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Eye On Boise

Senate panel backs purchasing study, Turkey resolution…

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously this morning to endorse an interim legislative committee to examine Idaho’s state purchasing procedures; to back a new version of a resolution on human rights and religious freedom in Turkey; and to introduce a direct primary care pilot project bill, with the understanding that it’s for discussion only and won’t proceed further this year.

On the purchasing issues, Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, told the committee, “This hasn’t been looked at for quite a while – we’ve had a few problems. It’s time for a comprehensive look at all of this.” That measure now moves to the full Senate.

Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, brought a bill calling for a five-county direct primary care pilot project. He said the idea is to address the portion of the 70,000-plus Idaho adults who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the insurance exchange, and who suffer from chronic health conditions. “So this bill suggests a pilot program,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is stimulate a discussion to deal with this issue … so when we come back next year, we might have a proposal to move ahead with that.”

Thayn said his proposal would tap only state and local funds. “There would be no federal money involved, it’d be local and state money, so we could write our own rules and have more flexibility,” he said.

The committee then went into an extended discussion of HB 318, the latest version of legislation from Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, to create a special liquor license for an event center in Ketchum, this one creating the special license for a small event center in a resort city. Senators had lots of questions about the proposal.



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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