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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Report Back: February 20, 2019 "White House Improving Infrastructure Listening Session"

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, February 25, 2019

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs held a listening session on improving infrastructure on Wednesday, February 20 with William F. Crozer, Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director,  White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and other senior staff. The purpose of the nationwide conference call was to hear from state and local elected officials about infrastructure priorities and ways to improve our nation’s infrastructure. 

Follow up information provided by the White House today includes the following:

I. Developing America’s Infrastructure – BUILD Grants

There is a lot of need for investments in infrastructure around the country. And so there is a lot of enthusiasm for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant program. Previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grants, the program provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives.

The number of applications for BUILD grants doubled in 2018. Of those, the number of applications for projects in rural areas increased 136 percent. 60 percent of the applications were for projects in rural areas. Over $1 billion of this BUILD funding will be distributed to 60 road projects. Historically, in this program 40 percent has gone to road projects.  In this round, 69 percent of the funds will go to road projects.

Prior to this Administration, only 21 percent of the funding in this infrastructure program — which dates back to 2009 — was awarded to rural areas. In the Department’s selections in FY2017 and 2018, an effort was made to re-balance the under-investment in rural communities – to address overlooked needs. And so, in the last round of the BUILD program, in which 60 percent of the applications were for rural projects, 62 projects were awarded to rural areas. As a result, more rural communities will benefit from significant improvements in access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation.

A number of these projects in rural areas will also concurrently support installation of broadband infrastructure — which is critical to economic competitiveness in the 21st century. Broadband access is something probably everyone this room takes for granted and can hardly imagine being without. But for millions of Americans in rural areas, broadband is a modern marvel still, literally, out of reach.

More information on the BUILD Grants can be found here.

II. Streamlining the Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects

Before construction can begin on an infrastructure project, it typically must comply with numerous Federal statutes overseen by multiple Federal agencies, making for a lengthy review process.  In August 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13807 addressing the need for a coordinated, predictable, and transparent Federal environmental review and authorization process for infrastructure projects while protecting public health, safety, and the environment. You can find the text of the Executive Order (here) and a White House Fact Sheet (here).

The order uses three key tools to improve the permitting process:

  • One Federal Decision — project sponsor concerns in navigating the Federal bureaucracy are addressed through a One Federal Decision (OFD) policy. Under OFD, a designated lead Federal agency works with other relevant cooperating Federal agencies to complete a single record of decision.
  • A Predictable Schedule — each major infrastructure project will have a permitting timetable for environmental reviews and authorizations, and agencies will be held accountable to those timetables through performance measures and financial penalties.  This will provide greater predictability to project sponsors and potential investors as to when a project review will be completed.
  • Shorter Review Times — the order establishes an average two-year goal across all agencies to process environmental reviews and authorizations for major infrastructure projects.

To comply with Executive Order 13807, on March 20, 2018, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) signed a Memorandum titled “One Federal Decision Framework for the Environmental Review and Authorization Process for Major Infrastructure Projects under Executive Order 13807.” The MOU can be found here. CEQ is the primary entity within the Executive Office of the President tasked with ensuring Federal agencies meet their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). More information on CEQ can be found here. Pursuant to that Memorandum, federal agencies signed a subsequent MOU, which was announced on April 9, 2018. The MOU can be found here. Signatories to the MOU include the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.

For larger projects covered by FAST-41 and specific questions regarding permitting for infrastructure projects, please refer to the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) website at Created under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Council is composed of agency Deputy Secretary-level members and chaired by an Executive Director appointed by the President. FAST-41 establishes new procedures that standardize interagency consultation and coordination practices. Importantly, FAST-41 creates a new authority for agencies to issue regulations for the collection of fees, which, if implemented, will allow the Council to direct resources to critical functions within the interagency review process. FAST-41 codifies into law the use of the Permitting Dashboard to track project timelines. Other FAST Act provisions that address the project delivery process and track environmental review and permitting milestones for transportation projects are set out in Title I and Title IX. Project sponsor participation in FAST-41 is voluntarily.”

III. Investing in Rural America

Rural Development

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to the president. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure, and increasing coordination of existing resources through partnerships and innovation are key recommendations of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic. More information on the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity can be found here.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Rural Broadband

In his State of the Union address, President Trump promised to “deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future.” The need for infrastructure investment is particularly strong in rural America, where over 39 percent of Americans lack a sufficient broadband connection. To that end, the Trump Administration has been working to close this gap between urban and rural areas.

