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Viewpoint: Idaho House leaders lay out priorities for 2022 legislative session

House leaders from both parties say education funding and programs are at the top of their agendas.

BOISE, Idaho — The 2022 Idaho legislative session starts on Monday with Governor Brad Little's fourth State of the State Address. It's his opportunity to lay out his legislative and budget priorities, including education and tax relief for Idahoans. However, he's not the only one with a priority list. Democrats and Republicans in the legislature have their top issues to tackle as well.

House Minority Leader, Democrat Ilana Rubel of Boise, and Republican Speaker of the House Scott Bedke of Oakley laid out their parties' priorities. Big topics that came up include tax relief in general, property tax relief, fixing the foster care system, repairing roads and bridges, and dealing with drought and wildfires. Both leaders said education funding and programs are at the top of their agendas.

"It's really unforgivable with the amount money we have in the bank that we continue to be in last place in America on education funding," said House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel. "It's starting to pan out in our numbers. We've been seeing dropping literacy, dropping go-on rates, dropping high school graduation rates. It's really impacting our future and the future of our children in bad ways. And beyond funding full-day kindergarten, which is the very top priority, just across the board, we've got to get teacher pay to a competitive rate, and frankly, we'd like to see some facilities funding because that's another thing that's hitting property tax payers."

"We understand that the most critical component to a good education in Idaho is a good teacher, particularly in our K-12 systems and particularly in the K-3," said Speaker of the House Scott Bedke. "We want our kids leaving the third grade reading at grade level. We've got to be on top of our literacy issues here. We've seen from some of the early data that we've given some of the scores back, at least when it comes to literacy in K-3, and we can't allow that to happen. We've got to get on top of that."

This Monday, January 10, we'll bring you the governor's State of the State Address live at one o'clock on NewsChannel 7, KTVB.COM, and the KTVB YouTube Channel.

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