[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index]

Post from Rep. Tom Trail


Representative Tom Trail sent the following newlsetter to me and asked me
to send it out to the list.

Tom Lamar

Ninth Legislative Newsletter--March 6 - 13, 1999

	The best estimates are that we will be finishing up March 19th and
close down a rather lackluster legislative session.  I plan on sending out
a wrap up of the session at the end of next week and then my impression of
some highlights and lowlights.

   1.	Reading Initiative--HBs 176/177/178 passed the Senate Education
Committee on Friday by a 8-0 margin.  In a rather unusual move Senator Gary
Schroeder asked that all three bills be voted on together instead of
separately.  This is the first time I've seen this happen.  There was no
opposition, and the bills will come up for a vote on Tuesday.

If the Reading Initiative is passed this will represent an investment of
about $4.5 million/year for Idaho students, and it will mean a financial
commitment for a number of years into the future.  I'd like to give full
credit to the parents, the education community, Idaho citizens who
supported the two-year legislative development of the Initiative, and the
legislative co-sponsors.

In reflecting back on the need to improve reading scores, Doc Lucas, former
District 5 Representative, deserves full credit for "pricking" the
consciousness of the legislators regarding the importance of reading.  Doc
spoke out over the years for the importance of helping students improve
reading scores, and I'd like to give full credit to Doc for his pioneer
efforts in the Legislature and contributions to help legislators finally
realize the importance of helping our educational system with the resources
needed for the task ahead.

Dr. Bob Barr of Boise State University stresses the importance of helping
3rd grade students read at grade level.  Dr. Barr reports that a child not
reading at grade level by grade 3 stands almost a zero chance of graduating
from high school.  Studies of the students who don't reach reading at grade
level by the end of grade 3--years later--find that they are generally
unemployed, under employed, or unemployable.  The State of Indiana, in
making projections for future prison construction, bases their estimates on
the number of students failing reading at the third grade level.  The
social and economic consequences of failing to learn to read is dramatic.

   2.	HB 143--Recycling--The Senate State Affairs Committee passed this
bill by a 5-4 margin and it will come up for a vote probably on Monday.
This would allow state agencies to pay up to a 5% differential to purchase
recycled paper products.

   3.	State Marital Tax Deduction or the "Bag Mac" bill--The Legislature
gave married couples a big tax break of just over $12.00/year or enough to
buy about 12 Big Macs on special.  The Governor promoted the bill in terms
of equity and fairness.

   4.	Western Regional Primary--The House defeated by a 29-27 vote the
effort to join an eight state Western primary on the first Friday after the
first Monday in March next year.  Sponsors indicated that Idaho could get
added clout by participating in the primary while opponents felt the
$500,000 price tag was too great.  I personally felt the price wasn't worth
the beauty contest participation of the state.

   5.	Greyhounds lose the race--The Legislature approved greyhound
simulcast racing in the state.  Idaho outlaws greyhound racing as do six
other states because of excessive cruelty to the dogs.  However, racing
from other states is televised and Idahoans can bet on these races at horse
racing events and other locations.  I voted against the bill.

   6.	Ducks win the race--The rubber duck bill passed the House by a
35-28 margin.  This lifts the $1,000 cap for first prize.  Duck racing is
utilized by many organizations to raise money for charity.  The opponents
felt approving rubber duck racing was just another evil step in promoting
gambling in the state, and that the number of rubber duck addicts would
skyrocket.  Frankly, I'm still looking for my first rubber duck addict.

   7.	Identifying Sources of Political Phone Calls--The House approved a
bill requiring people paying for telephone calls that advocate the
election, approval of a candidate or ballot measures to identify themselves
on the calls.

   8.	School Facilities--HB 278 and 308 which were drafted by Legislative
leadership in response to convince the Idaho Supreme Court that the State
was making a full commitment to bring school facilities up to safe
standards were both defeated.  I voted against HB 278 which would have
allowed school districts to hike property taxes without voter approval and
I voted for 308 which would have allowed voter participation at the 55% or
60% level.  Both bills would have had the problem if passed of increasing
property taxes.

 	Both bills were bandaide and smoke and mirrors approaches to
convince the Supreme Court that the Legislature was fully committed to
provide students a safe learning environment as noted in the Idaho
Constitution.  My stance is that the State is going to have to provide some
financial help to school districts in terms of building and remodeling
schools.  Idaho citizens have indicated in scientific polls that they would
support an increase in sales tax dedicated to school facilities.  As a
co-sponsor with Rep. Donna Boe, our bill to reduce the super majority to
60% failed in State Affairs.  Rep. Ringo and I introduced an advisory
question to put on the year 2000 ballot asking the citizens if they would
approve a 1/2 cent increase on the sales tax dedicated to improve school
facilities.  This was defeated 14-0.  So it looks like we will have to
await the court's decision.  It cost the state of Arizona $400,000,000 when
ordered by the court to fix schools

	I would like constituents to e-mail, phone, fax, or write me with
their ideas, comments, ideas and recommendations.  You can reach me by
phone:  208-332-1202 (desk) or 208-332-1000 (communications desk), or 208
336-3612 (night).  Legislative newsletters and additional materials and
information can be located on my web and home page:

Rep. Tom Trail, District 5

Thomas C. Lamar, Executive Director

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute
P O Box 8596; 112 West 4th St; Suite #1
Moscow ID 83843-1096
Phone (208)882-1444; Fax (208)882-8029

Please Note our individual staff email addresses below:

Thomas C. Lamar, Executive Director:
Kathleen Lester, Office Manager/Environmental Education:
Laurie Gardes, Financial Manager:
Anita Grover, Watersheds:
Colette DePhelps, Community Food Systems:
Peggy Adams, Watersheds/Food Systems:
Jon Barrett, Idaho Smart Growth:
Elaine Clegg, Idaho Smart Growth:

Celebrating thirteen years of connecting people, place and community.

Back to TOC