The Department of Commerce and USDA recently released the American Broadband Initiative Milestones Report, which outlines the Trump Administration’s vision and actions to increase broadband access across rural America. More than 20 agencies are working together on this initiative to remove barriers, streamline processes, and use Federal funds to improve broadband availability and access, including the Interior Department. Among the key actions that the Administration is taking are (i) Preparing to deploy $600 million on an rural broadband pilot program (more information below), (ii) Mapping more than 7,000 Interior Department towers across America to help providers expand broadband service, and (iii) Streamlining the federal permitting process to develop broadband infrastructure.

More on the Rural Broadband Pilot Program

 In December, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service.

USDA will make available approximately $200 million for grants (applications due to USDA by April 29), as well as $200 million for loan and grant combinations (applications due May 29), and $200 million for low-interest loans (applications due by June 28). For additional information, see page 64315 of the Dec. 14 Federal Register (PDF, 255 KB).

For more information, please visit USDA’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program. You can find information there on how to apply for grants, eligible applicants, etc. 

More on Community Connect Grants

In addition to the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program, USDA also offers other grant programs, like Community Connect Grants, designed to help fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service. More information on Community Connect Grants can be found here. Note that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on the Community Connect Grant Program on February 26th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm EST and March 7th from 10:00 to 11:00 am EST. For more information see the Webinar flyer.

IV. Promoting Resiliency

The Administration understands how important it is to develop a continuously adaptive and holistic approach to mitigation and resilience.  In the face of the most complex and dynamic threats that the nation has seen in decades, it is imperative that we be able to anticipate potential disruptions and adapt to them before they cause harm to Americans.  Having just endured two of the worst years for natural disasters on record, we are faced with the effort of rebuilding disaster impacted communities in a way that will mitigate potential harm for decades to come.  To do so, we must harness the remarkable capabilities of our public, private, and non-governmental sectors towards a shared purpose of enhanced resilience while leveraging the resolve of the American people, using American materials, and American labor. 

State and local governments are uniquely equipped to be a galvanizing force towards this goal.  It will require foresight and planning to understand how to engage their communities in long term efforts addressing a variety of risks they face.

By promoting Pre-Disaster Mitigation and signing the Disaster Recovery Reform Act into law, a deliberate approach of addressing our vulnerabilities before disasters strike was made by President Trump.

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AIC-Opposed Bill to Preempt City Ordinances Prohibiting use of Electronic Devices while Driving up for Hearing Thursday

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, February 25, 2019

The House Transportation & Defense Committee will consider legislation at a hearing on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. that would preempt city ordinances banning the use of handheld wireless electronic devices while driving.

House Bill 77 is sponsored by Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon. 

Prohibiting use of electronic devices while driving is a rare issue that has strong bipartisan support, as evidenced by a recent Idaho Politics Weekly survey that showed 83% of Republicans and 89% of Democrats support such the policy.  The Idaho Politics Weekly survey also showed that large majorities support local governments being able to ban the use of electronic devices while driving if the state fails to adopt such a policy.

There were 4,973 distracted driving crashes in Idaho in 2016, with 64 fatalities and 367 serious injuries, with a combined economic impact of $1.1 billion.  This is a public safety problem that must be addressed, and cities are right to try to protect their communities by raising the profile on this important issue.

We ask city officials to contact members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee to respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 77.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Rep. Joe Palmer, Chair —

Rep. Paul E. Shepherd, Vice Chair —

Rep. Terry Gestrin —

Rep. Clark Kauffman —

Rep. Rick D. Youngblood —

Rep. Sage G. Dixon —

Rep. Steven Harris —

Rep. James Holtzclaw —

Rep. Jason A. Monks —

Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt —

Rep. Scott A. Syme —

Rep. Megan Blanksma —

Rep. James S. Addis —

Rep. Doug Ricks —

Rep. Melissa Wintrow —

Rep. John Gannon —

Rep. Muffy Davis — 

Rep. Ilana Rubel —

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House Rev & Tax Committee Does Not Advance Monks Revenue Sharing Bill

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, February 25, 2019

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted Monday morning to hold at the call of the chair House Bill 154 sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa, on the revenue sharing distribution formula.

