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Coming Up: 

FRIDAY, March 16th:

Governor Otter will host Capital for a Day in  Moyie Springs, 9 a.m., Moyie Springs City Hall.
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Unemployment Tax Relief
I asked the Idaho Legislature to make it "Job One" for the 2018 session, and I'm happy to say they listened! My bill providing Idaho employers with $115 million in relief from higher unemployment insurance taxes over the next three years quickly passed both the House and Senate, and I was pleased to sign it into law. Legislators and industry leaders joined me for a signing ceremony at the Capitol. The measure will mean average unemployment tax reductions of up to 30 percent for most employers. I proposed the same bill last year, but it got caught up in end-of-session wrangling and didn't get a vote. This year was different, and I'm grateful to everyone who made this commonsense proposal a reality. Great work!  
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99th Capital for a Day

Members of my Cabinet and I traveled to the Bingham County community of Firth on February 28th for my 99th Capital for a Day. I'd like to thank the city officials who made us welcome and all the local residents who came out to express their concerns and viewpoints on issues of the day. Some of the main topics included improving education in Idaho's rural areas, how to make schools safe from gun violence, tax relief and the status of Idaho's pioneering healthcare initiatives. It was an exciting day of sharing ideas and solutions, reflecting the great success of our Capital for a Day program. I'll continue reaching out to Idaho's smaller and remote communities with my 100th Capital for a Day later this month.    
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Idaho Press Club

This year is seeing a series of "lasts" for me as Idaho's Governor. One of those "lasts" came on February 15th when I spent an hour answering questions from reporters at the annual Idaho Press Club legislative breakfast in downtown Boise. It was a stimulating give-and-take with members of Idaho's news media on issues ranging from my higher education priorities and the Idaho Health Care Plan to tax relief and protecting Idaho's schoolchildren. I appreciate the Idaho Press Club for providing a forum for public discussion on issues that affect us all
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Sheila Olsen


Miss Lori and I were saddened to hear about the passing of longtime community leader and Idaho Republican Party stalwart Sheila Olsen of Idaho Falls on February 11th. Sheila had been a friend and trusted adviser for many years. I had only recently reappointed her to a third term on the Idaho Human Rights Commission. She was a giant in her efforts on the commission in pursuit of equality, integrity and justice for those who needed a voice. Her commitment and dedication to public service and civic virtue will always define the selfless life that Sheila lived. She will be missed.   
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First Lady Focus:
In 2016, the Idaho Division of Building Safety and I worked together to promote a school safety campaign called SEE, TELL, NOW! After the 2016 Legislature approved funding to increase school safety, I was honored to be asked to help develop a practical and feasible plan to address the issues.

When the Division of Building Safety conducted its most recent annual inspection of all Idaho schools, the results were alarming. On average it took ten minutes before visitors were approached and questioned as to why they were at the school. The goal of the SEE, TELL, NOW! campaign is to raise students' situational awareness without making them paranoid. The use of a llama as the campaign mascot has been a great strategy for interacting with younger students and illustrating the campaign's slogan: "When you SEE something, TELL someone NOW!"

In light of recent school shootings, the Governor and I feel that it is important to reiterate to our kids the three basics of this program.

SEE - When you are in and around your school simply be aware of your surroundings. You may notice something that doesn't seem right, looks odd or is simply out of the ordinary.
TELL - Tell someone at your school or call the police but tell someone. We want to know what's happening at our school and your observations are important.
NOW - Do it NOW. Don't wait, don't hesitate. If something looks out of place to you, it likely is.

Where the safety of our children is concerned it is better safe than sorry. Remember if you see something, Tell someone, Do it Now - SEE - TELL - NOW!

It is up to us to continue being proactive and working for the safety of kids, staff and communities at every school in Idaho
!  Learn more here
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Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole

The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole - the Commission for short - is the releasing authority for individuals sentenced to a term of incarceration in Idaho. The seven-member Commission is the decision-making body for the small State agency, which is separate from the Idaho Department of Correction. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Idaho Senate and serve on a part-time basis. They represent a variety of Idaho communities and make decisions regarding parole releases and violations, early discharges from parole, pardons, commutations and restoration of firearms rights for those who have had convictions for certain felony offenses. Some hearings involve an in-person interview with the offender. Others are conducted via video conferencing, and some are done by administrative review.

The Commission played an important role in Idaho's adoption of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, implementing several major changes in the past three years in how parole decisions are made and documented, and how parole violations are managed. In addition to the commissioners, the agency consists of an executive director and 20 hearing officers who provide the essential information to the commissioners to ensure that they are making informed decisions. The Commission also employs a victim coordinator, who helps victims of crimes to understand and navigate the parole process. A variety of administrative staff provide documentation and daily tracking of the Commission's business.

Last year, the Commission made decisions on more than 5,400 cases. Beginning in August 2017, in an attempt to continue to recognize the intent of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and utilize prison space for the most dangerous offenders, the Commission began a "parole violation diversion" process. That involves a panel of two commissioners reviewing parole violation cases, which allows options for non-violent parole violators to remain in the community, typically with amended conditions of supervision, in lieu of revocation of parole and return to a potentially lengthy prison stay
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Recent appointments can be found on my website here.
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