There’s a full house of more than 100 people for today’s first “Politics for Lunch” session sponsored by the Andrus Center at its downtown Boise location; Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis is the featured speaker. His first comment: “Wow. This is a remarkable group of people.” Pulling out his cellphone, he asked, “Do you mind?” and took pictures of the crowd. “My mother will never believe this,” he said. Davis said he’d offer “my prognostications, as modest as they may be,” about the upcoming legislative session. “If you like what I said, I meant it,” he said, “and if you don’t, I was just pulling your leg.”
He said the governor’s announcement of no Medicaid expansion this year likely matches what the result would have been had the expansion gone to either house for a vote. He said he’s “grateful” that the Legislature reconvened its joint Change in Employee Compensation committee this year for the first time since 2008, and said the question now is whether its recommendation of a 2 percent pay boost will be extended to public schools as well as state employees. “It has historically been that it was extended, and frankly I anticipate that that is what the joint committee is likely to do,” Davis said.
He called the criminal justice reinvestment project “one of the additional significant things that we will do this year in the legislative session,” and said, “Those states that have followed some of their more significant recommendations have saved a bucket-load of money. We are hopeful that we will be able to see some of the same positive results.” Tomorrow, an interim committee is scheduled to finalize its report and legislative recommendations; a session for all legislators on the proposals is set for Thursday.
Davis said he expects the Legislature to push hard to enact the recommendations of the education stakeholders task force over the next five years. As far as whether tax cuts will be enacted this year, he said, “I really don’t know the answer to that.”