The fate of SB 1108 (http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1108.htm), the bill from the Idaho Farm Bureau and sponsored by Sen. Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa) that would make it tougher to qualify initiatives or referenda measures, will not be decided until Monday morning.
Members of the Senate State Affairs Committee heard lots of public comment today, all opposed to the measure. And, there were many others—including the IEA—interested in testifying who will need to wait until Monday’s meeting to offer their comments.
SB 1108 would require signatures from 6 percent of voters in 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts, as well as signatures from 6 percent of voters statewide. The current law requires collecting the signatures of 6 percent of voters statewide, which is a higher hurdle than many surrounding states. In fact, according to our research, Idaho already has one of the most restrictive processes in the country.
There is no organization with more experience in the nuts and bolts of signature gathering in Idaho than the IEA. Our analysis of the legislation leads the IEA to believe that this measure would make an already incredibly difficult process much more complicated and make it even easier for the legislature to ignore the will of the people.
We will also argue that this legislation is trying to solve a problem that does not exist. IEA research confirms that had this law been in effect in 2011, Propositions 1, 2 and 3 would have easily qualified for the November ballot. During the 60 days between March and June of 2011, more than 6 percent of voters in 29 of the 35 legislative districts signed each of the three petitions to get the three propositions on the November 2012 ballot.
All three propositions were overwhelmingly rejected by Idaho voters.
Public Schools Budget Set on Monday
More than 45% of the state’s general fund is invested in the K-12 public school system each year. On Monday, members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee will spend the morning setting this very important budget.
If you would like to listen in to the committee’s deliberations, you can log in (http://www.idahoptv.org/insession/leg.cfm) to the JFAC meeting on Monday morning at 8 AM.
The IEA will offer an analysis of the proposal in our next edition of this hotline.
Grab Your Hat and Read with the Cat
Tomorrow marks Dr. Seuss’s official birthday, but schools across Idaho and the country have been celebrating “Read Across America” all week.
Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and in creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.
Earlier this week, IEA President Penni Cyr accompanied BEA leaders and the NEA Cat-a-Van to several Boise area schools to celebrate the joy of reading. President Cyr also read to a first grade class at Jefferson Elementary school today.
We encourage you to take some time this weekend to honor Dr. Seuss’s memory by picking up a book and reading with a child. As Dr. Seuss reminds us, “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good!”