Some committee members expressed concern about what they described as inequities in the current system, but it is not clear at this point whether the bill has enough support to advance. 

We greatly appreciate the efforts by city officials who contacted legislators in regard to this legislation.

The hearing provided an opportunity for folks on all sides of the issue to share their perspectives. 

Rep. Monks characterized the current system as grossly inequitable, noting that cities of similar population size received widely differing amounts on a per capita basis.  “The current system is not fair, and population would be a fairer way to do it.”

Burley City Administrator Mark Mitton warned the committee members about possible unintended consequences when distribution formulas allocating state revenue are changed. 

AIC Executive Director Jess Harrison noted that AIC established a Revenue Sharing Task Force, which met over last summer to look at the issue in depth and to help inform the AIC Board’s policy position.  The Board’s decision to oppose the legislation was taken after considerable discussion of various points of view and the potential implications of policy changes.  

“One thing that I can tell you for certain after months of meetings with diverse stakeholders is that defining what is fair is almost impossible,” Harrison said.  “Is it fair to not include point of sale?  Is it fair to penalize those who don’t have large retail bases?  Is it fair to remove a historical component that was part of a promise of changing a previous formula?  Is it fair to take much needed revenue away from our rural cities that are stagnant in their populations?  Is it fair that to some these dollars represent a significant portion of their budget while to others the overall loss or gain is de minimis? These are just a few of the challenges of defining what is fair in a large group of diverse and interested parties.”  

“Our Task Force did agree on the following principles for any formula alternatives, including reliable and verifiable data; stability and predictability for city budgeting purposes; simplicity and ease of implementation; and a hold harmless so that communities don’t entirely miss out on growth and have their dollars eaten away over time by inflation.” 

We extend our appreciation to Rathdrum City Administrator and Revenue Sharing Task Force Member Leon Duce who provided excellent testimony on the bill.  Duce noted the challenges under the Monks bill of budgeting for revenue sharing increases annually for cities that are close to the per capita average.  “A city may be capped in one year and receive an increase in the next year and that is too unpredictable for budgeting purposes.” 

Duce noted that the base replacement dollars for the business inventory replacement are capped in dollars and that future growth in the County Distribution is being allocated solely on a population basis. 

Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti noted that his city has one of the lowest property tax levy rates for a city of its size in the state and has been challenged to fund infrastructure and services required for its rapidly growing population.  “How can a city like Ammon that’s growing keep up with the costs of growth when revenue is going to cities that aren’t growing?” 

AIC will continue to follow this issue closely and provide updates as needed.

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Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC), Solicitation of Nominees for 2019 Membership

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, February 22, 2019

States and local governments are ultimately responsible for the implementation of many public health and environmental programs that ensure that citizens have clean air and water, safe drinking water, and environmentally sound waste disposal.

EPA's Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to provide advice and recommendations to the EPA in developing stronger partnerships with local governments by providing critical advice on the development and implementation of Agency programs at the local level. The LGAC is an independent, policy-oriented advisory committee that provides advice and recommendations to the EPA to assist the agency in ensuring that its regulations, policies, guidance, and technical assistance improve the capacity of local governments to carry-out these programs. 

Additional background information is available from the LGAC Charter and LGAC Fact Sheet.

The EPA Director of Intergovernmental Affairs is soliciting nominations for LGAC members and for the Small Community Advisory Subcommittee (for communities under 10,000) by March 15th for consideration for Spring 2019 appointments. EPA will fill 10-12 vacancies in 2019.

EPA will consider candidates from local, state, and tribal government elected and appointed officials. Representation from diverse backgrounds (i.e., demographics, geographic, cultural, ethnicity and political) are encouraged to apply.

Nominees must be willing and able to attend 2-3 meetings a year and fully participate in the Subcommittee or workgroup activities (usually via teleconference). The LGAC has one standing subcommittee which is the Subcommittee on Small Communities (SCAS), focused on small communities under 10,000.

The credentials of all applicants/nominees will be fully considered, but viable candidates must – at a minimum – fall within the vocational/experiential parameters outlined above. In addition to experience in local and/or state government, additional criteria to be considered may include:

  • Experience with public-private partnerships; coalition-building and grass-roots involvement; implementation of environmental regulatory programs, whether federally-delegated, state-required or locally-mandated, including permitting programs;
  • Brownfields, Superfund clean-up, air and water quality, and solid waste management; and, rural and/or small community economic development;
  • Diversity in vocational/career background, including private sector/industry experience, agricultural sector experience, professional affiliations; and,
  • Demonstrated familiarity with local, regional and national environmental issues, also may be considered. 

