Typically changes in legislative leadership occur every two years closely mirroring the state election cycle. The summer of 2015 is far from the norm. Two senior state senators, Dean Cameron (chair of the Senate Finance Committee and co-chair of the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee – JFAC) and John Tippets (chair of the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee) both stepped down to take jobs running state agencies (Governor Otter appointed Cameron to head the Department of Insurance and Tippets to head the Department of Environmental Quality). These resignations set in motion a number of changes that have altered Senate committee leadership and may influence legislative priorities of the Association.
Senator Shawn Keough (Sandpoint), a long serving lieutenant of Cameron on JFAC has been tapped to chair the Senate Finance Committee and co-chair JFAC. Senator Dan Johnson was subsequently appointed to serve as the committee’s vice chair. Senator Johnson previously served as vice chair of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. Senator Jim Guthrie (McCammon) was then tapped to serve as vice chair of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. Senator Guthrie has local government experience, previously serving as a Bannock County Commissioner. As county commissioner, Guthrie served on both the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) Board of Directors and the ICRMP Board.
In the shuffling of committee assignments, Senator Cliff Bayer (Boise) was assigned to serve on the Senate Resources Committee. While this committee may not sound like a key committee for city priorities it is the committee germane to water issues. As municipal water becomes a focal point in preserving the viability of Idaho cities and a tool in economic development this committee will become increasingly import to cities. The committee is also the venue for water quality rules and legislation to be considered.
Kelley Anthon, Rupert City Administrator, was appointed to the Idaho Senate by Governor Otter to fill the vacancy created by Dean Cameron’s departure. Kelley has been an active AIC member and plans to continue serving as Rupert City Administrator. Kelly joins Senator Lee Heider (Twin Falls), Senator Maryanne Jordan (Boise), Senator Dan Johnson (Lewiston), Senator Todd Lakey (Nampa), Representative Lance Clow (Twin Falls), and Representative Kelly Packer (McCammon) as legislators with municipal experience. Soda Springs Rancher Mark Harris has been appointed to fill the remainder of John Tippets term in the Senate.