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I will participate in a Student Kickoff Celebration for a new personalized mastery-based education program and an infusion of classroom technology in the Wilder School District, 9 a.m., 219 A Ave. E, Wilder.


First Lady Lori Otter attends a rally and reads a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Idaho, noon, south steps, Capitol, Boise.


I will speak at the FIRST Regional Robotics Competition, 9 a.m., Taco Bell Arena, Boise State University.

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The Year of Idaho Military Families

This month I signed a proclamation formally declaring 2016 to be The Year of Idaho Military Families. More than 500 Idaho National Guard men and women of the 124th Fighter Wing based at Gowen Field in Boise will soon depart for the Middle East. They will be deployed this spring and summer in support of the U.S.-led combat operations in southwest Asia. The mission will include multiple aircraft, pilots, maintenance personnel, security forces, medical personnel and various other support staff. Deployments typically last up to 180 days. While they are away from home their families will remain here offering care and support for them while they defend our nation.

I want to encourage our citizens to take a moment to recognize the invaluable contributions made every day by the families of our men and women in uniform. These families are routinely asked to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden, under extremely adverse and demanding circumstances, all in an effort to keep our country safe. As a society, we should never forget that this hazardous duty takes a toll not just on the man or woman in uniform, but on their family as well. For their service and sacrifice, I wish to extend the humble thanks of a grateful state.
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Sine Die 2016

With the 2016 session of the Idaho Legislature adjourned, I took some time this week to thank lawmakers for approving many of my recommendations aimed at improving public schools for Idaho children and enhancing career training for Idaho workers. Even where we disagreed on some details, I found a constructive response from the Legislature on what should be a top priority for all of us - educating our citizens to compete and thrive here at home and in the global economy. Our K-through-Career investments, our striving for higher classroom and workplace goals and our focus on continuing to improve our education system at all levels are paying off. If sustained, they will continue to benefit the people of Idaho for years to come.

Here are some of our successes from the 2016 legislative session.
K -12 Task Force Recommendations
  • Funding the career ladder: $42 million. This fiscal year 2017 allocation is in addition to a continuing annual appropriation of $16.1 million for the educator leadership premiums portion of the "career ladder" advancement program for Idaho public school teachers, which was enacted with an initial investment of $33.5 million last year.
  • Restoring operational or "discretionary" funding: $31.3 million. This fully restores discretionary funding for school districts to fiscal 2009 level in three years rather than the five years recommended by the Task Force for Improving Education.
  • Advancing literacy: $9.1 million. This implements a Task Force recommendation to support increased intervention for struggling readers in kindergarten through third grades. In addition, legislative budget writers directed that $2.1 million in existing funds be used for K-3 reading intervention.
  • Improving college and career counseling: $5 million. New funding was approved to help school districts implement innovative advising models that best fit their needs. More and better advising is critical to increasing the number of Idaho high school graduates who pursue a postsecondary education.
  • Teacher professional development: $2.375 million. New funding was allocated to cover the local costs of on-the-job teacher professional development and collaboration, with a focus on mentoring new teachers. The additional funding brings the continuing annual investment in professional development for teachers to $16.4 million.
  • Classroom technology: $5 million. The additional funding for classroom technology brings the continuing annual support level to $18 million.
  • Statewide Wi-Fi services: $2.1 million.  The one-time investment will support expansion and maintenance of wireless broadband Internet infrastructure for school districts and charter schools.
  • Mastery-based system planning and assessments: $1 million. A second year of funding was approved to continue development of a mastery-based education system. The new allocation brings ongoing annual funding to $1.4 million to support pilot programs in up to 20 schools or school districts in fiscal 2017.
Higher Education
  • Career and Technical Education postsecondary expansion: $3.8 million. This will build training capacity at Idaho's six colleges and universities with technical programs aimed at producing more graduates in such high-demand career fields as health care, information technology, mechatronics and transportation.
  • Opportunity Scholarship: $5 million. This new annual appropriation will result in total available funding of almost $10.2 million, enabling the award of 1,825 new scholarships at $3,000 each and 1,572 renewals at $3,000 each.
  • Community college startup: $5 million. This one-time transfer to the Higher Education Stabilization Fund would provide startup funding if a new community college district is approved by voters in eastern Idaho.
  • Complete College Idaho: $2.6 million. This appropriation provides ongoing support for work at all eight public higher education institutions toward achieving the goal of at least 60 percent of Idahoans ages 25-34 having a college degree or post-secondary professional or technical certification by 2020.
  • Idaho National Laboratory-Boise State University Cybersecurity Program: $1 million. This funding will support development of a cybersecurity lab at Boise State in collaboration with experts at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory.     
  • WWAMI: $278,900. Additional funding for the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) regional medical education program will help pay for up to 40 Idaho seats starting next fall, fulfilling a State Board of Education recommendation.   
Additional Education Highlights
  • Advancing science, technology, engineering and math or STEM education: An allocation of $1.5 million in ongoing funding and an additional $500,000 in one-time funding for the STEM Action Center.
  • Boosting targeted STEM initiatives: A one-time $2 million transfer to the new STEM Education Fund to support startup STEM education programs and projects throughout Idaho, including a new K-through-career computer science initiative.
  • Creating the Office of School Safety within the Division of Building Safety: $270,000. This builds on existing efforts to assess public school safety and security throughout Idaho. The new office will leverage an existing $300,000 in the School Security Assessment Fund for a total allocation of $570,000.
Legislators also agreed to provide more cost-effective and responsive community-based care for those with acute substance abuse or mental health challenges. I asked for funding to open one more behavioral health crisis center in southern Idaho to join those opened last year in Coeur d'Alene and the year before in Idaho Falls. However, lawmakers this session allocated funding for two centers - one in southwestern Idaho and one in the Magic Valley.

