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Testimony: ‘Continue to support IEN,’ ‘She’ll be toothless’ ‘Get a decent drink in this state’

Public hearing at Idaho state capitol Friday on Idaho state budget issues (Betsy Russell)
Public hearing at Idaho state capitol Friday on Idaho state budget issues (Betsy Russell)

Some more of the testimony at this morning’s public hearing on state budget issues:

Jerry Reininger of the Meridian School District told JFAC, “I hope in the future you’ll continue to support the IEN.” He said middle school students also need the advanced opportunities that the Idaho Education Network has afforded high school students in our district. “We have two of our high schools where the IEN video conferencing units are being used every day,” he said. “We have students who are taking classes from other schools, receiving classes from other schools, and in the past we’ve provided classes to other districts in the state of Idaho.”

Gerald Lucas of Grangeville spoke in favor of restoring non-emergency dental coverage under Medicaid, noting the case of his wife. “Without help, she’ll be toothless,” he said. “From my own personal experience, I can say that’s no fun. … The state will be money ahead by restoring the dental benefits, because a healthy worker is a productive worker.”

Eric Lecht of Boise said the Idaho State Liquor Division’s special-order system isn’t working, and he hasn’t been able to order specialty scotch from other states. “What’s it going to take to get a decent drink in this state?” he asked. “We’re missing an opportunity.” He said he’s not pleased that the chances of getting pulled over by an ISP trooper are the same as “getting struck by lightning,” and said if Idaho didn’t pass legislation like controversial religious freedom expansion bills HB 426 and HB 426, it could avoid steep legal bills to defend them in court. “Not having to pay for those bills and lawsuits could pay for the ISP’s staffing model,” he said.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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