House and Senate Democrats today unveiled a legislative agenda they’re calling the “Creating Opportunity Plan,” from minimum wage increases to expanding Medicaid to creating an inspector general’s office to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in government. “We think that there’s a dearth of leadership here … to get agreement about what’s important,” said House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston.
Rusche said he’s working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the inspector general bill, and hopes to have it introduced in a House committee. An array of the minority Democrats’ other proposals haven’t been given hearings, including the minimum wage bill; many of those have been introduced by individual Democratic lawmakers as personal bills in either the House or the Senate. Moscow Sen. Dan Schmidt's two Medicaid expansion bills received a Senate committee hearing, but no vote, earlier this week.
The Dems’ plan, outlined in an eight-page, full-color brochure entitled “Creating Opportunity: A Balanced Plan for Idaho’s Future,” focuses on goals and principles, rather than specific bills. In the brochure, Rusche and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, wrote, “As we work together to lay a foundation for strong communities and high-quality schools, we will listen to any proposals that could make our state a better place to live and work.” You can see the full brochure here.