New legislation is set to be introduced in the House Health & Welfare Committee this morning that combines the governor's state health insurance exchange bill with one proposed by 16 House GOP freshmen adding additional legislative oversight. There may be some other changes too; David Hensley, Gov. Butch Otter's chief of staff, will present the bill to the committee at its 9 a.m. meeting. Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey has a full report here on what led to this.
Meanwhile, the bill to remove Idaho's 6 percent sales tax from Girl Scout cookies - Idaho is one of only two states that still taxes the scouts' cookie fundraiser - is up for introduction in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee today, which also meets at 9 a.m. The Senate State Affairs Committee, which meets at 8 a.m., has a long agenda that includes changes to the state's do-not-call list to allow telecoms, including phone companies, to make commercial solicitation calls to their existing customers; and continuation of Friday's hearing on SB 1108, the bill from the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation to make it tougher to qualify an initiative or referendum measure for the Idaho ballot.
Today is also the 150th anniversary of the creation of Idaho territory, which happened with President Abraham Lincoln signed the territory into law on March 4, 1863. In honor of that sesquicentennial, there'll be a ceremony on the Capitol steps at noon and the Senate will consider a measure renaming the Capitol auditorium the Abraham Lincoln Auditorium.
Also today, at 8 a.m., one of the biggest decisions of the legislative session looms: The setting of the public schools budget in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.