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Coming Up: 

FRIDAY, April 13th:

Governor Otter will host Capital for a Day in  Declo, 9 a.m., Declo High School.
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Idaho Legislature 2018

With the Idaho Legislature's 2018 session adjourned, I took some time to thank lawmakers for approving many of my recommendations for tax relief, education, workforce development, cybersecurity and other public policy issues. Legislators focused as I did on continuing to build Idaho's economy and the prosperity of our citizens and communities.

Here are some of our successes from the 2018 legislative session.

Tax Relief:
  • Providing about $130 million in net income tax relief for Idaho residents by conforming to federal tax reforms, enhancing the nonrefundable child tax credit and lowering the State's individual and corporate tax rates. The reductions increase total tax relief throughout my tenure to about $1.6 billion.
  • Reducing the unemployment insurance tax rate on employers, saving Idaho businesses that pay into the State's unemployment insurance trust fund an estimated $115 million over the next three years, a savings of 30 percent for most employers.
  • Requiring payment of State sales tax on all internet purchases. Payment of a "use tax" has always been required but rarely enforced and never explicitly identified in Idaho Code. The change will put Idaho's brick-and-mortar retail businesses on a more level playing field with fast-growing online sales.

  • Providing over $100 million in new funding for Idaho's public schools. That included almost $42 million to continue improving teacher pay along the career ladder, $10.5 million for classroom technology, and $8 million for such post-secondary student opportunities as dual credit courses, advanced placement and career-technical exams.
  • Providing $3.5 million for the Opportunity Scholarship program, including authority to use some of the funding to help "adult completers" return to college and get an academic degree or career-technical certification.
  • Fully funding the statewide rollout of a new comprehensive reading assessment. That will provide teachers with a more robust Idaho Reading Indicator so students can get the help they need to read proficiently by the end of the third grade.
  • Funding an audit of degree programs throughout Idaho's higher education system. The system-wide review will help educators track the progress of students as they advance toward degree completion.
  • Funding a system-wide study into integrating higher education support services. The study will help identify areas in which efficiencies and improved services can be realized by consolidating certain back-office functions throughout Idaho's college and university system.
  • Funding start-up costs and ongoing operations at the new College of Eastern Idaho.
  • Providing $10 million for a new health sciences building at the College of Western Idaho.
  • Expanding criminal penalties for willful threats of violence directed at schools, facilities, buses, staff or students. Penalties also will be increased from misdemeanors to felonies if weapons are involved.
  • Requiring at least a minimum level of suicide awareness and prevention training for all public school personnel.
Healthcare :
  • Funding for the addition of three regional behavioral health crisis centers in the Lewiston, Nampa-Caldwell and Pocatello areas. The new facilities will bring the total number of crisis centers to seven, providing sites statewide to help communities more cost-effectively handle acute substance abuse or mental health crises.
  • Increasing State support for medical residency programs at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls and Bingham Internal Medicine in Blackfoot, as well for Idaho's psychiatric residency program. 
Workforce Development Council:

  • Restructuring and empowering the Workforce Development Council. The changes will make use of the Workforce Development Training Fund more employer-driven, with a focus on developing talent pipelines of skilled workers to meet the demands of Idaho's growing economy.
  • Expanding post-secondary career-technical education opportunities at Idaho's colleges, workforce development training centers and online as recommended by the Workforce Development Task Force.
Cybersecurity :
  • Restructuring the State's information technology management within the Executive Office of the Governor under the Director of Information Security. The change will bring greater efficiency and technical rigor to the State's efforts to protect the personal information of Idaho citizens.
Department of Lands:
  • Expanding the Idaho Department of Lands' ability to collaborate with the U.S. Forest Service on expediting timber management and forest health projects through federal Good Neighbor Authority.
I am very proud of the work we accomplished during the 2018 legislative session. I can say with confidence that a lot of important progress has been made since I became your Governor in how Idaho's State government does the people's business. Thank you to everyone for your continued support throughout the years, and God bless
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100th Capital for a Day

On March 16th members of my Cabinet and I traveled to the upper Panhandle community of Moyie Springs for my 100th Capital for a Day. When I first became Governor of Idaho I made a promise that Idahoans in smaller communities throughout our state would have a direct voice in their government. Our monthly Capital for a Day events are still going strong, with the next one scheduled for Friday, April 13th in Declo!   The main topics in Moyie Springs included school safety, timber regulations and water-and-sewer issues. I want to thank the City of Moyie Springs for being such gracious hosts and the local citizens for their participation in yet another successful Capital for a Day. 
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Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho Department of Administration

A New Proactive Risk Management Program
"Protecting the State of Idaho's human and physical assets"
By Faith Cox, Statewide Risk Manager

Risk Management (Risk) acts as the state's property and casualty insurance manager.  Risk was created by the Idaho Legislature to protect and conserve the state's human and physical assets. We do this by using the most cost effective blend of insurance products and self-retention. The breadth and depth of Risk's offering is substantial and reaches across all of state government.  Our covered entities are diverse in their composition of risk exposures and each has very unique concerns.  Our Risk staff is dedicated to identifying and providing effective programs to both reduce exposure to loss and to control the cost of loss .

Since 2017 we have implemented
several initiatives that will better protect the state and help us serve our agency partners .
  1. We are taking a very proactive approach to claims management.  This process allows us to better manage a claim early in the process and will help reduce the average claim cost.
  2. We have built a fully functional intranet website that allows our partners to access and view important coverage information and forms. 
  3. We are identifying issues and working with the legislature to minimize Idaho's exposure to lawsuits and appeals.
  4. We have implemented a process to appraise Idaho's building and structures which will assure we have appropriate coverage when we need to access it.
  5. We have remarketed our property insurance program and now provide better coverage to our agencies at a substantial cost savings to the state.
  6. We have implemented a new program to collect from at-fault parties that damage state property.
Over the years, I have met many dedicated and talented Idaho public servants.  This made me realize that rather than look only to outside risk management resources that we should partner with Idaho agencies and leverage our own institutional knowledge to reduce losses. An example of this effort is our free ADA training that Risk offered to all state agencies in coordination with The Office of the Attorney General. It is exciting to identify a loss trend and have the ability to leverage our own resources to mitigate future losses.  I believe in constant improvement and look forward to identifying and providing additional tools that will help preserve Idaho's assets and save our taxpayers.

Faith can be reached at 332-1871 or at    
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Recent appointments can be found on my website here.
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