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Viewpoint: Democratic priorities for the 2023 Idaho legislative session

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow and House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel discuss the top issues for Democrats in 2023.
Credit: KTVB

BOISE, Idaho — Right after the holidays, Idaho state lawmakers will head back to work in the capitol building.

The first session of the 67th Idaho Legislature starts Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, with Gov. Brad Little's State of the State Address. The inauguration for his second term is Friday, Jan. 6, at noon on the capitol steps.

In the weeks leading up to the session, members of the Idaho Legislature have been working on setting their priorities.

The Republicans will once again hold supermajorities in both houses in 2023.

The Legislature's website shows Republicans hold 28 seats in the Senate. The Democrats hold seven. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 59 to 11.

There has also been a lot of turnover in the legislature because of redistricting and retirements. Of the 105 total members of the Legislature, 40 will be starting their first term.

Last Sunday's Viewpoint focused on the Republican priorities for the 2023 legislative session with new Speaker of the House Mike Moyle and Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder. You can watch that here.

This edition of Viewpoint focuses on the Democratic priorities with Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow of Boise and House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel of Boise.

"I think I would concur with Representative Rubel on the education funding because we're in critical and just dire straits with teachers not filling jobs," Sen. Wintrow said. "And, you know, these are all of our schools, right? This is our future. We have to invest in our kids right now to make sure we have a good future. So I think education funding. I think property tax fairness is really at the heart of so many priorities because, as the representative said, folks everywhere are really struggling."

"Over the past few years I think we've had six different, major proposals on reducing property taxes, all of which were blocked and denied a hearing or vote." Rep. Rubel said. "I'm optimistic that this year we're going to start seeing some movement on those things. Property taxes could not be more critical to get them down. There's so much low-hanging fruit in terms of how we could meaningfully reduce them while leaving, and this is a key part of that priority, leaving vital services in place. We cannot be cutting property taxes by cutting down on law enforcement or cutting down on fire protection. We have to keep our communities safe and our citizens with the services they need while reducing property taxes. A lot of ways we can do that, and we need to."

They also said they expect abortion to be an issue once again after the last legislature passed Idaho's strict new anti-abortion law, as well as the debate over school choice, or vouchers, for kids to attend private schools.

Viewpoint airs each Sunday morning at 9 o'clock on News Channel 7.

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