Idaho Senator Don Cheatham Newsletter – District 3


Idaho Senator Don Cheatham Newsletter – District 3


Dear Friends,


Below are some recent activities and highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol. I hope you enjoy the information. For more details, you can log onto where you will find bills, committee recordings, and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. I look forward to your involvement.



Don Cheatham


4-H Students meet Legislators at the Know Your Government Conference



4-H students from across the state came together in Boise this week to see Idaho’s government in action. The Know Your Government (KYG) Conference is held each year during Presidents Day weekend. The KYG mission is to empower youth to be well-informed, actively engaged citizens in both their communities and state. This program allows the youth of Idaho in grades eight and nine to learn, practice, and participate in the legislative process.


Monday morning started off with a breakfast where students met with legislators and judges. As the day progressed, 4-H students continued to meet with legislators and participated in a legislative workshop, learning about the state government decision-making process by participating in mock committee meetings and a legislative floor session. It was an invaluable opportunity for students to share ideas with legislators, judges and other elected officials. Click here to learn more about the KYG Conference.


Idaho State Grange Day at the Capitol




The Idaho State Grange met at the Capitol rotunda this week to speak with legislators on issues important to the agricultural industry and its communities. The National Grange was founded in 1867 as a grassroots organization aimed to strengthen individuals, families, and communities through action, service, education, advocacy and agriculture. The Idaho State Grange is dedicated to developing strong leaders, promoting agriculture, and encouraging participation in legislative issues and community service, such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, organizing food pantries, and supporting 4-H and FFA. Each year Idaho State Grange members come to the Capitol to inform legislators of their legislative agenda and the needs they see in the agricultural and farming communities. Click here for more information.


Dedication of agriculture mural in the Capitol tunnel



Located in the Capitol tunnel is a 35-foot mural representing the diverse agricultural industry in Idaho. This week the mural was dedicated by Speaker of the House Scott Bedke as a tribute to Idaho’s rich agricultural heritage. There are 186 commodities grown in Idaho, and to commemorate Idaho’s abundance in produce, the one-word “Agriculture” is displayed in colorful strokes and images depicting the variety of food and farming Idaho has to offer. Discussions for the project began in 2018 which led to a 35-foot area designated to the agricultural mural. Local artist and art instructor at Parma High School, Linda McMillin, headed this project.


A special thanks to the following sponsors of this project: Idaho Agricultural FFA Organization; NW Agricultural Cooperative Council; Idaho Potato Commission; Leadership Idaho Agriculture; University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom; Northwest Farm Credit Services; Idaho Farm Bureau; Clear Springs Foods; Idaho Onion Grower’s Association; and Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association.


Nurses Day at the Capitol



On Thursday, nurses from across Idaho gathered at the Capitol for the annual “Nurses Day at the Capitol” event. Organized by the American Nurses Association of Idaho and the Nurse Leaders of Idaho, this event fosters the opportunity for legislators and nurses to interact and discuss health issues in our state.


There are currently 18,000 registered nurses practicing in Idaho—and one of our very own legislators, Sen. Mary Souza, holds a nursing degree. The American Nurses Association of Idaho represents all registered nurses in the state. Its mission is to promote professional development and maintain high standards for nursing practices and safety as well as engaging in healthcare advocacy. The Nurse Leaders of Idaho also engages in advocacy relating to nursing and healthcare issues as well as collaborates with organizations to promote education and leadership. Click here for more information.


