Team 17 Week 6 Newsletter

February 19, 2012

In this Issue:
Issue Alert: F35 Fighter

Fracking

Presidential Politics

Restoring Medicaid

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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FROM TEAM 17

 


Team 17

 

Senator Elliot Werk
Representative Sue Chew

Representative Bill Killen

 

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Office Hours!

 

This Thursday, 7:00 – 8:30 PM in the Borah High Career Center


Public Forum

 

March 8, 2012, 7 PM Whitney Elementary School Library

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We need your expertise.
To help with legislation or community projects call:

Senator Werk
208-658-0388

Rep Killen
208-345-2956

Rep Chew
208-344-0098

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To fund our mailings and other service needsContribute with a click

 

Chew for House

Werk for Senate

 

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Issue Alert: F35 Fighter

 

The United States Air Force is considering basing F-35 jets at Gowen Field. There are two public meetings to discuss the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this move. The main environmental impact would be increased noise levels for residents near the airport area, and in the approach and takeoff pathways. The public meetings will be held:

 

Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

Capitol City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 63

8931 W. Ardene St.

Boise, ID 83709

Open House Information Session: 5-6 p.m.

Presentation/Formal Comment Session: 6-8 p.m.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012

Boise Hotel and Conference Center – Cascade Room

3300 Vista Ave.

Boise, ID 83705

Open House Information Session: 5-6 p.m.

Presentation/Formal Comment Session: 6-8 p.m.

 

Paper copies of the EIS can be obtained at the Hillcrest Branch of the Boise Public Library.

 

The F-35 EIS Site can be found at http://bit.ly/yWArW7. There is a link on the page to provide public comment on the EIS. The public comment period closes on March 14th.

 

The main Boise Section of the EIS can be found at

http://bit.ly/yt87ZM (this is about a 7 MB pdf file).

 

There is a local group opposed to deployment of the F35 at Gowen. You can find their web site at http://www.saveourvalleynow.org/.

 

We hope you can attend a meeting. Please let us know how you feel about the potential deployment of the F35 at Gowen Field by dropping us an email at .

 


 

From the Desk of Senator Werk:

Fracking – The Basics

This article will be two parts over the next two weeks since the basics of fracking need to be explained before we can talk about policy.

With the discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas in Payette County last year, the state of Idaho was caught flat-footed. This is because our laws and rules concerning oil and gas exploration and production are terribly outdated. When the Oil and Gas Commission and associated laws were created in 1963 hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was in its infancy. Now it’s being proposed in Payette County amid horror stories of contamination in other states.

I serve on the Senate Resources and Environment committee which oversees these issues. Luckily my training as a geologist and my experience in both geothermal exploration and environmental cleanup provides me with a decent understanding of the issues. I’m the only legislator on the resources committee with a background in these issues.

Fracking is a process used to increase the flow of oil or natural gas into a well for extraction. It’s done by injecting liquid and sand under high pressure creating fractures that act as highways to the well. Fracking has resulted in a dramatic increase in natural gas production in the US and a lowering of prices and associated electricity rates. It’s been used in smaller contexts for many years and can be used safely in many circumstances.

In Payette County the natural gas is in sandstone (source rock) and industry is proposing low volume fracking in vertical wells to ensure that they are connected to the source rock.

High volume fracking is the process that has likely caused the contamination of water wells and surface water that we’ve heard in the news lately. This occurs over very large areas in very tight rock (shale). To accomplish high volume fracks, horizontal wells are drilled in the source rock in all directions from the bottom of a vertical well. To fracture hard rock over a large area millions of gallons of fluid and sand are injected under very high pressure.

High volume fracking is not proposed at the present time; however, new regulations will not prevent this practice in Idaho.


 

 

From the Desk of Representative Killen:

Riding the Campaign Trail – 2012
Given the presence of a number of presidential hopefuls in Idaho this week, I thought a brief digression into the field of presidential campaigning might be insightful, or at least entertaining.  In reading the morning newspaper coverage of Rick Santorum’s Capital High foray, I noted with interest his suggestion that Idaho’s federal lands should be sold off to private parties, or, alternatively transferred to state control, since the Feds do not have the resources to properly manage them.  Obviously he had failed to consult with the hook and bullet crowd as to the first alternative, and, presumably, was unfamiliar with the present condition of our state coffers as to the second.

 

Somewhat ironically, as I was heading upstairs in the Capitol Rotunda while ruminating on these matters, I discovered that the Rotunda’s displays of the day were the many enterprises involved in the Buy Idaho program.  Santorum’s call to sell Idaho probably would not sit well with most of these purveyors of Idaho goods and services.