LGAC members are appointed for 1-2 year terms and are eligible for reappointment. The Committee meets several times a year, and the Administrator may ask members to serve on Subcommittees and Workgroups to develop reports and recommendations to address specific policy issues. The average workload for members is approximately 4 to 6 hours per month. While EPA is unable to provide compensation for services, official Committee travel and related expenses (lodging, etc.) will be fully reimbursed.

Please send the requested information along with your nominees’ name, full resume, and short biography to Frances Eargle, Designated Federal Officer for the LGAC at with subject header of LGAC MEMBERSHIP 2019 by March 15th, 2019. 

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Britt Carter at (202) 564-6312 or Fran Eargle at (202) 564-3115.

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Monks Revenue Sharing Bill Up for Hearing Monday in House Revenue & Taxation Committee

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, February 22, 2019

House Bill 154, the revenue sharing bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa, will be up for hearing the morning of Monday, February 25 in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee at 9:00 a.m.

Last Friday, the AIC Board of Directors voted to oppose House Bill 154.  To see the impact that the bill would have on your city's distribution please click HERE.

This spreadsheet shows what cities would have received under the current formula in FY 2018 versus House Bill 154 (column labeled 2018 Proposed Distribution). 

AIC asks city officials to contact members of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee (listed at bottom) to respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 154.

House Bill 154 would dramatically change how revenue sharing funds are allocated to cities and counties.

  • The bill establishes a base for every quarter, which is the amount the city received in FY 2019.
  • The bill also provides that each city’s revenue sharing dollars on a per capita basis are calculated annually.
  • If total revenue sharing funds decrease from the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, then only cities with amounts in excess of the base would see a proportional decrease.  Once all cities have reached the base, then further reductions would be based on their percentage of population.
  • If all cities are below their base due to a decline in revenues and then revenues grow from the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, cities would receive a proportional increase until they return to the base.  At that point when all cities have returned to the base, then excess revenue would be allocated to those cities with a below average per capita amount.
  • Growth above the base over the same quarter of the previous fiscal year would mean cities that are at or above the per capita distribution would receive the same amount as the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.  Cities that have below average per capita distributions would receive new revenue in proportion to their share of statewide population.

Revenue sharing needs to operate on a formula that is easy to understand and predictable for budgeting purposes.  House Bill 154 fails on both counts.  It is too complicated and there are too many moving parts to make the formula understandable.  It also fails to provide needed predictability required for local government budgeting. 

Over the past six fiscal years, if House Bill 154 had been in place:

  • Thirty-six (36) cities would not have received any increased revenue and the value of their revenue would be substantially diminished by inflation;
  • Of the 36 cities not receiving any increase, 19 would actually see their per capita amount increase over the six years due to declining population, meaning they would likely never see additional revenue;
  • Fifty (50) cities received additional funds every fiscal year, but to predict their revenue they would have to calculate each city’s population and per capita amounts; and
  • Some cities close to the per capita average would receive additional revenue every other year.


 Fiscal Year  # of Cities above the Average Per Capita 
 FY 2012 76 
 FY 2013 84 
 FY 2014 95 
 FY 2015 80 
 FY 2016 77 
 Fy 2017 100 
 FY 2018 91 

We encourage city officials to contact members of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 154.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Rep. Gary E. Collins, Chair —

Rep. Thyra Stevenson, Vice Chair —

Rep. Mike Moyle —

Rep. Robert Anderst —

Rep. Thomas Dayley —

Rep. Greg Chaney —

Rep. Terry Gestrin —

Rep. James S. Addis —

Rep. Sage G. Dixon —

Rep. Rod Furniss —

Rep. Priscilla Giddings —

Rep. Tammy Nichols —

Rep. Doug Ricks —

Rep. Mathew W. Erpelding —

Rep. Jake Ellis —

Rep. Rob Mason —

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House Local Government Committee Sends Optional County Planning Bill to Amending Order

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The House Local Government Committee voted to send to the House amending order an AIC-opposed bill that would have made planning and zoning optional for counties. 

