politics

Idaho Lawmakers Discuss Upcoming Issues at Republican Women's Luncheon

2013-05-16T02:00:00Z Idaho Lawmakers Discuss Upcoming Issues at Republican Women's LuncheonBy Kimberlee Kruesi - kkruesi@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

BUHL • Education, transportation and Medicaid expansion are strong contenders to become key issues in next year’s Idaho legislative session, according to Magic Valley lawmakers.

Speaking at a Magic Valley Republican Women’s luncheon, a handful of Idaho lawmakers spoke about accomplishments during the 2012 Legislature and expectations for the future.

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said the Legislature may attempt to repeal more of the personal property tax. Lawmakers passed a partial reform bill this year.

“I believe that we shouldn’t let a session pass without lowering some sort of tax,” he said.

Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, said that as vice-chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, he expects to see a bill on expanding Medicaid in Idaho.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have the option of developing a new health plan under Medicaid for adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the poverty level.

Lawmakers didn’t get around to addressing Medicaid expansion this year, but it will probably be a key issue next year, even though it might face resistance, Heider said.

“I’m not in favor of adding one-third more to the system,” he said. “I would like to see more people get off the welfare system.”

Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, said a bill he introduced helped achieve a small victory Tuesday when the federal government decided not to challenge a judge’s decision to keep slickspot peppergrass off the endangered species list.

“You don’t normally see that,” he said.

His bill added language to current statutes so that a species can’t be put on the endangered species list in Idaho without state approval.

Copyright 2014 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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