A string of new Idaho laws are protecting our freedoms, making us safer, and helping our economy. July 1 is always a special day in the Gem State; itís when most of the laws passed during the legislative session actually go into effect. It was a challenging year in the Statehouse, but I worked hard in the commonsense values you elected me to reflect. Here are some of the new laws that youíll see the benefits of here in District 7.
Transportation is vitally important to everything we do in District 7, and as vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I worked hard to give that a boost. Spring flooding devastated many of our roads, but help is on the way. A new law moves funding of the Idaho State Police to the General Fund, leaving $17 million for road repair and maintenance in the transportation budget. Weíll also see less burdensome government regulation, after we condensed 22 trucking permits into just eight. I believe the government that governs least, governs best, and this change helps the state get out of the way of truckers in our state.
In many ways, logging is the lifeblood of our district. A new law, requested by the logging community, helps ensure the safety of the people working in that industry, and the safety of everyone on our roads. Previously, the rules governing safe log hauling in the woods did not apply on Idaho highways. This law changes that, by allowing our Idaho State Police and the ports of entry to make sure all logging trucks are safely loaded and secured on the highway. This not only provides for the safe transportation of saw logs from the point of origin to the mill, but the safe transportation of you and your family to your destination.
Education is key to the future of our district, and weíll retain new teachers more easily thanks to improvement in starting teacher salaries. Also, while we didnít revise the school funding formula to get our rural school districts more of the funding they desperately need, we did set the table for next year. A new law defines student categories (gifted, special needs, etc.) in each district, and allows the reporting of their numbers. This will give us solid information for 2020, when we devise a new approach to funding Idahoís schools.
I am truly proud of the work we did in the Legislature this year and the laws that are going into effect. One law I co-sponsored helps craft brewers grow their small business as that industry booms. Another law, developed at the request of one of my constituents in Wallace, established a committee on federalism. Itís all part of my duty and privilege to serve you. Idaho is the greatest state in the union, and our district is the most amazing and vibrant area in this state. It is my intent with these new laws to help keep it that way.
Sen. Carl Crabtree represents District 7, which includes southern Bonner County, in the Idaho Legislature. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.