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Idaho governor to give final State of the State speech

UPDATE 6:40 p.m.: Idaho Rep. Christy Perry, a Republican from Nampa, says she wore all black during the annual “State of the State” address to show support for sexual violence victims and to highlight the importance of women in the workplace.

Perry, who is also running Idaho’s open 1st Congressional District, said Monday that women who experience sexual harassment in the workplace often face worse situations back at home. She added that it’s important to raise awareness about supporting women in all areas of life.

Perry’s decision to wear all black comes just a day after almost every attendee at the Golden Globes Awards also wore black in support of the Time’s Up movement and as a statement against sexual misconduct.

All Idaho lawmakers will undergo “respectful workplace training” Tuesday. The training will include new policies on sexual harassment and changes on how to report misconduct.

6:15 p.m.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist thanked Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his years of service, but said the upcoming race for the state’s highest elected office is about the future not the past.

Ahlquist, who is running for elected office for the first time, released a statement Monday following Otter’s twelfth and final “State of the State” address to lawmakers. The speech kicks off the 2018 legislative session.

Otter is not running for re-election this year. Instead, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, U.S. Rep Raul Labrador and Ahlquist have all filed as Republican candidates in the open gubernatorial race.

Campaign manager David Johnston says Ahlquist is a political outsider who will bring a fresh approach to Idaho.

Throughout his 55-minute speech on Monday, Otter focused on the benefits of political experience in order to learn the proper role of government.

3:35 p.m.

Idaho Democratic legislative leaders thanked Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his service to the state of Idaho, noting that Otter has maintained a spirit of civil discourse even though the minority party hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the Republican politician.

However, House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding of Boise said Monday he was concerned Otter’s proposed $192 million tax cut will be balanced out on the backs of Idaho families.

Furthermore, Erpelding says Otter’s 12 years in the executive office has left an entire generation of Idahoans impacted by inconsistent policies on education and health care.

Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett of Ketchum called for Congress to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire in March.

2 p.m.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is asking state lawmakers to approve a nearly $200 million tax cut for Idaho taxpayers.

Otter unveiled his tax cut package Monday during his “State of the State” address.

The announcement comes at a time when tax officials are warning lawmakers that Idaho taxpayers could end up paying roughly $100 million more next year as a result of the Republican tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.

Otter’s proposal is the latest idea lawmakers and tax experts are tossing around to ensure Idahoans receive tax relief, particularly as many Republican lawmakers face re-election in the upcoming GOP primary in May.

Separately, Otter is once again pushing lawmakers to reduce a key component in how Idaho calculates the unemployment insurance tax rate because the trust fund Idaho uses to pay unemployment benefits has more money than it needs to survive an economic crisis. Lawmakers failed to take up the governor’s request last year.


1 p.m.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s final “State of the State” address begins with announcing Idaho is in a better place than when he took over office 12 years ago.

Otter said Monday that the governmental growth has remained limited during his three terms in the executive office, but the state has made important investments with its tax revenue.

The Republican governor is not seeking a fourth term.

Otter uses the annual speech to outline his budget and policy priorities for the upcoming fiscal year 2019. This year, Otter is asking lawmakers to raise the budget 6.6 percent – bringing the budget total to roughly $3.6 billion.

The budget includes a proposed $192 million of tax cuts for Idahoans.


10:15 a.m.

Idaho Republican senators have elected new legislative leaders before the 2018 session officially kicks off.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis resigned earlier this year after being appointed to serve as U.S. Attorney for Idaho. This caused an opening among the four GOP legislative leadership positions in the Idaho Senate.

Secret balloting on Monday resulted in Sen. Chuck Winder as majority leader – who previously served as assistant majority leader. Sen. Steve Vick then won assistant majority leader against Sen. Todd Lakey, who previously served as caucus chairman.

Finally, Sen. Kelly Anthon won caucus chairman in a four-way race. None of the ballot totals were revealed because voting is held behind closed doors.

Republican leadership races are significant, because just who is in charge helps decide which issues become priorities and which legislative proposals can get consideration.
7 a.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is expected to give his twelfth and final “State of the State” address on Monday afternoon.

The speech kicks off the start of the 2018 legislative session, with state lawmakers, members of the judiciary and other leaders gathering in the Statehouse to hear Otter’s remarks.

Otter has served three terms as governor in Idaho and has said he won’t seek re-election this year.

The governor typically uses the speech to outline his budget and policy priorities for the session. State lawmakers will then spend the next few months in Boise working to balance the state budget and pass legislation.

The speech begins at 1 p.m. MST.

You can watch it online HERE.

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