Thank you for visiting my website. I love being a legislator and I’m happy to help citizens resolve any issues they may have with state government agencies New this year for me is that I’m on Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) and I love it. I continue to serve on Commerce and Human Resources and Transportation committees. I also sit on year around committees of the State Employee Health Insurance, the Millennium Fund, Legislative Council, and Food Quality Assurance.
There is a nice quote about what teachers “make” written by Taylor Mali. Here's a video of him delivering it- http://www.ted.com/talks/taylor_mali_what_teachers_make.html and the text- http://taylormali.com/poems-online/what-teachers-make/
I have thoroughly enjoyed the new legislators both on the Republican side and on the Democrat side this year. They are all smart and we have all made strong efforts to work together on legislation. This has been the most pleasant session that I have ever had. Maybe it has something to do with this being my 7th year or maybe it has something to do with this new group. Either way, I hope you see that there is some good work being done here in the statehouse.
New this year for me is that I’m on Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) and I love it. I continue to serve on Commerce and Human Resources and Transportation committees. I also sit on year around committees of the State Employee Health Insurance, the Millennium Fund, Legislative Council, and Food Quality Assurance.
On the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC), I realized that at times our state’s priorities are revealed in the budgetary decision-making process. Highest on my personal priority list are public education and health. In my view, if we strategically use taxpayer money to enhance public education and improve health and welfare programs, more of our kids will graduate from high school, go on to college, and find well-paying jobs. I believe those investments will enable our state to prosper. Investing now in education will save us on social services and corrections in the future. Preventive health care will assure that our citizens will be able to work and enjoy Idaho’s unique way of life.
JFAC’s priorities varied. On one day the committee appropriated $1 million for the Agriculture Extensions but on the same day we did not support $1.4 million for Vocational-rehabilitation. These Vo-Rehab funds were part of the state school board’s commitment to grow the number of the Idaho citizens with advanced education from 30% to 60%. Ag Extension is important too, but my priority would have been the Vo-Rehab.
I was pleased that the Health Care Exchange legislation passed this session. A state-based exchange will keep our insurance rates low. Idaho's medical costs are lower than much of the U.S. A federal exchange would have taken away local control and increased our premiums because it would have included those states that have higher premiums. As with any bill, this bill is not perfect, but there was a compromise that the Exchange Board would include a House member, a Senate member, and a member of the minority party. This gives the legislature some oversight.
We did not consider the Medicaid expansion this year because it appeared that some of the Republicans would have been in favor of expansion but that their constituents could not separate the components of Obamacare. The Republicans need time to build consensus back in their districts.
I am working on legislation to help pay for hearing aids for children. It turns out that we screen all newborns for hearing loss and supply them with hearing aids up to age 3 and continue to supply children on Medicaid with aids but not children on private pay insurance. This is a simple fix to ask insurance companies to partially pay for hearing aids for children on their list of things they cover.
Between sessions, you can contact me at email@example.com or call me at home 344-0202.
Rep. Phylis King