House Bill 127 is sponsored by Rep. John Green of Kootenai County.

We extend our appreciation to AIC Counsel Jerry Mason; Leon Letson, Planner for the City of Boise who spoke on behalf of the Idaho Planning Association; Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns; and Bellevue Council President Kathryn Goldman for their excellent testimony to the committee. 

We also appreciate the help of the city officials who contacted members of the committee.

“The value of comprehensive planning is that there’s continuity over the long term,” said Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise.  “What happens when after the next election we have a new set of county commissioners and they decide they don’t want to plan?”

Committee members expressed a desire to fix the language in the bill to greater clarify its scope and expressed concerns about the burdens of planning and land use regulation that are borne by rural counties. 

“The change of words has been described as simple, but the consequences are far reaching,” said AIC Counsel Jerry Mason.  “Changing the word ‘shall’ to ‘may’ relieves county commissioners of their duty to plan.  This provision has been in the law since 1975, was enacted on a bipartisan basis and has been in effect for 44 years.”

“This bill has the potential to introduce great instability for a county,” Mason said.  “This isn’t something you can just turn off and turn on.  Putting planning back in place once it is gone is practically impossible."

“Much of what happens on the fringes of existing cities will become part of that city in the future,” Mason explained.  “If planning is inadequate, that means that cities face the costs of fixing deficient infrastructure.”

AIC will be closely monitoring the progress of the bill in the amending order and will provide updates as soon as information is available.   

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FEMA Region 10 Training: ICS-400 Advanced Incident Command System (ICS) for Complex Incidents

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, February 19, 2019



FEMA Region X is pleased to announce an offering of the ICS-400 Advanced Incident Command System (ICS) for Complex Incidents course in Bothell, WA on April 23-24, 2019.  For additional details, please click HERE.


Course Description: This course provides advanced training in the application of the ICS, expanding upon information covered in the ICS-300 course.


Target Audience: Federal, state, tribal, and local emergency management and response personnel who require ICS 400 training within their organizations.  Typically, required personnel include all mid-level management who will be involved in incident response or senior management who will be supporting the response.


For more information and instructions on how to apply, please contact or at (425) 487-4623.

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Idaho Office of Emergency Management - Training Announcement

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Idaho Office of Emergency Management is offering new classes for spring of 2019.  Many of these classes are FREE and several classes are in jeopardy of cancellation.


Please share with those you think might be interested. Thank you!





Register at

  • ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, April 9-10, Boise
  • AWR-136 Essentials of Community Cybersecurity, April 23, Bonners Ferry
  • AWR-136 Essentials of Community Cybersecurity, April 24, Lewiston
  • MGT-384 Community Preparedness for Cyber Incidents, April 24-25, Lewiston
  • MGT-415 Disaster Recovery for Rural Communities, May 7, Kamiah
  • MGT-346 EOC Operations and Planning for All Hazards, May 14-16, Lewiston
  • MGT-452 Physical and Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure, May 16, Pocatello



  • February 20-22, ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, Kimberly
  • March 14-15, G290 Basic PIO, Hayden


The following classes are in danger of cancellation due to low enrollment. Encourage your qualified first responders and elected officials to sign up!:

  • February 27, ICS-402 ICS for Senior Officials, Shoshone
  • March 9-10, ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, Soda Springs
  • March 19, AWR-136 Essentials of Community Cybersecurity, Idaho Falls  (See attachment) (4-hrs) (Prerequisite for MGT-384)
  • March 19-20, MGT-384 Community Preparedness for Cyber Incidents, Idaho Falls  (See attachment) (12-hrs)
  • March 21, AWR-118 Biological Incidents Awareness, Bonners Ferry



Save the date for classes coming to a classroom near you. Registration will open a few months prior to class and a formal announcement will be sent at that time:

  • July 22, PER 275 Law Enforcement Active Shooter Response, Caldwell
  • July 24, G291 JIS/JIC, Twin Falls
  • August 14, PER-294 Testing an Emergency Operations Plan in a Rural EOC, Lewiston
  • November 15-17, PER-340 Active Threat Integrated Response, Cottonwood
  • January 28-30 2020, MGT-346 EOC Operations and Planning for All Hazards, Coeur d’Alene



