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Coming Up: 
April 6th   Governor Otter will  proclaim
 the Idaho Crime Victims' Rights Week
at 10:00 a.m. in the Ceremonial Office.   

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2017 Legislative Session Wrap-up

It was an eventful and in many ways productive 2017 session for the Idaho Legislature. I spoke to the news media on Monday, April 3rd, about my impressions of lawmakers' work this year. I gave them an "A" for continuing to invest wisely in improvements to our Idaho public schools but an "Incomplete" for some of the Legislature's other efforts. Beyond funding the third year of our five-year plan for improving education, some of the session's highlights included providing $50 million to address winter weather-related damage throughout Idaho, improving the regulatory structure for Idaho's emerging oil and gas industry, providing funds for enhancing Idaho's efforts to prevent an infestation of invasive quagga and zebra mussels, a 50-percent increase in funding for protection of sage-grouse, and providing additional funding to support behavioral health crisis centers in Twin Falls and Boise. There was some work left undone as well and I look forward to working with lawmakers in the interim to address those challenges in Legislature's 2018 session.   
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F-35 Campaign

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and I led a team of Idaho officials to Washington, D.C., March 21-23 to meet with military leaders and members of Idaho's congressional delegation about basing a squadron of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters at Boise's Gowen Field. The A-10 "Warthog" aircraft could be facing retirement from the Pentagon's arsenal, and the Idaho Air National Guard may soon need a new flying mission. The F-35 fits the bill and Gowen Field is among five finalists for two bases to receive the state-of-the-art fighters. Boise is also the only one of the five finalists in the West. We were very encouraged by the military's response to our presentation, focusing on Boise's long history of support for America's military forces as well as our great facilities, terrain, airspace and advanced training opportunities so nearby at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Basing an F-35 unit at Gowen Field is critically important for southwestern Idaho's economy and we're counting on continued community support to help carry the day. 

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Cabinet Member Meetings

While I was in Washington, D.C., to lobby for basing a squadron of F-35 fighters in Idaho, I had the chance to meet with three members of President Trump's Cabinet. It gave me the opportunity to advocate for a more collaborative relationship between the federal government and states like Idaho, especially when it comes to such natural resource issues as environmental protection and wildlife management. I had very cordial and productive meetings with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Administrator Pruitt assured me that the EPA under President Trump won't be standing in the way of Idaho's own efforts to protect our state's air, water and land. He said the EPA will work with the State of Idaho to improve federal permitting processes while safeguarding Idaho's natural resources. It's an exciting change from the Obama administration and I'm optimistic about a greater degree of self-determination and regulatory moderation coming out of the nation's capital. 

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Hansen Hosts the 91st Capital for a Day

I held my 91st Capital for a Day on Friday, March 17th, in the Twin Falls county community of Hansen. I'd like to thank the folks at Hansen High School for hosting the event as well as local residents for coming out to participate in our open discussion. As with many cities across Idaho, Hansen is facing a number of challenges from this past winter's record-breaking storms. Heavy snow accumulation caused extensive flood damage to many area farms. I was joined at Capital for a Day by members of my Cabinet as we listened to local citizens express their concerns about the destruction and the need for more state assistance. We fielded some great questions, and I know our day in Hansen helped ease some people's concerns. Overall it was another successful Capital for a Day and I appreciate Hansen's hospitality. 

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Idaho Workers' Compensation Centennial

On March 16th I was joined by members of the Idaho Industrial Commission as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Idaho Workers' Compensation Act. Governor Moses Alexander signed legislation into law in 1917 establishing the Idaho Industrial Accident Board, now known as the Idaho Industrial Commission. It codified a compromise between labor and management that became known as the "grand bargain." The system helped protect both workers and business owners by addressing the impacts of workplace injuries and illnesses. A century later, workers' compensation is still based on the core principles of fairness, compromise and cooperation that were outlined in the grand bargain. My congratulations to today's Idaho Industrial Commission for helping to carry on that legacy for a new generation of Idaho workers and businesses. 
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Meeting with Trade Officials

It was a pleasure to sit down with the Canadian trade commissioners during their visit to Boise on March 16th. I was joined by my secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce in working to strengthen trade relations with our neighbor to the north. We had a very productive and informative discussion on our respective national trade policies, the goods and services that are already part of our trade relationship and areas for potential growth. It will be interesting to see how things evolve as President Trump seeks renegotiation and reform of the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. But I'm optimistic that Canada will continue to be one of our most important trading partners. 

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First Lady Focus 

Mark your calendars for the annual United Way Children's Book Drive taking place April 10-14 throughout the state of Idaho!
United Way of Treasure Valley is hosting its third annual Children's Book Drive. It kicked off on Saturday, April 1st, at the Barnes and Noble in Boise. The children's book drive is an important fundraiser because it encourages and provides resources for kids to read over the summer. That's when low-income students can regress in their reading achievement.
According to the Idaho Department of Education, 81 percent of low-income kindergarteners were reading at grade level in the spring of 2013. But when they returned to school in the fall, only 56 percent were reading at grade level.
Last year the United Way collected more than 70,000 books. This year we're aiming for more! Many Treasure Valley residents will be able to bring books directly to their workplace since dozens of companies have agreed to host donation boxes. And every Albertsons store throughout the Treasure Valley is hosting drop-off bins.
For a complete list of drop-off locations and more information about the book drive, please visit

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Agency Spotlight: 
The Idaho State Historical Society

The Idaho State Historical Society is a trusted guide through the state's history and how it has shaped every aspect of our lives - our land, our communities, our government and our people.  Created in 1881 and established as a state agency in 1907, the Idaho State Historical Society is an extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources comprised of the Idaho State Historical Museum, Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, and Historic Sites Program.
The Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) was established in 1971 as a result of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  The National Historic Preservation Act was passed to ensure the stewardship of our irreplaceable heritage which is vital to maintain and enrich our cultural, historical and educational experiences for ourselves and future generations. The SHPO does this work with a professional staff from the fields of archaeology, architectural history, history, and historic preservation and through grant funding from the National Parks Service, dynamic programming, and a focus on community partnerships. Some examples of the Idaho SHPO's work are:

In 2013 the SHPO received a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program to conduct a new archeological investigation at the Bear River Massacre National Historic Landmark in Idaho. Working in partnership with the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and local land owners, the SHPO is building new knowledge and insight for this historic landmark.

This work has built a better understanding of the boundaries of the battlefield and the winter village where the massacre occurred. The National Park Service will rely on these findings in developing long term plans for the preservation of the site. Most importantly, this project provides new research and knowledge to commemorate this site and its historical significance to the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. 

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Endowment Fund Investment Board     
Jerry Aldape - Boise                                 
Idaho Code Commission                   
Jill Holinka - Boise

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