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BOISE — Major legislation to bring school districts employees’ health care coverage up to the same standard as that of state employees passed the Idaho House Monday on a 55-14 vote, after an hour of overwhemingly positive debate.

“Y’know, 16 years ago I ran for the Legislature, and before I ran I never did check to see how much they paid us or what the benefits were,” Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, told the House. “I was surprised when I got here that I got health care for 125 bucks a month. That really was a big benefit that I never thought was out there. And I made the assumption that teachers also must be on this state plan and have the same benefits that we have.” But they don’t, he said.

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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