Saturday, February 23, 2013

Update on the Senate for the past week. The Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted on Monday to give the state final say on whether an endangered species or plant is reintroduced into the state. This vote ensures Idaho is exercising its state sovereignty under the 10th amendment and fighting for the rights of Idahoans. Later the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to recommend SB 1053. This bill would stagger food stamp distribution over the first 10 days of each month instead of only at the first of each month. The move has the support of retailers and many anti-hunger activists. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
On Tuesday JFAC began its first day of setting state agency budgets. Among the budgets set on Tuesday were the Division of Building Safety, the State Lottery, and Idaho Endowment Fund Investment Board. The Senate also voted to back SB 1049. The bill would set up a new Governor-appointed oil and gas commission. This would help the state nurture the growing industry and protect the rights of property owners and taxpayers.
The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to approve SCR 112 and SJM 101. Senate Concurrent Resolution 112 would affirm the state’s position against marijuana use in any form and the Senate Joint Memorial would urge the Federal Government to enforce existing drug laws. The approval of both measures by State Affairs ensures the Senate will hear about protecting Idaho’s youth and that Idaho should urge the Federal Government to enforce its existing laws.
The Senate debated and passed the State Healthcare Exchange after six hours of debate. The final vote was 23-12 and because of the length of the debate no afternoon Committee meetings were held.
On Friday JFAC continued to set multiple, conservative agency budgets, ensuring that Idaho taxpayers money is spent wisely. The Senate sent SB 1053, which dealt with staggering food stamp distribution over the first 10 days of each month, back to the Health and Welfare Committee for further review.

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