Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke Addresses Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Monday Apr. 17, members of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce attended a luncheon to hear from Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke speak about Idaho’s latest legislative session following its recent conclusion. He touched on topics such as the LEAP program, Idaho residents’ taxes, water in the Mountain Home area, legislation pertaining to libraries and regulation of their content, and Idaho’s growing economy.

He began, “For the most part this was a nuts and bolts, get it done session”. He then spoke of the Idaho Launch program that aims to provide $80 million in state-based scholarships for Idaho residents who have just graduated high school in the state (public, private, or home-schooled) who plan to pursue an in-demand job via a route alternative to traditional college. He highlighted Majority Leader Megan Blanksma, citing her work in the State House of Representatives as pivotal to the passing of the Launch program.

He then spoke to the $330 million carved out to provide K-12 teachers with the option to buy into PERSI, the Idaho State retirement plan.

Bedke briefly spoke on water needs and projects taking place in Elmore County, he noted the trench being dug that will deliver water to the MHAFB and suggested that Elmore County residents push to have a second pipe placed in the trench while it was dug to provide water to other areas in Elmore County with water deficiencies. Editor’s note: The Elmore County Commissioners have requested to have a second pipe placed in the trench to provide water for additional residents, but were rejected after sending a proposal to Governor Little; I questioned Mr. Bedke on this and asked if he would be willing to support the Elmore County Commissioners in their request. Mr. Bedke declined to offer his direct verbal support.

Next, Mr. Bedke spoke of the rising rate of fentanyl deaths in Idaho, and pledged that both the Governor’s office and the Idaho State Legislature continuously work to create programs to provide public education, and restrict access to fentanyl.

Lastly, Bedke spoke on drafted library legislation regarding alleged pornographic or otherwise explicit library materials being distributed to minors that was ultimately vetoed by Governor Little. He explained that due to the verbiage of the bill, the Governor felt it was worded in a way that provided too much overreach at the state level. He suggested future legislation would be drafted pertaining to libraries and their contents, claiming that “Not all, but some...” libraries provide sexually explicit materials to minor. Mr. Bedke declined to name specific libraries when asked for names.

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