January 17, 2013

Dear Neighbors,

I wish you all a happy new year and hope you are looking forward to the 2014 Legislative Session as much as I am. It’s an honor to represent District 20 again this year as well as represent my colleagues as Assitant Majority Leader of the Idaho State Senate.
During this legislative session, many issues are expected to be brought before the Legislature for review. Governor Butch Otter outlined many of those issues in his State of the State Address on Monday, January 6th.
Education was top priority in the Governor’s speech, proposing to rebuild Idaho’s "K-through-Career" education and workforce development system in a way that is responsible and sustainable. He proposed a 2.9 percent, $37.4 million increase for public education as the start of a five-year plan to raise the quality of Idaho’s schools. The Governor also included a budget request for $54.7 million in fiscal 2015, specifically aimed at accomplishing those goals. It was announced that the Governor’s "Project 60" goal of building Idaho’s total economic activity to $60 billion per year was accomplished. In addition, the Governor called for a change in direction for Idaho’s Medicaid system to focus more on prevention, outcomes and living within our means instead of expanding Medicaid as proposed by Obamacare. Governor Otter also proposed a one-time $15 million investment in water supply improvement projects statewide.
In addition, a couple important legislative topics this year include:

* The Second Amendent – The Castle Principle, giving more independence for individuals to defend their homes and families, and Campus Carry, regarding more rights in transporting guns in vehicles on and off of college campuses.
* Local Option Sales Tax – This special-purpose tax provides a financial tool for local cities and counties as a means to raise funds for local projects. The draft legislation would allow a city or county to seek voter approval of a local option sales tax of up to 1% of retail sales subject to sales tax. The draft requires the city or county to seek voter approval, at General Election in November of even years, of their ability to propose a local option sales tax.
Assuming voter approval the city or county would then prepare and submit to their voters a list of specific projects, detailed and related thereto. Assuming voter approval of the specific project(s), the city or county could then begin to collect the tax. Once the actual amount collected is equal to the amount approved by voters the tax would sunset/terminate. The project(s) could be constructed. The draft does not allow the city or county to use the revenue to bond the projects, in otherwords, no debt would be allowed.
The funds collected could be used for state highway projects, providing for regional development, economic development, common education, general operations, but limited to 25% of the 1%, capital improvements, country roads, weather modification or any other purpose deemed, by a majority vote of the county commissioners, to be necessary to promote safety, security and the general well-being of the people.
Thank you – I’m truly thankful for the awards given to me recently.

* "2013 Legislator of the Year" – awarded by the Fraternal Order of Police
* "Legislator’s Award" – for dedication in assisting with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force legislation – awarded by the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police
* "Helping Hand" Award" – for supporting the girls and young women of the Syringa House

Welcome Silas Robert!

I am happy to announce that my assistant Lizzie had a baby boy on December 19th. Silas weighed 7 lbs and 14 oz. and measured 21 inches long. It was exciting to hear the news of Lizzie and her husband’s third happy and healthy boy!

While Lizzie is on maternity leave, we welcome assistant Jennifer. She grew up on a farm in Payette County and is relocating to Boise after living overseas in Mainland China. Jennifer is a healthy foodie and enjoys culinary arts.

I thank all of you who receive this newsletter and use it to stay up-to-date on the issues that Idaho is facing. As always, if you would no longer like to receive my newsletter, please e-mail myself or Jennifer at smjals@senate.idaho.gov<mailto:smjals@senate.idaho.gov> and she will take you off the mailing list.
Again, I hope you will feel free to contact me with any ideas or concerns regarding any legislation being considered by the legislature. You can reach me by calling my office, 208-332-1307, by e-mailing me at CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov<mailto:CWinder@Senate.Idaho.Gov..> or by visiting my website www.ChuckWinder.com<www.ChuckWinder.com>.
Senator Chuck Winder
Assistant Majority Leader
Idaho State Senate