Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
The Idaho Legislature’s Legislative Council met Tuesday to appoint legislators to the bipartisan committee that oversees the independent Office of Performance Evaluations.
The meeting and appointments were significant because the Republican-controlled Idaho House of Representatives voted to eliminate the bipartisan Joint Legislative Oversight Committee when it passed House Bill 68 early last month. However, that bill stalled after passing out of the Idaho House and has yet to advance to the Senate floor for a vote.
Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said last week at a meeting with the Idaho press corps that there is not yet enough support on the Senate side to pass the bill as written.
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House Bill 68 would have shifted oversight of the Office of Performance Evaluations away from the bipartisan Joint Legislative Oversight Committee and given that authority to the Legislative Council, which is controlled by Republican leaders who hold a supermajority in the Idaho Legislature.
Instead, the Legislative Council appointed eight members — four Republicans and four Democrats — to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Tuesday. Legislators who will serve on the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee are Sens. Scott Grow, R-Eagle; Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls; Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise; James Ruchti, D-Pocatello; and Reps. David Cannon, R-Blackfoot; Douglas T. Pickett, R-Oakley; Ilana Rubel, D-Boise; and Steve Berch, D-Boise.
Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities advocate for release of direct care workforce report
The appointments also appear to clear the way for the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee to meet and accept a planned report on the direct care workforce in home and community-based services. Since February, members of the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities have been writing letters asking legislators to allow the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee to meet and accept the report.
“The findings and recommendations will help move our state forward to address this crisis for people with disabilities, families and the direct care workforce paid for through the home and community based services program,” members of the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities wrote in a Feb. 24 letter to legislators.
The letter states that there are 33,000 people with disabilities and seniors in Idaho who rely on the direct care workforce.
“This report will provide Idaho lawmakers with data and recommendations needed to further analyze and implement report recommendations with stakeholders ensuring that seniors and people with disabilities have access to the services and supports necessary to remain in their homes across Idaho communities large and small,” the Feb. 24 letter continued.
During the luncheon with the press corps last week, Speaker of the House Mike Moyle, R-Star, said the Legislative Council needed to make appointments to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee in order for the committee to be able to meet to accept the report, which has been completed but not released.
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