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Idaho Weekly Briefing – January 14

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for January 7. Would you like to know more? Send us a note at

The Idaho Legislature kicked off with a new speaker about the state of the state, Governor Brad Little. In Washington Senate committee assignments were parceled out, and Senator Jim Risch was named chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Idaho Legislature convened in its annual session for 2019 on January 7, and the first major item of business was, as usual, hearing from the governor in his state of the state address. Governor Brad Little is following through on his promises to increase teacher pay, make new investments in public education, eventually eliminate the grocery tax, and fully implement Proposition 2 related to Medicaid expansion during his first State of the State and Budget Address.

Senator Jim Risch on January 8 was elected chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the 116 th Congress. Notably, Risch is the third Idahoan to serve as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, following William Borah’s tenure from 1925-1933 and Frank Church’s two year term from 1979-1980.

As the newly-reelected Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Mike Crapo will maintain the bipartisan push he began in the previous Congress into the 116th Congress.

Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher introduced legislation that would authorize important but routine maintenance at Smith Gulch on the Salmon River in Idaho. The bill would allow the use of limited maintenance equipment needed to maintain the routine functions and safety of the existing lodge.

Governor Brad Little announced that the Idaho Department of Correction said on January 9 he has appealed a U.S. District Court ruling that orders the State of Idaho to provide gender reassignment surgery to an inmate.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have introduced legislation, S.103, to establish an additional federal district judgeship in Idaho for the first time in more than sixty years.

State regulators have approved Rocky Mountain Power’s $8.5 million investment in efficiency programs in 2016 and 2017.

Idaho State University is investigating complaints received by a football player outlining unfair and targeted treatment by coaching staff. On Nov. 14, 2018, ISU received a written complaint from a current football player alleging inappropriate communication from a coach, a lack of playing time, an alleged assault by a coach during an away game, and the student-athlete being incorrectly informed about his eligibility status.

IMAGE The group backing Medicaid expansion in Idaho, Closing the Gap, held a press conference on the subject just after Governor Brad Little’s state of the state address. (photo/Close the Gap)

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