Press conference on canal safety
May 28, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter at a press conference on canal safety recorded today (Tuesday May 28, 2013) in his ceremonial office.
The Governor unveiled a new advertising campaign to coincide with the beginning of the long irrigation season. It also is aimed at educating the public about the dangers posed by miles of irrigation canals that serve large sections of southern Idaho. The media campaign that begins May 29th targets parents, kids and pet owners and was funded by contributions from private sponsors and in-kind contributions from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.
“This is ideally one of those situations where government-to-government and public-to-private come together for an essential purpose and a very important purpose and that is to provide the necessary caution.”
Joining the Governor at the media launch were the corporate sponsors, including the J.R. Simplot Company, Idaho Power, Idaho Water Users Association, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, and the Idaho Potato Commission. Warren Kline, Vice President of Customer Operations at Idaho Power, said campaigns like these help educate the public to the hidden dangers.
“And it reminds people throughout the summer about the hazards that come with canals. And so we really appreciate being a part of this because it really will save lives this year.”
Rick Keller, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Idaho Farm Bureau, said irrigation canals are vital to Idaho farmers, but that he knows firsthand the dangers they pose to unsuspecting kids.
“Last year my granddaughter fell into a canal system and fortunately an older cousin was there as she was going down the culvert, was holding her up, until an adult came to help pull her out. It happened so quickly and we must be careful.”
On average each year six people – children and adults – drown in irrigation canals. The Governor said this campaign aims to prevent any loss of life this season.
“Every one of those is a tragedy, and every one of those deaths gives us more impetus to go out and do the most that we can.”
This year the 30-second public service announcements are airing on radio and television. Pet owners will be targeted for the first time this year. The ads will also air on Spanish language radio stations. The campaign will run through September.
Governor Otter signs Senate Bill 1060 making human trafficking a felony
April 4, 2013
Here are few selected audio clips recorded today (April 3, 2013) as Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed Senate Bill 1060 which makes human trafficking a felony.
Over the past year the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission investigated whether Idaho has a human trafficking problem and whether Idaho needed any new legislation to address the problem. The Commission found that Idaho does indeed have a human trafficking problem and that there was a gap in current Idaho law. The Governor said today that the new legislation fixes that problem. The Governor also believes the new law will act as a strong deterrent.
“It does make it a felony from now on. It will curtail the next generation of those folks that are coming up, and it will also tell the victims that they have a portal of relief, that they have a portal of protection.”
Senate Bill 1060 seeks to curtail recruitment of both adults and children into prostitution. Governor Otter says this is a problem that is not known very far outside law enforcement circles.
“We will watch for drugs we will watch for any other kind of criminal activity, but it just escapes me that the general public is not as aware of how big a problem this really is.”
According to recent government estimates nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked into 137 countries around the world.
Governor Otter proclaims March “American Red Cross Month”
March 13, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter recorded recently at the Capitol in Boise.
The Governor has proclaimed March as “AMERICAN RED CROSS MONTH” in Idaho. The American Red Cross has over 300 employees and volunteers who respond when disaster strikes. Across the country they average more 70,000 disasters each year. The Governor said during that proclamation signing ceremony in the Governor’s Office, that the Red Cross preforms an invaluable and irreplaceable service in Idaho each year.
“The Red Cross always gives a certain source of comfort. And I would tell you that whether it is forest fires or floods or earthquakes, whatever disaster we have in Idaho, it is always one of the first calls that our disaster folks, our Homeland Security folks will make.”
Governor Otter said after signing the proclamation that the American Red Cross also collected more than 40% of the nation’s donor blood supply last year.
“And then processed and stored by the Red Cross for whenever the need arises.”
Sound of the Governor reading and signing the proclamation:
The American Red Cross also provides services to some 400,000 military members, veterans and civilians, and trains more than 7 million people in first-aid, water safety and other life-saving skills ever year.
Governor Otter addresses sequestration
March 1, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter that were recorded at the Statehouse as the Governor was addressing a leadership meeting of Farmers Insurance officials on Thursday, February 28, 2013. The Governor was answering questions on how the federal sequestration of $85 billion will impact Idaho.
Governor Otter explained that he and dozens of other Governors found out at about the same time during a closed door meeting with the President earlier this week.
“When I went to the White House on Monday, at my table was a folder that said Idaho on the front of it. And as I opened it up, there was a stack of papers and on the first sheet of paper told me the sequestration of the $85 billion was going to cost me $20 million.”
That $20 million impact to state government will be spread out over seven months, which represents the remainder of the federal fiscal year. The Governor expressed his frustration over federal spending which he believes is unsustainable and dangerous and warned that more of these kind of mid-year budget cuts are likely.
“We have to do something like this, because the way you guys are spending money back here is crazy. It is like I get a credit card and I go down and I go out and charge a hundred thousand dollars worth of stuff on it and I hand it to my grandson (J.C.) and I say here ‘J.C., pay this off.’ That is exactly what we are doing.”