Santorum’s style was clearly well matched with his audience, scuffed cowboy boots, jeans, open collar and a sweater vest. It will be interesting to see how Romney chooses to adorn himself for his Friday $1,000 a plate dinner – clearly a different ambience from the overflow crowd at Capital High’s auditorium.

Both hopefuls are definitely on the same page when it comes to social issues however, taking every opportunity to laud their big brother agenda – telling the fairer sex that they are not qualified to decide for themselves what is best for their bodies, that they should defer to their more worldly wise and more knowledgeable male, e.g.House Bill 530. It’s almost as if a Christian Taliban is evolving on the American political right, with the goal of relegating women to a second class status deemed unable to take care of themselves, at least in the manner their male contemporaries deem acceptable. Can mandatory headscarves be far behind?

Note: House Bill 530 is to be heard in the House Health and Welfare Committee Monday Feb 20th (tomorrow), at 1:30pm in room EW42. Come testify or let Representative Chew know if you would like to be kept informed about the bill.


 

From the Desk of Representative Sue Chew:

Restoring Medicaid for Idaho’s Most Vulnerable
A top priority of mine this session, as a member of the House and Welfare Committee, is to help restore the funding of Medicaid that was cut during the 2011 legislative session. HB 260(passed last session) has really hurt many of our most vulnerable Idahoans and has potentially increased costs by bypassing preventive care and leading to more acute care.

 

The Adults with Disabilities Fund was decreased when HB 260 required the Health and Welfare Department was to cut $2 million from state funds, resulting in a $6.7 million loss of actual services. The impact of state cuts to services is magnified because the federal government provides Idaho with 70 cents of every dollar that we appropriate.

 

To combat the cuts, Idaho Legal Aid filed a lawsuit on behalf of twelve adults in the KW v Armstrong case, which involved adults in need of 24-hour care. The judge ruled on February 3rd that the budgets must be restored. He also asked the Health and Welfare Department to treat other cases similarly; however, he has no jurisdiction over those other cases.

 

At the public hearing held earlier this month in the large auditorium in the Capitol, many people came to outline the unintended consequences of HB 260 and ask for funds to be restored. Time constraints limited testimony to three hours, allowing only 60 people to testify.

 

When the House and Senate Health and Welfare chairwomen spoke to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday, February 16, they both mentioned that changes need to be made regarding Medicaid. Representative McGeachin urged the committee to do whatever can fit within the budget to restore funding for Medicaid. Three ideas that she mentioned were 1) serving patients who have both mental illness and developmental disabilities, 2) eliminating the tiered budget approach for adults, and 3) restoring preventive dental services. Senator Patti Anne Lodge also recommended restoring some of last year’s Medicaid cuts. Her ideas included 1) allowing those with both developmental disabilities and mental illness to be served for both categories, 2) expanding dental services for people with disabilities, and 3) funding a state suicide hotline.

 

If you want your voice to be heard on these decisions your will need to contact members of JFAC ASAP (budget setting begins this coming week). To contact the members of JFAC go tohttp://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm and send members an email message.

 


 

Contacting Team 17

 

Public Forums to Discuss Legislative Issues

 

The legislative forums that we have held in past years have proven a great way to keep in close contact with the people we represent. Of course we want to keep these lines of communication open and we will hold more forums this year.

 

Here is the schedule of our remaining forums:

March Forum Thursday, March 8th
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Whitney Elem. School Library
Wrap-Up Forum Thursday, April 5th
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Borah High School Library

Weekly Office Hours

Once again Team 17 will offer the people that we serve the opportunity to meet individually with the Team on a first come – first served basis. Office hours will be every Thursday (except forum nights) from 7:00 – 8:30 PM in the Career Center at Borah High School.

 

 

 

 


 

Our web sites are constantly being updated with the latest information, so visit them often.

WEB SITES
Senator Elliot Werk – detailed info on the legislative session and Sen. Werk’s activities
Representative Bill Killen – read Bill’s updates
Representative Sue Chew – coverage of legislative activities

Other Links
Fiscal Facts Book (historic information about budgets and good basic budget data – including various account balances)
2012 Legislative Budget Book (used by the budget committee members)
2012 Legislative Fiscal Report (details where the budget currently stands)
2010 Idaho Fiscal Source Book (sources and uses of funds for state agencies)

 


We want to stress what an honor it is to represent you in the Idaho legislature. We appreciate all of the visits, phone calls, emails, and letters. This input helps us to better represent our community.

Please feel free to contact any one of us at any time at , or by phone at 658-0388 (Sen. Werk) or 344-0098 (Rep. Chew) or 345-2956 (Rep. Killen).

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