"Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Week 3: January 23-27, 2017
The Capitol was buzzing with all things education last week: exhibits in the rotunda, presentations to education committees, and lots of youngsters bringing light and enthusiasm to throughout the building. It is a pure joy to talk with Idaho students. They were thoughtful, respectful, asked great questions, shared articulately and were just too much fun! The Senate Education Committee heard presentations from institutions of higher learning covering a wide range of topics including strategic objectives, funding needs, opportunities, and highlighting student achievement. The committee also had the opportunity to hear from Idaho Teacher of the Year Mary Spiker, kindergarten teacher from Pocatello. Her presentation was powerful and very touching. She is making a real difference in the lives of her students.
During Education Week I had the opportunity to talk with young women who participate in the TRIO Program at Caldwell High School. TRIO is a federally funded program designed for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and includes eight programs targeted to help students navigate the waters of their educational endeavors to achieve academic success.The programs supports student from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. These young women are working diligently and are destined for great things. Photo from left to right: Tatiana Velasco, Lydia Flores, Yanira Madrigal, Jennifer Tobar, Yesenia Morales, Yamileth Escobedo, and Anayeli Juarez.
School Bond Election
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017 the Boise School District will hold a bond election to support an Educational Facilities Master Plan. This bond will enable reinvestment in every neighborhood school without an increase in the current property tax rate. The bond will not only help meet the needs of today's students, but also the students of the future. For more information about the bond, please visit http://www.boiseschools.org/2017_bond.
To learn how to get involved, please visit http://www.yesforboiseschools.com.
Take this opportunity to reinvest in our schools and our community.
Joint Health and Welfare Listening Session
Senate and House Health and Welfare Committees held a joint session to listen to citizen testimony about health and welfare issues of concern. Idahoans from all over the state filled the Lincoln Auditorium to urged lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, correct Idaho's broken medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.
Women's Healthcare Update
Idaho women will now have access to pregnancy-termination medication through telemedicine due to a settlement made in federal court between Planned Parenthood and the state. The healthcare organization announced the settlement after the Northwest/Hawaiian Islands chapter sued over two 2015 laws requiring a doctor to be physically present to administer pregnancy-ending medication. The lawsuit states "...the ban will force some women to seek abortions later in pregnancy and will force others to travel further to access abortion which will result in a delay and increased medical risk." The legislature has until the end of the current session to repeal the laws. Failing that, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill will declare the laws unconstitutional and unenforceable.
We are rapidly picking up the pace in the legislature. Rule review had neared completion and we actively considering legislation. The Democratic Caucus has identified priorities for this legislative session: education, the economy and quality of life. To that end, we will be asking important questions when making voting decisions:
1. Is the proposed legislation equitable for all Idahoans?
2. Who are the stakeholders and have they been involved in discussions?
3. Will legislation improve economic opportunities for Idahoans?
4. Will it improve the quality of life for all Idahoans?
5. Does legislation promote increased educational opportunities for students?
Here to Serve You
The goal of District 19 legislators is to address immediate needs while working strategically toward long term goals. It is my honor to serve you in the Idaho State Senate. Know that your letters, emails, texts, and calls are invaluable. I appreciate hearing what is most important to you and your family.
Please join Representatives Mat Erpelding, Melissa Wintrow, and myself at our upcoming District 19 Town Hall!
2/1, 6:30 PM Hidden Springs Club House
2/8, 6:30 PM Warm Springs Golf Course
2/22, 6:30 PM Shadow Hills Elementary