A Message from the Executive Committee
Hello ICAP members!
It has been a busy legislative session thus far, and it is about to get even busier. Here is where the true work of ICAP begins. We will be relying on our rapid response team (Staci, John, Cindy) to help us as these bills get introduced, since we may only have days to provide feedback to legislators and to the public before there is a vote.
We have been told that this week there could be hundreds of bills introduced, including ones that will affect children.
We as ICAP need to start thinking about and coming to a consensus around the following bills/issues:
HB 3 by Rep. Nate. This is the so-called "free range parenting" bill that redefines parental neglect. Idaho Voices for Children and Idaho Children's Trust Fund have gotten together and asked for key changes in the language of the bill, which would make this bill a good one, as it may better define poverty versus neglect. They are waiting to see if these changes will be incorporated before deciding if they are for or against, and I would suggest that we do the same.
HB 4 by Sage Dixon would prohibit children being taken into the custody of the state in an emergency situation such as COVID. This bill has no practical application. This bill may have come about due to a popular rumor circulating regarding the Dept. of Health and Welfare taking your child from you if they had COVID. Our suggestion at this time is that we do not take a position on this bill in attempt to "pick our battles."
There is a bill sponsored by Sen. Abby Lee that would increase the age that you could be in the foster care system from 18 years to 21 years of age if the child so chooses. If this becomes law, it could have the benefit of drawing down federal funding. This has been endorsed by many youth, and we think ICAP should endorse this.
As we have discussed previously, Sen. Thayne is putting forth a bill allowing school vouchers. Cindy did a great job with our position paper on this, and Jaime has made a version of that for legislators/public. This will be sent to you in a separate email.
Another school bill will allow education dollars to be used for children aged 4 years and up versus 5 years which is the current law. This is NOT a preschool bill. It remains to be seen if there will be stipulations placed on how this money is used, so stay tuned.
There will most likely be multiple bills dictating how to use our current state surplus. One bill proposes that surplus federal Medicaid dollars should be used to create a tax relief for private school donations. We will give more specifics when we have them.
Please start thinking about the above bills, and for now let's use email to keep a thread of conversation going for the lack of a better platform. We may be calling the Rapid Response Team over the following weeks, and also reaching out more frequently to you, our Advisory Board and Executive Committee.
We know this adds work to your busy lives, but it's all for our kids! Thank you for your time and commitment.
Noreen & Diane