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Staff Sergeant David Jensen Idaho Cross Presentation 

On February 9th I presented Idaho Air National Guard Staff Sgt. David J. Jensen with the Idaho Cross for his selfless and heroic acts. Staff Sgt. Jensen distinguished himself last December 4th when he stopped to help the victim of a rollover car accident near Grasmere, Idaho. After a quick analysis he identified life-threatening injuries and administered first aid, stabilizing the victim until paramedics arrived. Staff Sgt. Jensen's actions reflect great credit to himself, the Idaho Air Guard, and our great state.
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Idaho Office of Drug Policy Honored
The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) has named Idaho's Office of Drug Policy (ODP) its 2016 Outstanding State Member. This prestigious award recognizes an outstanding state program that's making significant contributions to community-based drug prevention coalitions in their state. It recognizes programs that support CADCA's mission of creating safe, healthy and drug-free communities. Idaho ODP accepted its award during CADCA's 26th annual National Leadership Forum in Maryland. I'm proud of the work that ODP has done to achieve this recognition, and I appreciate all that Administrator Elisha Figueroa and her team do to make Idaho communities safer, healthier and drug-free!
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Idaho Press Club Legislative Meeting
It was a spirited hour-long discussion with the Idaho Press Club this week. I was invited to discuss my legislative agenda and issues of interest with reporters and reporters as the 2016 legislative session picks up steam. Press Club members on hand found plenty of topics to ask me about and I enjoyed the give and take. We discussed health care, my "K-through-career" proposals for public schools and higher education, as well as job creation and economic growth. I also took the opportunity to announce that I've asked legislative leaders to form an interim committee to look into a troubling report from my Children-At-Risk Task Force.

You can listen to some of my answers here.
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Idaho Association of Counties Midwinter Legislative Conference
I spoke on Wednesday February 3rd at the Idaho Association of Counties' Midwinter Legislative Conference in Garden City. It was a great chance to speak directly with county leaders from across Idaho about their concerns with the State's public defense system, the Idaho Primary Care Access Program, tax relief proposals and local urban renewal efforts. I thanked the county officials for their interest and support for our monthly Capital for a Day visits. And I told them how much I appreciate their timely and effective work with my office when such community crises as wildfires, floods and windstorms prompt us to issue disaster and emergency declarations. Thank you to all the local leaders for joining me for this discussion and for all the hard work you do for our citizens throughout Idaho.
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Idaho Farm Bureau Legislative Conference
On February 9th I spoke at the Idaho Farm Bureau's annual Legislative Conference in Garden City. I talked with agriculture leaders about issues ranging from sage-grouse and wildfires to the court fight over federal designation of "Waters of the United States" and grizzly bear delisting. I appreciate the Farm Bureau for giving me the chance to speak about these important resource issues with some of the men and women who have the most at stake in improving access and multi-use of our public lands. They understand the meaning of "stewardship," and I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with them directly.
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Coffee with the Governor
Early on the morning on February 3rd I hosted my first 2016 Coffee with the Governor event in the Legislative Dining Room at the Capitol. I started this event last year to give our legislators and agency leaders an opportunity to meet with each other, lobbyists, my staff and me in an informal setting to talk about the issues we all face this session. It enables our state leaders to discuss issues that we might not get the opportunity to address in the office or during committee meetings. This year's event was a great success, and I am grateful to everyone who came out to visit with me and my staff.
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First Lady's Focus: Girl Scout Cookie Program

Girl Scouts provides a K-12 experiential educational curriculum designed to build leaders who exhibit courage, confidence and character, and who make the world a better place. To that end, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience provides supplemental education in areas which help girls reach their full potential in school, their careers and in the community. Girl Scouts provides girls with extensive experiences in STEM, financial literacy, business, teamwork, community service and leadership.

