Highlights from 01-30-2013
Legislator usesHolocaust analogy
A North Idaho senator wrote an email and a Twitter message comparing the role of insurance companies to the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, saying the federal government is using private insurers and in the future will pull the trigger on them.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, defended the analogy. I just want people to hear the truth and to be aware that what is being presented before us is a socialistic program, Nuxoll said. There is no disrespect for any group or people with the analogy. I just want people to know the truth.
She sent the email to more than 120 addresses Jan. 23.
The message came as the Legislature was preparing to debate Idaho Gov. Butch Otters proposed state health insurance exchange.
Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said he doesnt fault her. This is a very emotional issue for a lot of people, Hill said. As we get closer to making that decision, the rhetorics going to get more dramatic. I dont think this is exclusive to Sen. Nuxoll.
Nuxolls message, headed, Another Reason against the State Health Insurance Exchange, said in full: The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange. Several years from now, the federal government will want nothing to do with private insurance companies. The feds will have a national system of health insurance and they will pull the trigger on the insurance companies.
Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review
PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
Burden would shift with repeal
A policy expert with the Idaho Tax Commission says ending the states tax on business equipment would force residential and commercial property owners to make up for lost revenue dedicated to public schools.
Business leaders and lobbyists have been pushing to repeal the tax that businesses and companies pay on desks, chairs and heftier items such as transmission lines and factory machinery.
The tax generates about $141 million annually and is distributed to cities, counties and public schools.
On Tuesday, Alan Dornfest, the Tax Commissions property tax policy supervisor, said the result of repealing the tax is simple: an automatic tax shift to residential and commercial property owners to make up the more than $38 million a year that goes to schools. With the exception of school districts in Lewiston and Boise, every school district in the state would be affected.
The Associated Press
Database raises privacy worries
Idahos Immunization Reminder Information System, or IRIS, tracks immunization information of anyone who receives a vaccination in the state. The system automatically records patient information and immunization records unless they or their parents choose to opt out.
A proposal presented by Dr. Christine Hahn of the Department of Health and Welfare would allow the registry to retain the names and birth dates of those who opt out to make sure medical professionals dont accidentally enter their information in the database.
The idea, Hahn said, is to protect the data being disclosed against their will. But some expressed concern that the government would use it against them. Others didnt want their names associated with a database they opt out of.
Im fearful of the ever-increasing government databases, said Ryan Carson, who said he was worried about insurance companies using the information to deny people coverage.
Melissa Davlin, Times-News
HIRE A VET
Bill would easehiring process
Democratic Sen. Brandon Durst of Boise is backing legislation to give state agencies the option to hire qualified disabled veterans without going through the normal competitive hiring process.
The Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to introduce the bill. Durst, whose district includes the Gowen Field National Guard base, said its a way for the state to help veterans reintegrate into the working world.
The Associated Press
Ed committees taking testimony
The House and Senate Education committees plan joint hearings Friday, 8 to 10:30 a.m. in the West Wing auditorium of the State Capitol building.
People are asked to have prepared statements and limit comments to three minutes.
All testimony, including longer comments, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.