Last year the Governor ordered his agency directors to be ready for this potential reduction by preparing budgets with cuts of up to 20 percent. The Governor says while much less than we prepared for, the $20 million impact could hurt the Idaho National Guard the most, which may be forced to furlough employees.
Farmers Insurance Day at the Capitol
February 28, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips recorded this morning (Thursday, February 28, 2013) as Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter spoke at an annual leadership meeting of Farmers Insurance at the Statehouse in Boise.
The Governor met with agents and other Farmers Insurance officials and explained why the State of Idaho is pursuing a state-based health insurance exchange instead of turning it over to the federal government to manage. Governor Otter explained that his approach to dealing with the federal government on an insurance exchange is similar to the approach and successful positions he has taken on wolves, slick spot pepper grass, and the Idaho Roadless Rule – which is the only court-approved roadless management plan in the nation.
“But because we stayed at the table and fought, we won. Now we haven’t won them all and we are not going to win them all. But I feel it is my fiduciary responsibility as the chief executive of the state to get Idaho’s way as often and as much as we possibly can.”
The Governor believes it is a state sovereignty issue and that walking away from participation is giving the federal government a blank check in determining Idahoan’s health care future. The Governor also said there are good people on both sides of this issue, which is why he is urging citizens do their own homework before deciding.
“One of the things they could do is speak to their medical provider, speak to their insurance agent. These people seem to be key on knowing exactly what the effects of having a state exchange versus a federal exchange, and that is why they prefer a state exchange. And then go to our website (gov.idaho.gov) and sign up on the petition.”
So far over 3,000 Idahoans have gone to the Governor’s Web page, at www.gov.idaho.gov and signed the Health Insurance Exchange Petition. The Governor also urges citizens to contact their lawmakers and urge them to support a state-based health insurance exchange.
Idaho Press Club
February 8, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter recorded this morning (Friday, February 8, 2013) at the annual Idaho Press Club breakfast in Boise.
The Governor took questions from the press on a variety of issues. Regarding his health insurance exchange legislation, the Governor stated that by keeping a seat at the table, he can better protect Idahoans from Obamacare in 25 specific areas.
“I believe it is my obligation as the chief executive of the state to do everything I can to protect the state. If I didn’t believe that I would have just said to the feds, ‘Well you have your own wolf plan. Why don’t you just come in and put that in place.’ But we couldn’t do that. And we stayed at the table and we fought about it, and there are going to be people who say, ‘Well this is much much different,’ but the process isn’t.”
The Governor said that just as Idaho’s roadless plan and Idaho’s wolf plan were approved by federal courts, Idaho now is working to remain engaged and negotiating with the federal government to get the best possible deal for Idaho on a health insurance exchange.
“And I could have walked away from the table with the wolves and just said, ‘OK put your plan in’, we would have had 5 (thousand) or 6,000 wolves in Idaho by now.”
The Governor also stated that he is close to achieving his Project 60 goal of growing Idaho’s economy to $60 billion GDP annually. The Governor indicated that could happen before the end of the year.
“And of course when we do that $60 billion is simply a benchmark. It is not an end goal. We are not going to stop there. And so the question is going to be, we asked for an increase of around eight and half billion dollars in economic activity in the state in order to get to 60 billion from where we started. So I suspect we will set the (new) goal a little higher, maybe $20 billion more than that, maybe (up to) $80 billion.”
The Governor was also asked to comment on the unexpected controversy surrounding the appointment of Joan Hurlock to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to represent the Magic Valley area. The Governor says he stands by Hurlock who received unanimous support from the selection panel. The Governor also took the occasion to dispel some of the misinformation circulating about her candidacy:
“I asked Randy Budge (chairman of the Fish and Game Commission) and I asked Joan (Hurlock), several times, this is not pretty, because this all started right after I wrote the letter to the Senate and said this is who I want to appoint to the Fish and Game Commission. And a lot of this push back started right then and there. And I said to both of them, I said look, ‘This is not going to be pretty, but I think you are qualified. I think you would be a good Fish and Game commissioner. And if you want to stay in this I am with you.’ So whatever rumors were going around that said I asked her to step down, that is not true.”
Hurlock’s confirmation is now headed to the senate floor. A vote is expected sometime next week.
Idaho Association of Counties Midwinter Legislative Conference
February 5, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips recorded this morning ( Tuesday, February 5, 2013) as the Governor spoke with members of the Idaho Association of Counties at the group’s mid-winter conference at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City, Idaho.
The Governor answered questions about his personal property tax legislation which seeks to provide up to $140 million of tax relief. But he also assured county officials that his approach seeks to “do no harm” to local units of government.
