"Courage is found in unlikely places."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
In the second week of the legislature, committees have been deeply entrenched in rule review.
State of the Judiciary
Chief Justice Roger S. Burdick presented the State of the Judiciary address to the Senate on Wednesday, January 18th where he discussed new technology and some of the state's judiciary challenges and successes.
iCourt, a transformative technology system, will take Idaho out of the paper-based legacy and into a web-based system. The transition will take place over the course of several years and updates can be tracked on their website . Additionally, the courts have completely revamped their accounting system for enhanced analytical capability, transparency, and accountability not only in the Supreme Court, but in each judicial district in the state.
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative has heralded a major overhaul of Idaho's approach to dealing with criminal defendants and their cases. The initiative has resulted in the request of over 20 new probation officers, all committed to the success of their clients. A major challenge facing the state is the need to match the resources to caseloads. Idaho's population continues to grow considerably around Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock, and Twin Falls counties. A small number of magistrate judges are required to travel consistently resulting in significant financial costs and lost travel time. Some have spent more than 100 nights per year away from their home base. The legislature will be called upon to address this issue.
Lastly in the address, Justice Burdick thanked the legislature for their funding of the Judicial Performance programs. A program geared to conduct surveys in order to obtain information on the professional perception of an individual judge will commence this month. The goal is to identify areas of educational need.
Women's March on Washington-Idaho
Organizers Colette Raptosh, 16, and Nora Harren, 18, addressed a crowd of 5,000 on the Capitol steps to kick off the Women's March. Attendees then marched to Boise City Hall where they joined together in unity calling for justice, truth, equity, and access. I was exhilarated to join Jennifer Martinez, Latina Activist and former Congressional Candidate, Representative Melissa Wintrow of District 19, Dianne Piggott, Transgender Rights Activist, Chelsea Gaona Lincoln, Community Activist and Organizer, and Asmaa Albukaei, Syrian Refugee and Activist, in bringing a message of solidarity to the gathering. The march signified a powerful call to action emphasizing solidarity, sanctuary protection and care, assault and violence against women, and reproductive health rights. The march in Boise was one of over 600 across the nation and world, where an estimated 3 million people marched in solidarity.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Dr. Said Ahmed-Zaid, Boise State Engineering, was the keynote speaker at the Capitol in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the 11th annual Idaho Human Rights Day. I found his words to be particularly inspiring: "The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. was his fight against what he called the triple evils: poverty, racism, and violence. We cannot control what is happening in this world but we can fill our hearts with the moral courage to face and confront these evils. It is the moral courage that allows us to grow individually and collectively into better human beings."
To fight these evils, Dr. Ahmed- Zaid suggests: know your rights, get involved and do not be afraid of speaking up, join an organization that promotes tolerance and respect, register to vote and get out to vote in all elections, reach out to groups who may be feeling alienated and marginalized, and always be fair, just, and equitable in your dealings with each other.
Please join Representatives Mat Erpelding, Melissa Wintrow, and myself at our upcoming Town Hall!
1/25/2017 6:30 PM Capitol Building, EW42
2/1/2017 6:30PM Hidden Springs
2/8/2017 6:30 PM Warm Springs Golf Course
2/22/2017 6:30PM Shadow Hills Elementary