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Idaho Legislature’s finance committee hits the road for fall budget meetings | Idaho

The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will begin three days of training and meetings Monday in Twin Falls.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee sets the state budget each year and is one of the largest, hardest working committees in the Idaho Legislature.

Although the Idaho Legislature is not in session now, JFAC’s fall meetings held outside of the Idaho State Capitol in Bosie have become a tradition and one of the warmups for a new legislative session that starts in January.

During this year’s road show in the Magic Valley, JFAC members will receive briefings on the state general fund and begin reviewing each of the agency budget requests for fiscal year 2024 — from K-12 public schools to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Medicaid, corrections and across the spectrum of state government. Committee members will also receive tours of the College of Southern Idaho, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s quality lab and a new juvenile court building.

Rep. Wendy Horman, an Idaho Falls Republican and JFAC member who often helps set the public school budgets, said the fall trainings and budget briefings are important enough that she’s making plans to secure a ride to participate in the first two days of meetings as she recovers from shoulder surgery.

“These meetings help the legislative session go more smoothly, so when we come in January, we won’t be coming in the dark. We will have had a strong review of what the (budget) requests are,” Horman said in a telephone interview.

This year’s fall training and budget review meetings may prove especially important in light of the turnover in the Idaho Legislature and on JFAC. At least 11 of JFAC’s 20 members will be new in the 2023 legislative session due to retirements and primary election losses in May.

Horman said several incumbent legislators and incoming legislators have expressed an interest in serving on JFAC given the openings. Horman said she held a sort of JFAC 101 training and 18 likely incoming legislators attended. Horman is also encouraging any incumbent legislators and legislative candidates to follow this week’s JFAC meetings to get up to speed.

Monday and Tuesday’s meetings begin at 8 a.m. at College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. Wednesday’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. at Bruneau Dunes State Park and continues with a tour of Anderson Ranch reservoir at 2 p.m. The public can also attend the meetings and agendas are available on the Idaho Legislature’s website.

The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 9 at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise with the governor’s annual state of the state address.

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