We’re off and running!
The legislative session began Monday with Governor Little’s State of the State Address. The annual speech laid out priorities for the session and brought his goals into focus: fund education and provide property tax relief, among other things. Read more about the address here.
The start of the legislative session is generally somewhat quiet – folks are still getting oriented (where’s the lunchroom??); learning the legislative process, who’s who, and adjusting to the workload of public service. With so many new faces in the Statehouse, the learning curve is steep.
Budgets, Budgets, Budgets!
Nobody has more to learn than the 12 new members of the 20 seat Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, or JFAC. This committee sets Idaho’s budget, controlling the purse strings for all state agencies and departments. Made up of 10 senators and 10 representatives, this committee meets every day. This week is dedicated to learning, with informational sessions for lawmakers to get them up to speed on how it all works. Next week, state agencies will begin their presentations, outlining spending requests and talking up savings. CVI is tracking a few budgets closely, including Idaho Parks & Recreation, Idaho Department of Lands, and the Secretary of State’s Office.
The legislative session generally runs about 75-90 days. The target adjournment date for this year is March 24th, and with the legislature’s new ability to call itself into session (more on that here) my hope is that they’ll finish business in a timely manner this year.
Throughout the next few months, we’ll keep you up to speed on what’s moving through the Statehouse on important issues – elections, land, water, air and more. This email goes out every Wednesday and we’ll do a Facebook live every Friday around lunchtime so you can stay in the loop. Once bills come up, our legislative tracker will keep you apprised of what’s what. Be ready for calls to action, trainings, and other ways to get engaged.
Remember: these are your elected officials, doing work in your Statehouse!
Happy Start of Session!