Great Seal of the State of Idaho



April 3, 2017

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100





(BOISE) – The recently concluded 2017 session of the Idaho Legislature addressed many of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s highest legislative priorities, including the third year of investments in a five-year plan for improving Idaho’s public schools.

There were some disappointments, including the Legislature’s rejection of Governor Otter’s recommendation to provide $3 million in the budget year that begins July 1 for an “adult completer” scholarship  program and its failure to approve unemployment insurance rate relief for Idaho businesses. But lawmakers generally supported the Governor’s call for K-12 and higher education investments that will help improve the rate at which high school graduates successfully “go on” to college or career training.  

“I started this year’s session by encouraging legislators to continue living up to our shared commitment to education and workforce development. For the most part, they responded positively to that encouragement and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “Where they fell short in the area of education or elsewhere, I look forward to working with them in the interim on how we can do better to secure and sustain our prosperity.”

Legislative actions cited by the Governor as addressing his priorities include:

  • Fully funding the next phase of investment in the “career ladder” for improving Idaho public school teacher pay.
  • Fully funding continued support for the STEM Action Center and its Computer Science Initiative.
  • Providing $1 million of the requested $2.5 million for the training of school administrators.
  • Providing almost $10 million of the requested $15 million to help school districts pay higher health insurance premiums.
  • Providing $5 million of the requested $10 million annual increase in funding for classroom technology.
  • Providing $4.25 million of the requested $6 million for improving teachers’ professional development.
  • Providing $2 million of the requested $5 million a year for expanding and improving college and career counseling in Idaho high schools.
  • Providing $35 million for higher education facilities throughout Idaho.
  • Providing $2.5 million of the requested $5 million one-time appropriation for the Workforce Development Training Fund.
  • Providing almost $1.9 million for expansion of post-secondary career and technical education programs.
  • Fully funding expansion of residency programs in graduate medical education.
  • Providing $10.3 million to build an adolescent mental health facility in the Treasure Valley.
  • Providing $1.5 million for the remaining costs of standing up behavioral health crisis centers in Twin Falls and Boise.
  • Providing $250,000 for additional foresters to help expand Good Neighbor Authority collaborative forest health projects on federal timberland.
  • Providing $3.1 million for enhancing the State’s invasive species program to prevent an infestation of quagga mussels and zebra mussels in Idaho waters.
  • Providing a 50-percent increase in funding for the State’s program for protecting sage-grouse and preventing a federal Endangered Species Act listing.
  • Providing $52 million to address winter weather-caused damage to roads and local infrastructure.
  • Improving the regulatory framework for Idaho’s emerging oil and gas industry, including creation of a new division within the Department of Lands.
  • Providing an average 20-percent fee increase on hunting and fishing licenses for the Idaho Department Fish and Game’s general operations.
  • Providing for additional hunting and fishing license fee increases to generate $1 million for prevention of wildlife depredation and higher reimbursements for landowners, and another $1 million for enhanced sportsman access.  
  • Providing $2 million of the requested $3 million for the Department of Commerce’s Opportunity Fund to support local economic development efforts.
  • Providing funds for the new position of State Director of Information Security in the Governor’s Office.
  • Providing $100,000 for efforts to convince the Air Force to bring a squadron of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters to provide a new flying mission for the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field in Boise.
  • Authorizing the Department of Administration to enter into negotiations for the State’s purchase of the HP Inc. campus in Boise to house the State Tax Commission and other State agencies as their local leases expire.
  • Approving bonding authority to finance construction of the proposed Cybercore and Collaborative Computing Center buildings at the Idaho National Laboratory’s Idaho Falls campus.


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