The Governor also explained how he was bringing legislation to improve the HIRE One Act that passed in 2011. The new legislation called the HOME Act, which stands for Hire One More Employee, would help improve the ability of veterans to find work by providing tax credits for employers who hire a vet.
“And that is an additional thousand dollars for every new employee if that employee is a veteran. And when I look at the veteran unemployment in the state of Idaho, in the nation quite frankly, it should be a national embarrassment to us.”
The Governor also talked about how Idaho’s economy continues to improve. He mentioned how Idaho’s gross domestic project has grown in the last few years from $51 billion to almost $58 billion – well within reach of his Project 60 goal, to grow Idaho’s economy to $60 billion annually. But the Governor also explained how reaching the Project 60 milepost is not a finish line.
“We are not going to slam the football down in the end zone and say this is the end of the game. We will set another goal and it will be Project 80 or maybe Project 100. And as a result of that economic growth and economic activity, and your continuing to work with the professionals at the local level, we’ll continue to drive that number up.”
The Governor indicated that growing Idaho’s economy is the best way to maintain state services without raising taxes.
Financial Transparency Web Site Launch
January 10, 2013
Here are few selected audio clips from a press conference the Governor participated in Thursday morning (1/10/13) at the Capitol in Boise. The Governor was joined by State Controller Brandon Woolf to unveil Idaho’s new state financial transparency Web site – Transparent Idaho. The site puts state government finances a click away for taxpayers looking to see how their State government is spending their money.
Governor Otter said this project is a continuation of his efforts to bring transparency to every level of State government. With this new site, the Governor says state financial information is just a click away.
“Being able to go online and find out exactly where our government is spending money, exactly what the budgets are, I think is very important to the citizens of the State of Idaho.”
The new site, http://Transparent.Idaho.gov, includes thousands of downloadable reports that illuminate Idaho’s finances for the current and prior fiscal years. The reports range from broad summaries of State revenues and expenditures with easy-to-read charts and graphs, to detailed snapshots of agency-level finances. Governor Otter lauded State Controller Brandon Woolf and his office for launching the new site. Woolf said the work was done without any additional expense to state taxpayers.
“It’s the citizen’s government and it is the citizen’s money, and this Web site will help provide so that the citizens can identify and know how that money is being spent.”
Governor Otter stated other government entities should follow the state’s lead toward establishing a user-friendly website that opens their books to the citizens they serve.
“I hope that the federal government will take a look at this. I would like to be able to go online with the federal government and say, ‘Where are they spending the money for the Forest Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife’ or a lot of the things that have effects on us. So I really congratulate Brandon and I congratulate the Controller’s office for the great job that they have done which brought us to this day to begin this process.”
Governor Otter anticipates the State Controller’s Office will make even more financial data available online in the future.
Associated Press Legislative Preview
January 4, 2013
Here are a few selected audio clips of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter as he answered questions at The Associated Press Annual Legislative Preview. These comments were recorded live during the one-hour give-and-take session with media in the Senate Transportation Committee room at the State Capitol.
The Governor answered questions on a wide variety of topics and announced during the media availability that he has tasked outgoing director of the Idaho State Police, Colonel Jerry Russell to head up an effort to assess and recommend possible safety and security improvements in Idaho’s public schools.
“We have talked to Jerry and right after his retirement, he is willing to sit down with Tom and go through an analysis of what it would take in our public school system in Idaho, in order to make them safer, in order to control access and those sort of things. And I really appreciate our top cop being willing to do that.”
Russell will work with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s Department of Education and local law enforcement and school leaders to analyze the state of security in Idaho schools in the wake of the December 14th shootings of students and staff at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Governor also addressed questions about his recent decision to implement a state-based health insurance exchange. The Governor explained that he opted for a state-based exchange as a means of preserving options and state control over a federal health care mandate the Governor fought long and hard against, but that was ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The Governor stated that staying engaged on this issue instead of walking away from the table is the best course to preserve and safeguard Idahoan’s options.
“I think it is a state’s rights issue. We should be at the table. I thought that with the wolves, and the grizzlies bears. I thought that with the caribou. I thought that with the sage hen and almost every other issue that has come up, we continue to think that. If we stay at the table, I think we can make a difference. We did make a difference in most of those negotiations.””
Governor Otter was also asked about the future of the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, and whether or not the recent report from the Leading In Nuclear Energy or (LINE) Commission would mean changing the terms of the historic 1995 Batt Agreement to get all the nuclear waste out of Idaho by 2035.
“We are not going to become the dumping ground for nuclear waste in Idaho. I have no disagreement with Governor Batt’s 1995 agreement. I thought it was great when he got the agreement. I thought it was great when we established a “get out of Idaho” by 2035, and I see no reason to change that. What I do see is a failure of the federal government and a potential conflict with them, because of their failure to open Yucca Mountain on time.”
Governor Otter will cover some of these topics and many others when he delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday, January 7, at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time.