The Girl Scout Cookie program began in 1917 when girls made and sold cookies to support the war effort. The Cookie Entrepreneur program is the largest youth entrepreneurship program on the planet, with direct instruction in financial literacy and experiential learning tied to age-appropriate achievement badges in goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics tied to creating short-term micro-economies. Girls use money raised - called "Cookie Dough" - to fund participation in Girl Scouts, paying for membership, badges, books, camp attendance, troop activities, community service and participating in national and international travel programs. The Cookie Entrepreneur program gives girls a lesson in financial stewardship and the importance of learning to pay their own way to participate.  

With the exception of the cost of goods and taxes, 100 percent of cookie sales proceeds is either returned to girls and troops or put back into providing member programs, training and activities, as well as financial aid to low-income girls to participate in Girl Scouts. We have seen an increase in the number of girls receiving financial aid, with up to 24 percent of our girls receiving some form of financial assistance. No proceeds go to external organizations or to the national Girl Scouts organization.
Idaho is one of only two states that charges sales tax on the Cookie Entrepreneur program. Annual state taxes on this financial literacy program amount to about $152,000 . Removing the sales tax would enable the local Girls Scouts Council to use the money it retains to replace old facilities and equipment, improve outdoor programs and camp properties, and improve the technology used to support our volunteer base. This year we will begin replacing an antiquated shower house at a camp property with a shower that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing access for our disabled members.

Idaho's approximately 50,000 Boy Scouts are joining in the request for tax relief. They participate in an annual popcorn sales program which - like the Girl Scout program - helps teach financial literacy and business skills while providing the opportunity for Scouts to pay their own way. Eliminating the sales tax on those popcorn sales would mean approximately $70,000 being returned to Boy Scout programs and properties.
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Spotlight Agency: Idaho Industrial Commission Crime Victims Program
The Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP) at the Idaho Industrial Commission has assisted approximately 40,000 victims since its inception in 1986. The program also actively pursues restitution for crime-related costs. Currently 7,642 victims are actively receiving services from the program. In order to assist these victims, CVCP's funding sources include criminal fines, federal funds, restitution from offenders and donations. Donations are very important in efforts to keep serving these vulnerable members of the Idaho community.

The Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI) made the decision to split donations received from a recent pizza fundraiser between CVCP and the Special Olympics program. Deputy Warden Garrett Coburn said CVCP was chosen due to the close tie between the clients served by the program and the Idaho Department of Correction's (IDOC) offender population.

CVCP Bureau Chief George Gutierrez said the program works with IDOC in two ways.

"First we are working cooperatively with Probation and Parole officers regarding outstanding restitution debt for those who are on probation and parole," Gutierrez said. CVCP also works on collection of restitution from incarcerated inmates. All the money collected goes into the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
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Aeronautics Advisory Board
Dan Scott - McCall
Developmental Disabilities Council
James Steed - Blackfoot
Dr. Julie Fodor - Moscow
Economic Advisory Council
Stephen Meyer - Hayden Lake
Food Quality Assurance Institute
Terry Patterson - Twin Falls
Frank Muir - Eagle
Health Quality Planning Commission -
Dr. John Rusche - Lewiston
State Insurance Fund Board
Rep. Terry Gestrin - Donnelly
2nd District Magistrates Commission
Mayor Norm Steadman - Weippe
3rd District Magistrates Commission
Mayor Bob Henry - Nampa
Mayor Alicia Mora Almazan - Wilder
7th District Magistrates Commission
Mayor Paul Loomis - Blackfoot
PNWER Idaho Council
Sen. Curt McKenzie - Nampa
Lt. Gov. Brad Little - Emmett
John Chatburn - Boise
Pardons & Parole Commission
Janie Dressen - Coeur d'Alene
Cortney Dennis - Emmett
Pea & Lentil Commission
Dirk Hammond - Kendrick
Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council
Rep. Robert Anderst - Nampa
Sexual Offender Management Board
Jeffrey Betts - Boise
Idaho Transportation Board
Jan Vassar - Lewiston
Workplace Development Council
CWI Pres. Bert Glandon - Eagle
Marianne Kaufmann - Lewiston
Jan Nielsen - Rexburg