On Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, the Idaho State Senate adjourned for the session, while the House of Representatives went into recess, allowing the leadership of the House to call themselves back into session. This is a unique situation in a Legislative Session filled with a variety of unique challenges, and qualifying as the longest legislative session in state history.
We approached this session much differently, as the pandemic was still a major issue, with the Senate and House recessing due to Covid outbreaks among Legislators and Capitol staff in late March. There were also many budget issues, coming into session the state saw a surplus compared to budget projections, as well as federal dollars increasing to help state budgets stay whole. Despite the stable outlook, the Governor had recommended many cuts to agencies across the state to help keep the fiscal outlook secure. This included major cuts to Medicaid through services and providers, including eliminating specialty services like dental and mental health care.
However, with the help of our partners, volunteers, and great AHA advocates, we were able to convince the Governor to rescind his recommendation, and continue to keep Medicaid and Medicaid Expansion fully funded. We expect this fight to come up again in the next session, and into the future, and appreciate all the work and effort our advocates dedicated to helping Idahoans continue to receive the health care they need.
We also want to share the good news that we were able to stop Big Tobacco from taking away local control from cities, counties, and other municipal bodies. They worked to pass legislation that would prevent your local city council or county commission from passing legislation that would help reduce tobacco use and prevent youth access to tobacco and electronic tobacco and nicotine products. We anticipate more of this type of legislation in future sessions, referred to as “preemption,” and will continue our work to counter the efforts of Big Tobacco and their supporters in the vaping and electronic products industries. Be on the lookout for more information on how you can help our work to prevent youth tobacco and electronic cigarette use, and help end tobacco use in Idaho.
We continue our work funding for active and safe transportation, and were able to secure $2 million for local transportation safety projects, like Safe Routes to Schools, as well as supporting efforts to improve activity and nutrition standards in early child care programs.
Despite the unpredictability and lack of regular order this session, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our work to help improve the health of all Idahoans. Thank you to all of our advocates, we hope you and your communities continue to stay health and safe!
hero_image_alt_text===A street view of the Idaho Capitol building
thumbnail_alt_text===A street view of the Idaho Capitol building