This week in the Idaho Legislature the Economic Outlook Committee met and put the main focus on the state’s budget. Based on their discussions, it is now clear that the state revenue numbers are even worse than originally forecast. This may be an even more difficult Legislative Session than we had thought. Raising taxes in this economic time, as recommended by some, is unacceptable. Many difficult decisions will have to be made as we balance the state’s budget. Simply put, if Idahoans are having to tighten their belts, their government should be, too.

On another note, as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am sponsoring legislation that would ban text messaging while driving. In the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase of this dangerous practice. This tool is recognizably helpful in terms of communication, but has become an increasing harmful problem when combined with driving.  It is unfortunate that we have to bring forth legislation that will prohibit a practice that is extremely dangerous, but it has become clear that something needs to be done.

Some argue that the existing inattentive driving laws will be sufficient in combating this problem. But other behaviors, such as drinking and driving, pose such a clear hazard that they need to be singled out and prohibited. To date, at least 24 other states -including Utah- have banned texting while driving. Idahoans are demanding that the time is now for Idaho to join those states in order to make our roads safer. You can view the draft legislation on my website, www.johnmcgee.org under the “current legislation” tab.

It has been a fast paced and productive two weeks in the Idaho Legislature, and I will continue to keep you informed of important information and legislation in the upcoming weeks.  Please visit my website for more information about this legislative session.  If you have any questions or comments send me an email at jmcgee@senate.idaho.gov.