August 25, 2019

1/22/2019 – Article/Audio: Rep. Rubel discusses youth hearing aid coverage legislature

  • Article Link: “Youth Hearing Aid Coverage Re-Visited In Legislature”
  • About: Private insurance does not cover the costs for most hearing aids for youths. Efforts to change that are afoot in the state legislature. Idaho Matters follows up with the representative spearheading the initiative and the mother of three children who require hearing aids. Ilana and parent Gretchen Fors discuss mandating insurance coverage for youth hearing aids.

1/21/2019 – Boise schools would lose $6.6 million under proposed school funding formula

A new proposed school funding formula has been put forth that is based on student enrollment and takes various other factors into account. According to this analysis, Boise schools would stand to lose $6.6 million under the proposed new formula, so I will have to give long and hard thought into whether the plan makes sense. I hope you will come to our town halls to discuss this and other important items coming up.

1/21/2019 – Rep. Rubel re-introducing bipartisan legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentencing

Last week, Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick told the Legislature, “the courts realize there are better ways to handle criminality than building bigger jails and prisons.” We also recently learned that Idaho is 3rd in the nation for portion of the population incarcerated or on parole, and a large portion of our imprisoned population is comprised of non-violent drug addicts. Before session, the Dept. of Corrections announced they would need $500 million to build more prison space. Because such an expense would take away from school and road funding, I think we need to take a hard look at our incarceration practices. I plan to re-introduce bipartisan legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders, which passed the House last year with a large majority but did not get a vote in the Senate. Here’s an article I wrote with my GOP co-sponsor describing the bill. I’ll need help from the public to convince the Senate Chairman to give it a hearing and get it passed. Please respond to this email if you’re willing to help advocate.

1/21/2019 – Final approval given for rule change that will assure coverage for kids’ hearing aids

You may remember that I’ve been working with a group of parents and doctors for over a year to secure insurance coverage for hearing aids for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The lack of such coverage meant that affected families were heavily burdened and many children had to go without the needed devices. Last Thursday, we secured final approval for the rule change that will assure coverage for kids’ hearing aids as well as 45 speech therapy visits. I can’t tell you how excited I am that we finally got this done.

Here is part of the Dream Team that made it happen, moments after we passed it unanimously in committee:

January 21 Newsletter image

On another healthcare note, many are wondering what’s happening with Medicaid expansion. After the passage of Proposition 2, Governor Little expressed his intent to implement the will of the voters “in an Idaho way”. As session unfolds, we will learn more about what this means, but I for one will fight to implement Medicaid expansion exactly as passed by voters, without additional barriers to coverage.

1/21/2019 – State of the State / Idaho’s revenue situation

Governor Little delivered his 2019 State of the State address and released his proposed budget. I was encouraged by his stated commitment to education and public lands (including meaningful proposed increases to teacher salaries and boosted funding for literacy programs). Unfortunately, due to last year’s tax cut and associated withholding problems, we are now facing a serious revenue shortfall, and within days of the address JFAC reduced the Governor’s revenue forecast by $93 million (and 6,000 federally employed Idahoans not receiving their paychecks due to the shutdown will not help our revenue situation). This shortfall makes it less likely we’ll be able to pursue all the investments outlined by the Governor. It also means you may be getting an unpleasant surprise in your April tax bill as many Idahoans have under-withheld under the new tax law. The Tax Commission has developed a new W-4 form, available here, which all employers are encouraged to switch to immediately.

1/17/2019 – Article: “Insurers now required to cover hearing aid costs for Idaho children”

  • Article Link: “Insurers now required to cover hearing aid costs for Idaho children”
  • Excerpt: A rule change passed by the Idaho Legislature on Thursday means that 1,000 Idaho families who have deaf or hard of hearing children, will soon no longer need to pay for hearing aids out of pocket. “Often this deafness is congenital, so it’ll hit a family hard,” House Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel said. “They might have two or three or more kids who are deaf or hard of hearing, and so then not only do they have to come up with $5,000 a pair, they might have to come up with $15,000 to get pairs for all of their kids and that’s just more than families can handle.”

2018-2014: Content Archive

February 7, 2018: “Medicaid Dental Bill Moves Ahead In Idaho Legislature”

February 6, 2018: “Rubel keeping busy at state Legislature”

February 2, 2018: “KBOI Minority Friday Interview with Rep. Ilana Rubel” (YouTube)

January 18, 2018: “Legislation seeks to help fund hearing aids for children”

December 26, 2017: “Hindsight Tells Us Mandatory Minimum Sentences Don’t Work”

December 17, 2017: “Idaho businesses want 2016 noncompete law repealed”

September 17, 2017: “How a ‘co-op’ education could propel Idaho kids toward prosperity”

September 11, 2017: “Idaho’s noncompete law is bad news”

March 27, 2017: “Civil asset forfeiture reform wins unanimous approval in House”

March 22, 2017: “Inside Politics: On climate change we need leaders, not ostriches”

March 15, 2017: “No Public Hearing on Climate Change? State Rep. Has One Anyway”

March 15, 2017: “Big crowd turns out for informational hearing on climate change”

February 10, 2017: “Do not be conned by the ‘Con-Con’ method of amending our Constitution”

January 27, 2016: “Focus needed on women, families in Idaho”

March 5, 2015: “House backs measure to keep states from requiring GMO labeling”

March 2015: Rep. Ilana Rubel debates HJM4 (YouTube – 3 minutes)

January 28, 2015: “AG’s Opinion Re: Add The Words”

January 2015: Rep. Ilana Rubel testifies for “Add The Words” campaign (YouTube – 22 minutes)

March 2014: Rep. Ilana Rubel debates against “Guns On Campus” bill (YouTube – 13 minutes)

March 2014: Rep. Ilana Rubel leads opposition against “Ag Gag” bill (YouTube – 9 minutes)

March 2014: Rep. Ilana Rubel opposes bill to fund wolf killing (YouTube – 4 minutes)

February 26, 2014: Boise Weekly -article noting Rep. Ilana Rubel’s opposition to the “Ag Gag” bill

February 26, 2014: Idaho Statesman – Rep. Ilana Rubel’s opposition to the “Ag Gag” bill

February 21, 2014: The Wildlife News – article regarding “Wolf Control Board”

February 17, 2014: Spokesman Review – article regarding “Wolf Control Board”

January 22, 2014: Boise Weekly – profile on Rep. Ilana Rubel

January 16, 2014: Idaho Education News – profile on Rep. Ilana Rubel

January 8, 2014: Idaho Statesman – article regarding the appointment of Rep. Ilana Rubel