House and Senate Memorial Services



This Monday at the Capitol, both the House and Senate held memorial services, honoring Idaho Legislators, who recently passed away, for their public service. On the House Memorial Committee were Rep. Linda Hartgen, Rep. Wendy Horman, and Rep. Steve Berch. On the Senate Memorial Committee were Sen. Jim Woodward and Sen. David Nelson. Those lives honored for their service are as follows: Carlos Bilbao (Canyon & Gem Counties); David Walker Bivens (Ada County); Mary Hartung (Payette and Washington Counties); Twila L. Hornbeck (Adams, Boise, Gem, Idaho, and Valley Counties); Marguerite McLaughlin (Clearwater, Latah, and Nez Perce Counties); Milton Peter Neilsen (Boise and Elmore Counties); Robert Ernest Shaefer (Canyon County); Donna Faye Scott (Twin Falls County); Harry Brose Turner (Twin Falls County); E. Gary Chapman (Ada County); William “Bill” Roden (Ada County); and Mary Kathleen “Kathy” Sims (Kootenai County).



7th lowest gun murder rate

According to the Center for American Progress, Idaho ranks 44th for gun homicide, making Idaho’s gun murder rate the seventh lowest in the nation.


Idaho ranks 3rd in gun ownership

Idaho has the third highest gun-ownership rate in the nation at 56.9 percent.  Click here for more information at Injury Prevention.


1st in excise tax revenue

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Idaho ranks first for total federal excise taxes generated per capita in the firearms and ammunition industry.

Legislation at a glance


The following legislation may be of interest to you. Click here to stay updated on the complete list of bills, resolutions, proclamations, and memorials.


SCR126: This resolution supports the establishment of a three-branches of government collaboration to develop and implement a statewide strategic plan to improve the behavioral health system in Idaho. SCR126, carried by Senator Souza, has been adopted by the Senate and House.


S1250: The purpose of this legislation is to treat the use of certain electronic devices behind-the-wheel as an infraction. The bill addresses safety concerns associated with a significant portion of distracted driving crashes. The legislation defines enforcement and retains conditions under which electronic device communications would be allowed. This legislation received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Transportation Committee and is waiting to be heard on the Senate floor


S1308: This legislation would bring Idaho statute into compliance with federal regulation (Title 21 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act), which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2019, changing the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 years old to 21 years old. S1308 will be heard on Monday, February 24th, in the Senate State Affairs Committee.


SJR103: This joint resolution proposes an amendment to Section 17, Article I of the Idaho Constitution. The amendment would expressly authorize law enforcement officers to make warrantless misdemeanor arrests based upon probable cause when the offense in question is not committed in the officer’s presence. SJR103 is in the Senate State Affairs Committee.


H0352: This legislation regarding an increase in the grocery tax credit has been replaced by H0407 that is awaiting a hearing in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.


H0310: Idaho Code 56-1004A, Criminal History and Background Checks, charges the Department of Health & Welfare with conducting background checks on individuals who provide care or services to vulnerable adults or children. Passed in the House, received a Do Pass recommendation from the Health and Welfare Committee and is on the Senate floor.


H0345: This legislation amends Section 49-1806 by adding language to disallow booting a car for the sole basis of an expired or improper vehicle registration. This bill passed in the House, received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Transportation Committee on February 20, 2020, and is headed to the Senate floor.


H0351: This legislation reduces net reimbursements to hospitals and nursing facilities in SFY 2020 and SFY 2021 to help achieve the Medicaid general fund needs of a 1% overall reduction in SFY 2020 and a 2% reduction in SFY 2021. It directs the Department of Health and Welfare to work collaboratively with hospital and nursing facility providers to update reimbursement methods. The bill passed the House, received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and is now on the Senate floor.


S1325: The purpose of this legislation is to provide a way for local school districts to “grow their own teachers”. Many rural districts are struggling to find and keep teachers. This legislation establishes programs under which non-certified employees may seek certification while employed by the district. First, it allows a district to use professional development money to assist an employee teaching under a provisional certification in becoming certified. Second, it allows funds from the opportunity scholarship program to apply to non-certified employees from a school district or public charter school seeking to become certified. This bill is on the Senate Third Reading Calendar awaiting floor debate.


State Capitol  |  P.O. Box 83720  |  Boise, Idaho 83720-0081  | (208) 332-1338