INTERVIEW: Senator Brent Hill talks 2019 legislative session, petition support

Photo Courtesy: Idaho State Legislature

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s interview with Senator Brent Hill

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — On Monday, January 7, the Idaho Legislature will convene for their 2019 session.

Senator Brent Hill, Pro Tempore for the Idaho Senate and senator for Idaho Legislative District 34, said the upcoming session will tackle several key issues including Medicaid expansion and education funding.

As more students become mobile and diverse in their educational needs, Sen. Hill said, the state needs to change the way it is calculating the funds to be dispersed to each school.

“The proposal is to look more at enrollment in individual school districts rather than just attendance,” Sen. Hill told KID NewsRadio. “Less subject to the games that can be played…trying to boost enrollment on certain days that count and things like that…It’s just a way that many other states have gone and seem to have been very successful in that as we have studied other state systems.”

Medicaid expansion is also falling underneath a magnifying glass as a pending lawsuit looks to invalidate the voter-approved measure based on constitutionality.

When it comes to paying for the measure, Sen. Hill said the state could probably afford the 90-10 split, where the federal government pays for 90 percent of the funding and the state of Idaho cover 10 percent. But, should circumstances or funding change on the federal government’s end, the financial burden on the state would be difficult.

“What if they decide to take this expansion portion and drop it to 70 percent,” Sen. Hill said. “That could be catastrophic for the state. So, we need to look at that eventuality and what would happen in that case.”

Another issue Idahoans may see in the future is discussion about the state’s role in providing surgery for transgender inmates in Idaho. After a judge ruled the state did have to pay for the transition surgery for an Idaho inmate, Sen. Hill and Representative Chad Christensen both signed a petition against the effort.

“I don’t believe that that is a, a proper role of government to ask the people of Idaho to pay for a transgender operation of a sex offender who’s incarcerated,” Sen. Hill said. “It’s a very expensive operation. In addition, it’s not a matter of saving someone’s life. I have talked to the governor elect about this issue. We’re in talks with the attorney general who would be the one who would ultimately appeal that decision.”

View the interview with Senator Hill in the Facebook link below:

KID Newsradio

Senator Brent Hill joins The Neal Larson Show.