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Viewpoint: Idaho lawmakers comment on 2022 legislative session

Idaho lawmakers give their thoughts on the recent session; what they felt they got right, and what still needs to be done.

BOISE, Idaho —

Last year’s record setting session set the stage for big discussions on major topics important to Idahoans. 

The 2022 legislative session also comes during a time of interesting political dynamics, as many lawmakers seek re-election beginning with the May primary in less than seven weeks. 

We are recapping the legislative session and hearing from leaders of the Idaho Republicans and Democrats. 

Did they hit the mark this year? 

“I think we hit the mark pretty well,” said speaker Scott Bedke. “Idaho is in a good situation financially, we were able to do a major tax cut, historic in size. We were able to make major investments back into our infrastructure, both on the roads and bridges but also for water infrastructure, and we made major targeted investments in a public school system.” 

The state of Idaho is also in the midst of a record-setting surplus, lawmakers had a lot to work with. So did they do a good job taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? 

“First of all, they gave tax relief, 600 million dollars, 350 in rebates, 250 on going by lowering tax rates, so I think that helps business, helps individuals,” said Senator Chuck Winder. “But I really think it was the trifecta year, funding education, funding transportation, using that surplus for investments in the future, as well as returning some of it to the people.” 

So we've heard from the Idaho republicans, how do the Idaho democrats feel about the 2022 legislative session? 

“We did get some good things done, we did get some affordable workforce housing, we did some work on infrastructure, we got teachers health insurance, we did some good things,” said minority leader Rep. Ilana Rubel. “Once again, I feel far too much time was spent going down these crazy rabbit holes of these far-right-wing social issue conspiracy points that I think are ginned up on fox news and then they take over the legislature to the near exclusion often of real issues like the need to boost our education system and fix our roads and bridges and restore affordable housing and childcare.” 

“We did a lot in infrastructure, we had to move that ARPA money, the federal money, through and give it to, particularly local governments and local roads and bridges, which is something we hardly ever do,” said Senator Michelle Stennett. “We’re a little disappointed in the early literacy and the full-day kindergarten. It came out a little bit in the bill, in the latter part of the session, it is only for two years. It doesn’t say kindergarten in it so there’s no real structure to continue after the two-year mark.” 

With the legislative session behind us, the road now leads to the May primary in just over 6 weeks, election day is coming up on May 17.

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