Brothers and Sisters,
As session wrapped up this week I have a ton of mixed emotion. Two months ago I started thinking how I was going to write an email explaining that we finally got Presumptive Illness passed. When the Bill sailed through the Senate, I, Grant, and Shaun counted the votes and we had enough in the House to get the Bill to the Governor’s desk. I am sad to say that once again Steven Hartgen from Twin Falls put our Bill in a drawer and would not give us the hearing he told me he would. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it has been to get this far and once again the Bill be killed. Your efforts across the State have helped us lobby the Bill. It is not because of the relationships we built that stalled this out. Hartgen feels that our “Heads are in the trough” and we are just looking for more. He went to the media prior him telling me that we would not get a hearing. By doing that, it tied the Speakers hands.
So what can we do? Get out and Vote!!! We are going to mobilize this summer and do what it takes to get him unelected and send a message to this legislature. The PFFI and its members will not be treated this way! I hope that we all can open our wallets a little and get the money and manpower to Twin Falls this summer and knock doors. Brother Hamilton will be a point of contact as this summer approaches. We have the opportunity to really make a difference in the legislature by removing a Chairman that will never give our Cancer Bill a hearing.
On a positive note, we helped stop a Bill from ever being heard in the Senate. HB487 took away our ability to negotiate in closed door executive session. It passed in the House and gave us a good idea where people stand on our collective bargaining. I have no doubt in my mind that next year an attack will be coming on our ability to negotiate with our employers. Next week the Legislative/PAC committee will be talking to discuss what races we are going to get involved in. It is really going to take the help of all 1,100 members and family to keep a couple of key legislators in office and work to elect in a few that will be very friendly to the PFFI.
I am begging you to please pass this email on to all your members. Currently it gets sent out to 500 members, of that only 225 open and read these. Everyone needs to know what is going on in the State and how we have been wronged. I also want you to know the Fire District commissioners and the Idaho Volunteer association have turned their backs on the PFFI and actively lobbied against us. It blows my mind that they would do what they have done. It is not the members themselves but their leadership.
I just want to say again how much I appreciate all the prayers and support from this organization. Shaun and Grant have been a huge help and I could not have done this alone.