And consistent with my Executive Budget recommendation, the Legislature appropriated $5.5 million for the Public Defense Commission to advance efforts to reform Idaho's constitutionally deficient public defense system. Grants from that funding will pay for counties to raise standards for public defenders representing indigent defendants.
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Mission 43 Proclamation
On Tuesday, March 15th I was able to visit Boise State University for the launch of Mission 43, a new initiative from the J.A & Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Mission 43 will help Idaho's Post 9/11 veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life by creating an ecosystem that educates, connects, employs these brave men and women. Mission 43 also will collaborate with NGO's like Wyakin Warrior; Team Red, White, and Blue; Hire Heroes USA; and Team Rubicon. These organizations are tasked to work collaboratively to influence the way Post 9/11 veterans are served, supported and equipped for leadership in their careers and communities. They are also tasked with helping veterans transition from government assistance to self-sufficiency.

I was honored to present a proclamation at the event recognizing the start of this invaluable first step for Mission 43's goal to take care of Idaho's 9/11 veterans.
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Meritorious Service Medal Presentation
On Tuesday March 22nd I was honored to present two medals to Idaho legislators recognizing the hard work they have accomplished for our military. Senator Todd Lakey(R) Nampa and Representative James Holtzclaw(R) Meridian went beyond the call of duty by working to pass 2015's House Bill 53 into law. This bill updated the Idaho Code of Military Justice for the first time in 40 years, brought uniformity to the code, and helped fill some gaps with the current law. The Senator and Representative were instrumental in its passage. I was pleased to sign it into law near the close of the 2015 Legislative Session. Their candidacy for these medals was recommended by the Idaho Military Division's two JAG Officers, LTC Paul Boice and CPT Stephen Stokes.
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Hecla Mining Company's 125th Anniversary
2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the Hecla Mining Company - A cornerstone of Idaho's northern economy for five generations! Near the start of the year I signed a proclamation recognizing 2016 as the anniversary, and on Wednesday March 16th I was able to present that proclamation to a luncheon of leaders from Hecla and other companies from across Idaho. Hecla and Idaho have grown together and have overcome many challenges as we have adapted to the ever changing world of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It is rare and wonderful to see a company that was started before the invention of the airplane still retain its pioneering spirit. It is a result of the great people who have managed Hecla for so many years, creating a corporate culture that's enriched by the miners, engineers, administrators and Hecla families. I was honored to be a part of the 125th Hecla mining celebration and want to thank everyone who helped us celebrate the occasion.
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Consul Meetings with Canada and Hong Kong
On March 15th I met with Canadian Consul General James K. Hill while he was in town to participate in the annual "Canada Days" in cooperation with Boise State's Canadian Studies Program. I welcomed Consul General Hill to discuss Idaho and Canada's relations in trade, agriculture, tourism and education. Representatives from the Idaho Department of Commerce and Idaho Department of Agriculture were also present at this meeting to discuss the positive economic relationships we share with their nation. I enjoyed visiting with the Consul General about the economic importance of our long standing relationship. Doing business with our neighbor to the north is imperative to Idaho's long time business with Canada and the sister-state agreement with Alberta has strengthened our trade relations for the past 16 years.

