March 22, 2013

After an impassioned debate Thursday, the Senate voted to pass H 248, the bill to implement a state-based health insurance exchange. You’ll recall that the senate debated this issue a few weeks ago when my colleagues and I debate S 1042 for six and half hours. Still, my colleagues and I made one last attempt to persuade each other, vehemently debating their respective arguments in favor of a state exchange and our opposition to a state exchange. When my colleagues and I had said what we wanted to say, and three hours had passed, each Senator cast his vote the same way he or she had the first time, 23 for the state insurance exchange and 12 in opposition. I voted in opposition, offering a short debate to explain that I am not comfortable with the long-term cost that will be incurred by the State to set up an exchange. I am not comfortable with the lack of protection for issues of conscience, for the unborn and for religious freedom by the citizens of Idaho. Having said that, I am proud of my colleagues for the respect and civility Senate Members have shown to each other, despite passionately held opinions on both sides of this issue. What all members of the Majority Caucus can agree on is that if we could, we would repeal President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
As a sign that the 2013 Legislative Session is coming to a close, the Senate Transportation Committee met once, as opposed to twice this week. Tuesday we discussed
* S 1179 authorizes the Idaho Transportation Board to enter into agreements with contiguous states to allow the Idaho Transportation Department and contiguous state motor vehicle departments to collect fees and to issue driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and titles to tribal members in the same manner as would occur in the individual’s home state.
* H 171aa limits a county or highway district’s liability resulting from an unauthorized encroachment in public right-of-ways.
In the Senate State Affairs Committee we met jointly with the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday to hear a presentation on the campaign to "Add the Words" lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to the Idaho Human Rights Act. There was no legislation to act on, but the presentation itself was informative. Monday and earlier today (Friday), the Committee heard HCR 029, a Concurrent Resolution to Recognize the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on its 100th anniversary. We heard several other House bills including:
* H 193 provides that certain 911 fees shall be collected by the Tax Commission and transferred to the Idaho Emergency Communications Fund.
* H 90aa clarifies the transfer of certain liquor licenses and removes conflicting language from Idaho code.
* H 176 provides voting requirements for overseas voters.

* H 120aa prohibits the use of credit or debit cards to purchase lottery tickets and reverses rules authorizing such action.
It is likely that the 2013 Legislative Session will come to a close by Friday March 29th. If that is the case, I will send out an overview of the 2013 Legislative Session as opposed to a weekly newsletter next time. In the meantime, I appreciate all of your e-mails and phone calls on issues important to you and important to Idaho. Please continue to contact me on issues under review by the legislature by calling my office at 208-332-1307, by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov<mailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..>, by visiting my website, WWW.ChuckWinder.Com<WWW.ChuckWinder.Com> and by finding me on Facebook. I wish you all a warm and happy first weekend of Spring!
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate