Wednesday, January 8, 2014

'Nothing happens until people start talking'

City Club hosted the Idaho Political
Pundits' Predictions today at the
Boise Centre.
The City Club of Boise featured three area reporters today at the Boise Centre for the Idaho Political Pundits' Predictions event - John Miller of the Associated Press, Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman and Betsy Z. Russell of the Spokesman-Review.

Moderator Jim Weatherby took questions from the audience asking for the reporters' opinions concerning whether lawmakers would be considering same-sex marriage, Medicaid expansion, decriminalization of marijuana and more.

Here's a quick list of questions asked today:

- Is Idaho's public defender system broken?
Russell said the state has come under fire for it's poor public defender system, saying some have said the system is "nearly unconstitutional." Groups have come together to attempt to aid the problem, but Russell said the gains of those are incredibly incremental, and may not be sufficient any time soon.

- Will there be a separate CEC for teachers, and are teachers even being considered in the CEC?
It's clear that the governor isn't interested in a wage increase this year, and that includes for teachers. Russell brought up an interesting fact - Idaho law demands the state offer competitive wages despite times of economic downturn. She said that fact has largely been ignored as state wages have suffered. More information on CEC items to come following the end of the forum Friday.

More questions from today coming later this afternoon...

One of the largest questions at the forum consisted of this: Will lawmakers avoid hot-button issues in efforts to speed up the session to get home and start campaigning, while also avoid conflict thus avoid losing popularity? 

Well, that question is on everyone's mind, and many seem to understand that the session itself might truly suffer because of the upcoming election. More will come.

Find more information on the City Club here.

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