Additionally, Lt. Governor Little had the opportunity to meet with Hong Kong Commissioner Clement Leung. Representatives from the Idaho Department of Agriculture and the Idaho Department of Commerce also attended the meeting to discuss the strengthening of relations between Hong Kong and Idaho (Hong Kong is Idaho's 10th biggest export market). 
It was great to have these delegations from both of these nations visit the capitol and talk about the trade and economic relationships that we share. I want to thank everyone who joined these visits for an important discussion and thank you to our guests for taking the time to visit the state of Idaho!
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First Lady's Focus: Idaho State Historical Museum Renovation
As a former educator I have a passion for education , and I am thrilled that the Legislature has embraced the Governor's recommended budget for the Idaho State Historical Society and the legacy project of its new State Historical Museum. Our new State Historical Museum will create an essential resource for education, contribute to tourism and our economy, and build a sense of Idaho pride.
First Lady Lori Otter at the Educators Outreach Presentation Survey for the renovated museum.
The renovations are rapidly moving forward with building plans complete and bidding early next month for an early summer groundbreaking that we will share with the public.
The heart of the new State Historical Museum will be extraordinary experiential exhibitions. The Historical Society visited with tribal leaders and traveled the state from corner to corner gaining your input on exhibits and how to tell our Idaho story. I was honored to welcome over thirty teachers to an education summit. We engaged teachers from all disciplines and grade levels to ensure that the new State Historical Museum exhibitions and programming are not only invaluable to education, but a resource they helped shape.

This is the first major renovation of the State Historical Museum since 1982. Funding for this initiative is a public-private partnership between the state of Idaho and generous donors. The Foundation for Idaho History ( ) is spearheading the $4 million dollar private fundraising campaign with the state investing $12.9 million for this once in a generation project.

I hope you will join the Governor and me in our support of this inspiring resource for families, teachers, and tourists to showcase our great state and rich history.

If you're interested in getting a sneak peak of our amazing project, the Idaho State Historical Society is offering tours until construction begins. To set up a tour, please contact Ryan Gerulf at or by phone at 208-514-2310.

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Spotlight Agency: Idaho Department of Finance
Department of Finance Overview
The Idaho Department of Finance traces its roots back to 1905 when it was created as the State Banking Department, which administered only one law, the Idaho Bank Act, and regulated a total of 61 banks. In its first year, the Department collected fees totaling $2,584.50. Today, 111 years later, the Department administers 23 financial service laws which govern the banking, consumer finance, credit union, mortgage, securities, and other industries. Today, the Department regulates over 175,000 financial service businesses and professionals who conduct business in Idaho and reside in Idaho, every other state and 23 foreign countries. Last year, the Department, a dedicated fund agency, collected licensing fees and other revenues from its regulated businesses totaling $12,984,465.00

Financial Literacy Initiatives
In addition to its mission to promote access to healthy and comprehensive financial services for Idahoans through effective oversight of state-licensed financial service providers, the Department also works with its many private and public sector partners to provide financial education to Idahoans of all ages to enhance Idahoans' financial literacy. Some of the programs the Department sponsors in this effort include America Saves Week, Military Saves Week, Senior Scam Jams, Smart Women, Smart Money conferences, Bank on Treasure Valley and National Cyber Security Awareness Month. 
Smart Women, Smart Money Conference 
Financial Literacy Month
One of the longest running programs strongly supported by Governor Otter will be the 18th Annual Idaho Financial Literacy Month, April 1-30. Every year, Governor Otter signs a proclamation declaring April as Financial Literacy Month and a host of private sector and public organizations partner to celebrate the month with a variety of free educational seminars, programs, youth piggy bank contests and more. This year for Financial Literacy Month, the Department will be co-sponsoring with other private and public sector organizations the Idaho Financial Education Summit, where officers and employees involved with the financial sector will be trained in more effective methods of delivering financial education to enhance financial literacy. Also in April and May, there will be two Department co-sponsored Senior Scam Jams in McCall and Coeur d'Alene to educate seniors and all consumers on the latest financial scams and how to avoid them. The Department will also be participating in other presentations and seminars throughout April and offering weekly Financial Literacy Tips of the Week to help educate Idahoans about current financial trends and how to avoid fraud. For a list of Financial Literacy Month activities and other information, please check out the Department's website at  
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Behavioral Health Planning Council    
Susan Kay Hepworth - Pocatello

Occupational Therapy Licensure Board       
Diann Davis Martin - Boise

Serve Idaho
Patricia Eriksen - Soda Springs