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Coming Up:

TUESDAY, APRIL 12 

I will speak at the Annual Idaho Liquor Division Statewide Meeting, 12:00 p.m., Riverside Hotel, 2900 West Chinden Blvd, Boise. 

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ISU Launches Tuition Lock Pilot 


One of the items identified in my State of the State address last January highlighted the need to make higher education more affordable and accessible for our citizens. Indeed , if we are to achieve our goal of having 60% of our population ages 25-34 with a college degree or a two year technical certificate by 2020, finding ways to increase those numbers should be a top priority. Part of my plan to help Idaho achieve that goal is a program called TuitionLock. Simply put, it would freeze tuition for incoming freshm en through their senior year provided they finish within those four years and keep their grades up. It would offer financial predictability for families planning for college while providing a financial incentive for students to finish up on time. It isn't a new idea; in fact , some other states already have similar programs that are successful. But the Idaho Legislature reviewed my proposal this year and decided they needed more information.

Enter Idaho State University. They stepped up big-time this past week, when ISU President Arthur Vailas announced that the Bengals would launch a pilot project in an effort to show how such a program would work at the university level, benefit our students and help us achieve our higher education goals. I want to salute Dr. Vailas and his team for helping to make this happen. It is my sincere hope that this pilot will give lawmakers the information they need when this idea returns for their consideration. I also think it holds great promise for our other four -year colleges to replicate this idea on their campuses once the ISU pilot data has been thoroughly analyzed and reviewed.
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The Future Begins Now at Wilder School District

On Wednesday , March 30th , I traveled to the Wilder School district to join its faculty and students for the kickoff celebration of "The Future Begins Now" technology program. This program - which is made possible with an Apple ConnectED grant - is designed to offer a personalized , mastery-based education for K-12 students that provide s autonomy and ownership over their education goals. This allows the students that are more advanced an avenue to push ahead in their studies, while also providing one-on-one support for students in need of additional assistance. I cannot wait to see the results of this great opportunity.
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Idaho FIRST Robotics Regional Competition
 
On Saturday , April 2nd , I was invited to speak at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Boise State University. Following my remarks , I was able to meet some of the students competing at the event and see the innovative ideas that they brought to FIRST.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST engages kids from kindergarten through high school in research and robotics programs that help them become well-rounded contributors to society.

This is the inaugural FIRST Robotics Tournament for Idaho. This year's competition had 14 Idaho teams competing and 15 teams from other states -- California, Oregon, Texas and Minnesota. The STEM Action Center gave $50,000 to support this event and $15,000 in travel grants for the six Idaho teams outside of the Treasure Valley to attend. Boise School District's Team Tators won the competition and will travel to St. Louis for the FIRST Championship competition at the end of the month.
 
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Meeting with Shoshone-Paiute Tribe
 
I traveled to visit the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe on Wednesday April 6th to meet with the Tribal Business Council and their Chairman Lindsey Manning. It was a great meeting that provided us an opportunity to speak about economic development and education with the tribe. During the visit we also toured the new Tribal Council Chambers and speak with multiple tribe leaders. Meetings like this one are a great example of the importance of keeping the lines of communication open between Idaho government and the Native American tribes throughout our state. Thank you very much to everyone who met with me and thank you to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe for hosting the visit.
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Eagle Island State Park Gets a New Entrance
  
I was thrilled this week to cut the ribbon on a brand new entrance to the Eagle Island State Park in Eagle. The new entrance to the Park is on Highway 44 or State Street. The physical address for the new location is 165 South Eagle Island Parkway. This new entrance should make it easier and more convenient for people entering the park while providing some beautiful scenery to help make our citizen's visit more enjoyable. This entrance has been a work in progress for some time. My deep thanks to Idaho Department of Park and Recreation (IDPR) Director David Langhorst, his team and former IDPR Director Nancy Merrill for making it a reality.
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Idaho Forest Group Conference
 
On Tuesday March 29th I traveled to Coeur d'Alene to join Jim Ogsbury of the Western Governors' Association at the Annual Idaho Forest Group Conference for an open panel discussion. It was great speaking with Jim as I was able to share my thoughts coming out of the legislative session. We did a lot of great work on our K-Career goals and workforce development, and Jim allowed me an opportunity to speak to those issues with the audience. He also used the occasion to ask me about the wildfires that our state faces annually, and the work we put into funding the response and recovery of those natural disasters. I appreciate being invited to speak on the panel, and thank everyone who joined us for the discussion.
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Agency Spotlight: Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security
 
Idahoans pride themselves on being self-sufficient.  When disasters and emergencies happen, everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets to work. We've seen this in last summer's wildfires, winter windstorms and landslides this spring.  As Governor of this great state it is imperative to me that we have well-tested systems in place to respond and recover quickly from events when they happen.  This is a team effort across many organizations and levels of government, and the agency focusing those efforts is the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. In the complex world we live in the field of emergency management is evolving.  IBHS is keeping pace by working to keep Idaho progressing with new communications technology for emergency responders, and making sure cybersecurity is a practice that can be followed by all.

In order to keep Idaho at the cutting edge of emergency preparedness, the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security is focusing on these projects. 

Cascadia Rising 2016

Geologic experts say the seaboard of Washington and Oregon has a fault line that could fail in our lifetime.  Thankfully Idaho is out of the expected impact area, but we want to make sure we'd be able to support our neighbors should that earthquake happen.  To that end we're participating in a significant 3 state exercise this spring.  IBHS is working with nine northern Idaho counties, the Department of Health and Welfare, all seven Idaho Public Health Districts, as well as Oregon and Washington in a functional exercise to test our response to an earthquake and tsunami along the western seaboard. To read about the Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise, the Cascadia Subduction Zone and how Idaho would be affected please visit
www.bhs.idaho.gov  
Cyber Security
IBHS is an important contributor to the Idaho Cybersecurity Cabinet Taskforce, created by my executive order in July of 2015.  This team's work includes identifying and detecting threats to the State's technology systems, creating an Idaho Cyber Defense Response Team, and recommending best practices to state and local governments for the security of their systems and information. The second annual Cyber-Security Summit was hosted this year by Saint Alphonsus, who's agreed to host it again next year. 

Public Safety Technologies
With the migration of the public safety community to new technologies like text-to-911 and wireless data systems, IBHS has been doing its part to keep Idaho on the cutting edge of technology.   Statewide consultations and summits have been held to set the long term strategic direction of technology oversight and planning.   The six District Interoperability Governance Boards across the state, made up of the practitioners of emergency communications in each district, have been important voices in these discussions.  I'm looking forward to more great work by these groups to make sure Idaho's first responder community received the support it deserves. 

Working with the Private Sector
IBHS recognizes the important contributions the private sector has to this state, and has taken great steps toward incorporating them into emergency preparedness and response.  For example, northern Idaho's utility infrastructure took a hit from back to back storms this winter.  IBHS was able to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide financial relief to the private non-profit utilities who had spent millions restoring power to their service areas.  Building those relationships before events happen pays dividends when they do.