Idaho Democratic Lawmakers Aim at the Future: Creating Opportunity Plan

Idaho Democratic lawmakers outlined a plan to create opportunity and restore balance to Idaho. This is how Idaho gets on track.

Here’s a short clip from a press conference today in Capitol led by Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett and House Minority Leader John Rusche by Times-News reporter Nathan Brown: CLICK TO VIEW.

Here’s a copy of the plan: CreatingOpportunityPlan.

Visit the website here: Creating Opportunity: A Balanced Plan for Idaho.

Democrat Lawmakers Outline Plan for Idaho’s Future

NATHAN BROWN nbrown@magicvalley.com

BOISE | The Democratic legislative leadership on Thursday released a general outline of their goals for Idaho’s future and a plan to achieve them.

The Democrats called a news conference to release their “Creating Opportunity” plan, a list of longtime Idaho Democratic goals broken into sections such as “Investing in Education” and “Holding Government Accountable,” with a further list of a few specific policy steps under each section.

“It’s just a way for us to build a future, have a template to go forward and make sure that we’re looking long-term, and how we want to make sure that we improve the economy and the future of Idahoans and their children,” said Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

The Democratic leaders said they also have specific legislation to move toward some of these goals. Some of them, such as Sen. Dan Schmidt’s two bills to expand Medicaid, have already been introduced. Stennett thanked Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, for holding a hearing on the Medicaid bills, but called for a committee vote on them. Heider said Tuesday he wants to wait for the governor’s primary care for the uninsured plan to be introduced before taking any action.

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, started the news conference on a personal note. He missed the first few weeks of the session because his wife is battling cancer, and he thanked people who stepped up to help and support them.

“Our shared values create a wonderful sense of community,” he said. “We treat each other like the neighbors that we are.”

One of those Democratic priorities, a bill to hike the minimum wage, may surface again this year. Democrats had tried to introduce it into Senate State Affairs, but committee Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, has said he wouldn’t give it an introductory hearing. The Democrats are now looking to introduce it into a House committee, Stennett said.

Rusche also said he plans to bring back a bill he introduced last year, to create an inspector general’s office to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in state government. He said he is rounding up as many cosponsors as possible before introducing it.

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