The last week of the session proved to be very busy as the Legislature considered and passed over 100 bills for the week. This legislation included major reforms in the areas of Medicaid, sex offenders, and economic initiatives. No agreement on the budget was reached, however. A special session will continue later this month to finish the budget.
One bill that will significantly help this area economically passed both the House and the Senate in the closing days of the session. It is now waiting the Governor's signature and when signed will become law on July 1, 2007 . I was the House author and Senator Laughlin was the Senate author of House Bill 2755. This bill will allow money from the School Land Account presently going into the Building Fund for the Department of Central Services to be redirected.
Instead, the money will now go into the School Land Ad Valorem Reimbursement Fund. This fund has only been funded at about 10% historically. That means this area, which has about half of all the school land in it, only receives about 10% of the ad valorem money it should receive. When it begins to get funded at or near 100% in 2007, the counties in the state will begin to receive the total amount of tax due to them from school land. This will be a significant boost to county government in this district.
The last day of session I passed three other bills. HB 1964 provided for significant additional monitoring of sex offenders. It requires a mandatory three year supervision period after they are released from jail. This bill also requires that they renew their identification card or driver's license yearly to keep their information up to date. It also requires a polygraph every 6 months to further monitor activity. These reforms are some of the best practices in the nation to deal with this increasing cancer on our society.
I was also able to pass HB 1938 which fixes a problem created in another bill earlier in the session. The earlier bill prohibits the weighing of grain trucks within two miles of an elevator. Since the permanent weigh station in Boise City is within this two mile radius, this bill simply exempted permanent weigh station. HB 1934 simply provides a task force to study ways to make county sheriff departments more stable.
An omnibus Medicaid reform bill also passed that will redirect about 33 million dollars from being wasted to needed service. It gives financial incentives for healthy lifestyles and allows personal health accounts. The bill mandates a comprehensive disease management program and implements new accountability standards. Most importantly it allocates 93 million to be used to increase Medicaid reimbursement for the state. Over 30 million of that will be going to rural hospitals and doctors.
Rep Dale Depue was able to get his bill, HB 2357 passed in one of the final days of session also. This bill helps stop identity theft. It requires state agencies and boards to report any security breaches of personal information and take appropriate action.
Bills continued to be considered and passed up until the final tick of the clock on Friday at 5:00 PM . Then the representative who had served the longest, Rep Fred Perry moved that the House adjourn “sine die”.
Boise City News