · Weber (Ron Rexburg) and four other representatives-representatives. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello; and James Ruchti of D-Pocatello-will return to the House of Representatives after regaining his position. Senator Kevin Cook (R. Idaho Falls) is the new Senator for the 30th district, Senator Doug Ricks of Senator R-Rexburg has served in the House of Representatives for two years Later, he will be promoted to the 34th district Senate.

The leader of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives will be the same as before, while the lower classes of Democratic leaders, Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) and Senator Michel Steinette (D-Ketchum), have undergone some reorganization of leadership place. However, the leadership of the Republican Senate will look different. The most notable is R-Boise Senator Chuck Winder, who took over the powerful position of Senate Chairman Pro Tempore from R-Rexburg Senator Brent Hill, who retired last year. Several committees will also have new chairpersons. One of the well-known local committees is the Housing Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, which will be responsible for the Idaho National Laboratory and will be led by R-Idaho Falls Representative Barbara Ehardt.

Many Republican lawmakers criticized Little’s response to COVID-19 as being too excessive, saying that they want to reduce their power to respond to future emergencies and require more legislative input. The House of Representatives passed a resolution at a special session in August to revoke his COVID-19 emergency declaration; the Senate did not adopt it, but did pass a resolution listing the emergency powers that the governor intends to exercise during the 2021 regular meeting limits. These include constitutional amendments that allow lawmakers to participate in meetings and restrict the shutdown or public health regulations that states, local governments, and public health districts may implement in future pandemics.

When radio hosts Neal Larson and Julie Kay Mason asked him on Tuesday whether they would veto such legislation, there was almost no direct answer. He did say that disaster statements about floods, fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters are common, and every state and President Donald Trump issued statements about COVID-19.

Little said: "Our business activities today are only in accordance with current state laws, nothing more than that." "On Monday, the legislature will get up, and if they want to change state laws, they will have the right to pass our discussions. Every state in the union is currently under a state of emergency. Frankly speaking, if you look at the limitations of Idaho, the limits are even far lower than those in the surrounding states, let alone many other states. . "

R-Ammon’s Rep. Chad Christensen has been an outspoken critic of Little’s COVID-19 response, and his answer is inconsistent.

He hopes that a majority of votes in 82% of the Republican legislature will pass the bill. Christensen said that he expects the meeting to be heated, and he plans to speak in the House of Representatives this year more than his first term.

Christensen wrote: "The people of Idaho will often hear me at this conference." "I will speak for them and their God-given rights. Although you might think, Little Governor, you have no right to restrict the rights that I give to God, and I will continue to ignore your "authorization." Most of my voters will do the same. There are not many subordinates in District 32. We can develop successfully without government involvement. We are Americans who love freedom."

{strong style =" font-size: 1em;"}Property tax{/ strong}Will Idaho take measures to increase property tax this year?

Legislators on both sides said at the beginning of the 2020 meeting that this would be the main focus, but due to differences between the Senate and the Senate, it was ultimately not passed. However, they did appoint a legislative committee to further study this issue, which in November recommended limiting local government budget growth and the ability to save reserves.

Although both Republicans and Democrats express their desire to do something, Republicans like to focus on the role played by local government spending and call for restrictions on this, while Democrats often blame the culprit on state spending in areas such as education. low.

Ehardt voted against an increase in property taxes at the Idaho Falls City Council and supported a bill in 2020 that provides for a one-year freeze: "If we want to reduce property Taxes, local governments must be willing to "reduce spending." Said in an interview in October

Local officials mostly opposed the proposal to freeze the budget and expressed concern about the work of the legislature this year. The Mayor of Idaho Falls, Rebecca Casper, said at a council work meeting shortly after the property tax research committee issued recommendations that she worried that restricting city and county budgets might hurt residents and hoped that lawmakers Collected opinions from leaders of the state’s largest cities, such as Idaho Falls.

"Like the people who are studying, they will do a good job and can reach the top five cities in the state and talk to them about their experiences, their needs, the way they grow, and how the city responds. She said: "Using the funds already obtained and why simply cutting spending is not a real reform, nor a solution to the discomfort of property taxpayers. "

At a press conference held on Tuesday, Senator Grant Burgoyne and Representatives Lauren Necochea and John Gannon jointly proposed to change the currency of homeowners. Proposal for expansive exemption indexation. Increase the "circuit breaker" property tax relief that benefits elderly homeowners, veterans, and some disabled people; and cut the property tax relief enjoyed by Boise technology manufacturer Micron in half. The legislature capped the homeowner’s tax allowance at $100,000 in 2016, and Democrats say this has had the effect of shifting the tax burden from the business to the homeowner as the value rises.

"This is a huge victory for lobbyists and regular Idahoans losses," said Necochea, who was recently elected as the assistant minority leader. "We are now seeing impact play a role in property taxes."

They also opposed the Republican Party’s proposal to limit local government spending. Necochea said that Idaho has controlled the annual local real estate tax increase at more than 3%, and with the annual increase and the upper limit of new construction, many local governments are already struggling to meet basic needs.

She said: "If voters see more services than they want, then...they can vote for different local officials."

In response to a string of disability issues, advocates worry that the lack of COVID-19 safety precautions will prevent them from proceeding...


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