Printed on: January 26, 2013

Legislative Notebook

By Christina Lords
clords@postregister.com

BOISE -- This week, the third of the 2013 legislative session, state officials and lawmakers:

Listened to Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna seek a 3 percent increase in funding. His request equates to an additional $37.9 million in state funding for schools in Idaho for fiscal year 2014. He made the request during a public hearing before the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee on Thursday. That's more than the 2 percent increase already recommended by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Heard Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Linden Bateman introduce a measure Tuesday to the House Education Committee requesting the State Board of Education include cursive handwriting in its statewide Common Core State Standards. Bateman's proposal received unanimous approval from committee members, enabling the legislator to bring the measure back to committee for a full public hearing. Bateman said the measure is important to maintain the public's understanding of historical documents and family genealogy.

Discussed a proposal before the Senate State Affairs Committee that may make it harder for citizen initiatives to reach the ballot on Election Day. Idaho Farm Bureau lobbyist Russ Hendricks requested the legislation from the committee in the wake of last year's repeal of Luna's Students Come First legislation.

The week ahead

Next week, members of the Joint-Finance Appropriations Committee will continue the process of setting the 2014 budget by holding a series of hearings surrounding the state's environment and wildlife. It will hear from the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Water Resources, among others.

On Monday, the Senate State Affairs Committee will vote on the governor's appointment of Mack Redford to the Public Utilities Commission and the appointment of Craig Corbett to the Idaho Lottery Commission.

On Monday, the Senate Education Committee will consider legislation that provides college scholarships for those in the armed forces and public safety sectors.

On Monday, the House Health and Welfare Committee will consider legislation that amends existing law to clarify pharmacists and medical practitioners may share controlled substance database information with one another.

Quote of the week

"As long as we have hands and pencils and pens, we're going to write. Even though we have computers, cellphones, computers and whirligigs, we're going to write. That's just part of our being." -- Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Linden Bateman, introducing a resolution that would encourage teaching cursive to elementary school children

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