    • Openings in Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings: March 4-7, March 5-8  
    • Openings in Prevention of and Response to Suicide Bombing Incidents: March 4-8, March 15 and later
    • L0190 ArcGIS for Emergency Managers, Bothell, WA on April 15-18, 2019

If you have any questions, please contact:


Natalie Lahti

Training Specialist

Idaho Office of Emergency Management

(208) 258-6543 Office

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Idaho Residential Energy Efficiency - New Report Provides Important Insights

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, February 15, 2019
Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2019

Energy codes in Idaho have provided for significant energy efficiency gains within the built environment - benefiting building owners and communities across Idaho.  Energy codes for Idaho's buildings are the only codes that return money to their owners by paying dividends each month.

Benefits to homeowners in particular provide not only a more durable and resilient home, but also a cleaner, quieter, and healthier home!

As the Idaho Building Code Board looks into updating the current Idaho Residential Energy Conservation Code by adopting the 2018 codes for Idaho, we now have some additional resources to inform our discussions and training priorities.  Utilizing Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) dollars for field work, and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) dollars for analysis and reporting, an Idaho residential energy code field study was undertaken during calendar year 2018. The purpose of the study was to assess potential statewide compliance with the Idaho Energy Conservation Code (effective from January 1, 2015), so that energy code training and technical assistance can be customized to help contractors and trades construct more energy efficient and cost‐effective new homes for Idaho home buyers.

The final Idaho Residential Energy Code Field Study, and supporting Idaho Memo, outline how new homes in Idaho use less energy than would be expected relative to homes built to the minimum Idaho Energy Conservation Code requirements.

For example, the collected data indicates an average energy use intensity of 34.62 thousand Btu’s are used per square foot whereas, the code would allow 40.51 thousand Btu’s of energy per square foot. This is a whopping 15% difference! If looked at like a mpg standard for cars and the minimum standard was 20 mpg, the Idaho car would be averaging about 24 mpg. As for compliance with current codes, the study showed that new residential buildings have a 97% energy code compliance rate, up from the 90% rate documented in a 2013 study, also funded by NEEA.

All‐in‐all, Idaho residential building professionals and trades are doing great at achieving energy efficiency - including more than is required by the current Idaho Energy Conservation Code.  This suggests that Idaho homeowners can feel assured that they are receiving what they are paying for, plus some!

Looking closer at the report results, there are still some important areas where improvement is needed:

First, the work force needs education on insulation installation. The quality of wall insulation installation (including basement walls) and floor insulation, across the state were at a Grade II level in over 60% of homes. A Grade I level of installation would provide greater home owner comfort and energy savings.

Second, duct leakage in one of Idaho climate zones (i.e., climate zone 5, located in southwest and north central Idaho) is higher than allowed by the Idaho Energy Conservation Code. This makes a big difference in homeowner comfort as ducts deliver the air that heats and cools occupants. If conditioned air is leaking into building cavities like roof and floor assemblies, it’s not doing as thorough a job of making the home comfortable. And, it ends up costing the home owner more for heating and cooling.

Third, many homes did not meet the prescriptive Idaho Energy Conservation Code even as they delivered savings greater than minimum code. For example, not all insulation met 2009 levels, but overall, buildings performed better than code in the models because some code requirements such as the air tightness were surpassed. It should be noted that either a performance (energy modeling) or U‐factor (REScheck) analysis are acceptable compliance approaches and both are deemed as alternatives to the prescriptive methodology. 

Fourth, although Idaho homes are beating the current Idaho Energy Conservation Code by 15%, it is important to note that current code uses 2009 IECC values for insulation. Products, insulation standards, and codes have not remained static in the past nine years. The current 2018 IECC has cost‐effective requirements that would increase comfort and efficiency over the current Idaho code.

The full study can be found on the DOE website; Look under Highlights and Energy Code Field Studies on the front page of the site.

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Flags to be at Half-Staff until Sunset, Saturday, February 9

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Friday, February 8, 2019

Flags are to be at half-staff until sunset Saturday, February 9 to commemorate the life and public service of former Congressman John Dingell of Michigan.


Presidential Proclamation on the Death of John David Dingell, Jr.

Issued on: February 8, 2019


As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of former Representative John David Dingell, Jr., of Michigan — the longest-serving Member of Congress in our Nation’s history — I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, February 9, 2019.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half‑staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.



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