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Eye On Boise

Lawmakers eyeing three ‘working groups,’ on health care for poor, faith healing, invasive species

Idaho's Legislative Council meets on Friday morning at the state Capitol (Betsy Z. Russell)
Idaho's Legislative Council meets on Friday morning at the state Capitol (Betsy Z. Russell)

The Legislative Council, the leadership panel that administers legislative matters outside the legislative session, is meeting today, and high on its agenda is naming the members of the various interim legislative committees and task forces. Initially, they’ve gotten into a lengthy discussion about a proposed interim committee on administrative hearing officers.

There are three “working groups” proposed by House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro-Tem, on health care alternatives for citizens below 100 percent of the poverty level; on children at risk and faith healing; and on invasive species.

Here are the proposed members:

Healthcare alternatives for citizens below 100 percent of poverty level: Co-Chairs are Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, and Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona. Members are Sens. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston; Steve Thayn, R-Emmett; Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon; and Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise; and Reps. Fred Wood, R-Burley; Judy Boyle, R-Midvale; John VanderWoude, R-Meridian; and Sue Chew, D-Boise.

Children at Risk/Faith Healing: Co-Chairs are Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, and Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian. Members are Sens. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, Hagedorn; Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs; and Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; and Reps. Steven Harris, R-Meridian; Clark Kauffman, R-Filer; Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls; and John Gannon, D-Boise.

Invasive Species: Co-Chairs are Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, and Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly. Members are Sens. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls; Harris; Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise; and Reps. Tom Dayley, R-Boise; Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell; and Mat Erpelding, D-Boise.

There are three ongoing committees for which the panel also will be approving members today – criminal justice oversight, natural resources, and the Idaho Council on Indian Affairs – and five proposed new interim committees to be filled. They are on administrative hearing officers; a study of Idaho’s foster care system; extension of last year’s public procurement committee; a new group to study the state’s public school funding formula; and one to examine state employee group insurance. All those were authorized by continuing resolutions that lawmakers approved during their session this year.

The initial discussion has bogged down in an extended debate over the need for and scope of the hearing officer study group, and whether or not it should include the Idaho Department of Water Resources. Finally, the motion for that committee, without covering the IDWR, passed with two no votes, including from Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, who asked to be recorded.

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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