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Education, health care expected among big issue in 2016 legislative session

Lawmakers will be headed to Boise in the news few weeks for the upcoming legislative session.

Local representatives expect education to be one of the big issues.

“I think the commitment the Legislature made last session is a long term commitment,” Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Bonneville County, said. “I don’t anticipate any trouble trying to fund that second year of the career ladder.”

“We need to increase education funding,” Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Bonneville County, said. “I would like to see about $100 million increase in education funding.”

That’s not the only education issue. Horman is looking to bring legislation about school safety and security.

“Kind of a centralized repository for best practices of school safety, assistance for schools who are looking to improve their security, it would be support for teachers and administrators for administrative training, it would be help assessing buildings for security,” she said.

Then there’s health care.

“The Legislature is feeling a lot of pressure to expand Medicaid,” Bateman said.

Lawmakers will look at a proposal from the Department of Health and Welfare that would provide some insurance to people who fall in the medicaid gap.

“This would require $33 million in funding. It would come to $32 per month per person covered,” Bateman said. “Once a person is enrolled under this program, they could get treatment for minor health issues at the community health centers. However, acute care and hospitalization would not be covered.”

“I hope it gets a full vetting and a full hearing, so we can determine if that’s something that would be viable to help those folks who are in need in that category,” Horman said.

Some other big issues lawmakers expect to see this session include water rights and the Real ID act.

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