Archive for March 2010

Mar 23 2010

AARP Release

Uncategorized - 3 months ago - John McGee

AARP-Backed Bill Aids Families & Patients in Getting the Facts  and Exploring Options with Doc Prior to Giving up the Keys
BOISE, Idaho – When to hang up the keys is one of the most difficult decisions facing older drivers and their families.  Now, an Idaho law allowing doctors to contact the Idaho Department of Transportation to revoke a patient’s driver’s license is set to get revamped by legislation making it easier for patients and their families to get the facts and look at options before giving up the keys.  The legislation, Senate Bill 1397, passed the Senate yesterday.
Pending House passage of the bill, the revamped law will help families and patients have conversations with the doctor to gain a better understanding of the concern, and consider options, such as driving during limited hours or changing medications, prior to a recommendation from the doctor to revoke a patient’s license. 
“Driving is an independence issue for older Idahoans, and conversations about when it might be time to stop are very sensitive – this bill puts family at the center of the issue where they belong,” said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP Idaho.  “AARP commends Senators John McGee, Darrell Kerby and Diane Bilyeu for their leadership and effort on this issue and for moving to make sure the patient always comes first in Idaho law.”
The bill also protects doctors from liability for making the recommendation to ITD to revoke a patient’s driver’s license when they are deemed physically or mentally unfit to drive.  AARP is urging the House to pass the measure.

Mar 22 2010

Healthcare Reform

Uncategorized - 3 months ago - John McGee

Last week in the Idaho State Senate, Governor Butch Otter is held a public signing ceremony for HB 391a, the “Idaho Health Care Freedom Act.” The bill prohibits the enforcement of any federal mandate for Idahoans or Idaho businesses to purchase health care, and requires the state Attorney General to go to court to fight any such requirement. This bill will protect the people of Idaho, which is one of our obligations as a government, and is the right thing to do. This is a sovereignty issue for the state of Idaho and will help reduce government interference in the citizens of Idaho’s lives. About 30 other states are considering similar measures.

HB 391is not simply a memorial to Congress or a simple resolution. As a State Legislature, we often send memorials to Congress or enact resolutions, but those have no force in law. The Idaho Health Freedom Act is completely different. This is now a law of the State of Idaho. Congress needs to know that a nationalized healthcare system is not in the best interest of the United States.

During Sunday’s vote in Congress, there were countless American’s protesting Washington’s efforts to regulate our healthcare system. The majority of Americans did not want to see this 2,309 page health care bill become law. As of Monday, 53 percent of Americans oppose this bill and only 43 percent support it. This should have been an eye-opener to Congress, and they should not have proceeded with the passage of the bill.

Mar 15 2010


Uncategorized - 3 months ago - John McGee

This week in the Idaho State Senate, we voted overwhelmingly 29-5 in favor of SB 1352, to add a clause to Idaho’s inattentive driving law banning texting while driving. As I have previously stated, this is a uniquely dangerous practice. According to the University of Utah, using a handheld device while driving slows down a driver’s reaction time as much as a blood-alcohol level of .08. Texting while driving multiplies your chances of getting in an accident by four times. As the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and the sponsor of this bill, I answered numerous questions from other senators.  The definition in the bill is broad enough, that it covers reviewing or sending text messages.

I also have proposed legislation that would preclude Idahoans who are on active military duty from having to pay a $10 late fee for renewing their concealed weapons permit, once it has expired. I do not believe that our men and women in the armed forces should have to pay a penalty if they are unable to renew their permit because they are serving our country. This is a small way to honor the sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces.  The bill passed the Senate Friday.

Mar 7 2010

This Week’s Updates

Uncategorized - 3 months ago - John McGee

This week in the Idaho State Legislature, the Senate passed legislation to expand the reach of Idaho’s voluntary child IRIS immunization reminder system by making it an “opt-out” for parents of newborns rather than requiring them to actively “opt-in”. My co-sponsor, Senate Health and Welfare Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, and I have received support from many health-related organizations including the Idaho Medical Association and the Idaho Hospital Association.

Currently, according to the Idaho Division of Health, a mere 57.6 percent of Idaho’s children have had their recommended immunizations. This statistic is not one to be proud of, especially when compared to the national average, which is 77.2 percent. Idaho’s immunization rates are so low that our rate for measles is lower than that of Indonesia, Pakistan or Croatia, and our rate for polio is below that of Botswana, Latvia and Sri Lanka. This legislation will help increase the percentage of children who have had their recommended immunizations.

Also this week, the Senate Education Committee voted unanimously in favor of HB 544, which would create a higher education stabilization fund, into which the state would deposit money in positive economic times to help out state colleges and universities during downturns like we are currently facing. Obviously, we can’t utilize such a fund at this time, but we hope to use this concept in the event of future downturns.