Capitol part cloud

It’s another crazy day under the Capitol dome, with numerous significant debates, discussions, hearings and votes scheduled to happen all at the same time. Among them: JFAC is meeting, and already has accepted the report of the joint Millennium Fund committee, which earlier voted 8-2 to adopt the governor’s recommendation for spending tobacco settlement funds next year. Gov. Brad Little recommended funding about half of the state’s share of Medicaid expansion costs next year from the fund, along with the Project Filter tobacco cessation and prevention program and other existing programs.

“I appreciate the direction that the Millennium Fund Committee has chosen these last couple of years, and I think that we’re spending these dollars wisely,” said Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, JFAC co-chairman.

Also happening today: House Rev & Tax continues its hearing on HB 409, Rep. Mike Moyle’s statewide property tax freeze bill, at 8:30 a.m.; numerous new bills are up for possible introduction at 9 a.m. in the House Health & Welfare Committee, including regulation of e-cigarettes and a proposal from Rep. Megan Blanksma on Medicaid reimbursements. House Education meets at 9 and has proposals for new bills including one from Rep. Barbara Ehardt entitled "Fairness in Women's Sports." House State Affairs meets at 9 and will hold public hearings on a proposed constitutional amendment fixing the number of legislative districts at the current 35 and Rep. Heather Scott’s bill, HB 440, to ban all preferences in state hiring, contracting or public education for women or minorities.

This afternoon, it appears the Senate Education Committee, which meets at 3 p.m., may take up school content standards. Senate Judiciary meets at 1:30, and bills up for introduction include one from Chairman Todd Lakey on sentencing and a new public records exemption bill from Sen. Dan Johnson. And there’s much more. Both the House and Senate convene at 10:30 a.m. today.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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