Despite a bout of laryngitis Rep. Lynn Luker spent half an hour on the Idaho House floor debating against creating a state based exchange to implement Obamacare. He joined with 29 other Republicans to vote against HB 248. Unfortunately, the bill passed 41-29 with 28 other Republicans joining all of the 13 Democrats in the House to create a state based exchange. It is disappointing to see this happen after Idaho took the lead in opposing Obamacare with the Idaho Health Freedom Act in 2010 sponsored by Rep. Luker. Here is the link to his debate, but note one inadvertant statement where he said the least expensive exchange was a state based exchange and also said the state based exchange was the most expensive. He intended to say that Delaware projected that the federally operated exchange was the least expensive to operate. www.idahoreporter.com/2013/rep-lynn-luker-weve-got…-baby
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Idaho Veterinary Licensing Board Wants To Keep Both Application And Licensing Fees When Denying An Application – What Do You ThinK?February 22, 2013
HB 97 would allow the licensing board to keep not only the application fee but also the first year licensing fee which must be paid upon application, even when denying a license for whatever reason. Currently the law provides that the board may keep the application fee but must return the first year licensing fee to the applicant when an application is denied. HB 97 would change that and let the board keep both fees even though the applicant is not granted a license to practice. On the floor I argued that it was like a college requiring an application fee and first semester tuition, but if you were not accepted to the school they could keep your tuition anyway. Twenty-nine other House members joined me in voting against the bill, but it passed narrowly on a 34-30 vote with 6 absent and excused. The bill is now headed to the Senate. What do you think?
Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Snow, Nor Holiday Shall Keep The Legislators From Their Appointed RoundsFebruary 19, 2013
So far this session Idaho legislators have battled the elements on many days as they made their way to the capitol. Fortunately, President’s Day was not a day of precipitation in Boise. In fact it was a beautiful, though cool day outside. Inside, however, despite the holiday, it was a day of continuing work for Idaho legislators. Morning committees convened as usual to hear and debate bills. Then, as is customary on President’s Day, the legislature took time out to pay respects to those colleagues from past years who this year departed from mortal life for the next. I was privileged to honor Lyle R. Cobbs, from Boise, who served in both the House and the Senate and with the Tax Commission. Although I never knew Lyle, he left a legacy as a devoted public servant, a veteran, a man of faith and of family. Others had similar stories. It was a good reminder that as we honor our national presidents with a holiday, particularly Presidents Washington and Lincoln for whom the holiday was originally inaugurated, the day should not be just a day off, but should be a day for reflection, a day to truly think about and thank those who have given so much to create and preserve the liberty that we enjoy.
Updated Ethics Rule Passes House Judiciary and Rules Committee: Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, presented amendments to House Rule 76 creating a new standing House ethics committee. The amendments also clarify standards for ethics violations and procedures for processing complaints. The resolution passed the committee and moves to the House floor.
Boise woke up to freezing rain which closed I-84 for 100 miles east. I had to scrape my windshield twice just getting out of the subdivision with the icy coating overcoming my defroster and wipers. Finally at the statehouse, I was able to present a new bill to help save health insurance brokers from extinction by Obamacare. The healthcare law precludes brokers from participating in the new insurance exchanges unless states elect to allow them to participate. While debate over whether Idaho should have a state-based or federal exchange is vigorous and continuing, the brokers are caught in the middle. The law allowing the election does not distinquish between a federal or state exchange, therefore my bill makes the state election for brokers to participate, regardless of whether the exchange is a federal or state exchange. That way the debate can continue, but the brokers are at least in the game. This is just one of the slippry slopes contained in the so called Affordable Care Act. The bill was approved for printing and will likely move on to the House business committee for a hearing.
Rep. Luker was caught by reporter Betsy Russell’s camera Tuesday, as the House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on rules regulating the use of state buildings and grounds. Concerns were raised by citizens and committee members about potential negative impacts upon rights of free speech. Two of the rules were held for further review. Photo and stories are here:
Amendment to Idaho House Ethics Rules Introduced – After working together with Rep. Fred Wood for several months on legislation to update House ethics rules, I presented the resolution to the House Judicary and Rules Committee for introduction on Monday. The committee voted unanimously to print the resolution. It will be scheduled soon for a full hearing.
Like a locomotive, the legislature may start slow, but rapidly gains steam. Substantive hearings are beginning in committees and bills are showing up on the agenda. In House State Affairs two bills were returned to sponsors for more work. The first involved significant fee increases to promoters of boxing, wrestling and martial arts. The second involved a boundary change for four counties that was legislated properly in the early 1900s but never made the code book. In Judiciary and Rules we received a chilling report from police on internet crimes against children, and the Courts reported on challenges in recruiting new district judges. I have been working on significant amendments to our House ethics rule which should soon make its appearance. Outside it is cold, 4 degrees when I woke up this morning, but inside things are warming up. Time to get back to work.
What do they have in common? I have not figured it out yet, but they all came together in our first week back at the Capitol. We started with a combined ethics training for the Senate and House which was both entertaining and informative. The lobbyists have wasted no time getting to know our large freshman class and renewing acquaintance with those who have been here a while. There have already been plenty of breakfasts, lunches and dinners to promote conversation and stave off calorie loss. In between the meals newly configured committees convened and started reviewing agency administrative rules. Idaho is one of the few states where the legislature has authority to review and reject new rules. Hurrah for that. We ended the week with a fine blizzard which kept some of the out of town legislators in Boise. It seems like I have shoveled snow close to ten times this week, but today I went cross country skiing — in the backyard — no need to travel far. Looking forward to next week.
The Idaho House Completed Its Reorganization As The Day Of Infamy Was Remembered: During a break at the Idaho state capitol today, I looked out of a 3rd floor window from which the capitol flag pole is visible. The flag was flying at half mast in honor of those who died on that day of infamy at Pearl Harbor 71 years ago. It was a solemn reminder of the freedom that we work to preserve within the walls of our beautiful capitol. The House completed its reorganization today for the next two year term which begins on Monday, Janaury 7, 2013. I am privileged to continue service on the State Affairs, Judicary, and Local Government Committees. Our freedom is precious, purchased by the sacrifice of many before us. It was a fitting day to organize for the people’s business, remembering the reason that we are free and able to do so.