The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) wrapped up their budget presentations today with a handful of reports from the Senate and House committee chairmen. Today’s hearing started promptly at 8:00am with Senate Agricultural Affairs Chairman Steve Bair (R-Blackfoot) discussing the budgets his committee had reviewed.
Bair said they had reviewed the Soil and Water Conservation Commission’s budget, and referenced the two-to-one match was $209,700 from being fully funded. IASCD and the SWC presented to the Senate Ag Affairs Committee on February 14th, 2013 and discussed the importance of a fully funded match.
Chairman Bair let JFAC know that districts use match funds to leverage grants from the Office of Species Conservation, Bonneville Power Administration, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and even private grants. He also said that local soil and water conservation districts can play a great role in reducing the TMDL in Idaho’s streams and rivers. Therefor, the Senate Ag Committee recommended an additional $209,700.
The date for JFAC to hear the SWC’s budget isn’t known at this time, but we will share it with you as soon as it is set.
Thank you Chairman Bair for your strong support!
Early this morning, the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner H. Norman Wright. Chairman Steve Bair started the hearing promptly at 8:00am, and asked Commissioner Wright to share his qualifications.
Commissioner Wright is an Idaho native, a Boise State alum, and currently serves on the American Falls City Council.
“I have learned a lot on the Commission over the last year,” Wright said. “It’s different being involved, rather than observing. I was a loan officer with FSA, and as you know the SWC runs an active loan program. We have looked at ways to streamline the RCRDP loan program, and try to find more people for it to continue.”
Chairman Bair asked Commissioner Wright what has surprised him most during his service on the Commission. Commissioner Wright said he “didn’t know they had a loan program [RCRDP loan program]. It was a well-kept secret, and I don’t want the RCRDP to be a secret anymore.”
Chairman Bair thanked him for his service, and then called on the Commission and IASCD to give their annual presentation.
On January 29, 2013, IASCD and member districts held their annual legislative display date in the state capitol building. We alerted the media to the event, and had KTVB show up around 3pm to take footage and speak with IASCD staff.
The clip was featured on the 6pm news that evening.