Senate Panel Passes Senator Nonini’s STEM Diploma Bill

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The Idaho Senate Education Committee passed Thursday a bill to recognize students excelling in STEM disciplines with a special diploma.

The bill, SB 1267, would recognize public school and public charter school students who complete more science and math classes than the three years required by the state.

The director of the STEM Action Center, Angela Hemingway, said Ohio and Colorado have recently passed similar legislation.

Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, said he proposed the legislation because of the progress he has seen at the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy.

“There are a number of students in Idaho high schools and Idaho charter schools who do four years of math and science,” Nonini said. “I thought it would be nice to recognize those students with a STEM designation, a STEM diploma, a STEM stamp on their traditional high school diploma — or whatever that particular charter school or school district would like to do for those students.”

Read the full article at the Coeur d’Alene Press here.

Nonini Campaigns for Lt. Gov. Post

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Sen. Bob Nonini, the latest to enter the five-way race for the Republican lieutenant gubernatorial nomination, was in eastern Idaho on Monday to tour Idaho National Laboratory facilities and meet with local political figures and business leaders.

“I can serve with any of the three people who will become governor and give them good assistance,” the Coeur d’Alene Republican said.

Nonini said he announced a year-and-a-half ago his support for Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s gubernatorial bid, and he hasn’t changed his endorsement. But he said he would be an asset if either Rep. Raúl Labrador or Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist won the Republican nomination.

A.J. Balukoff has announced he’s seeking the Democratic nomination.

Nonini first won an Idaho House seat in 2004, winning all his reelection bids until 2012, when he successfully ran for a Senate seat. The lifelong Idaho resident has been re-elected to the Idaho Senate twice since then.

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Senator Nonini Appointed to Idaho’s Higher Education Task Force

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The following is excerpted from the website on February 1, 2017.

Membership Announced for Higher Ed, Workforce Development Task Forces

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the full membership rolls today for two new task forces created to study and recommend how best to address Idaho’s “K-through-Career” education and job training needs beyond high school.

The Governor’s 36-member Higher Education Task Force and 17-member Workforce Development Task Force both have scheduled organizational meetings in Boise on Friday, February 10th to begin their work. They are patterned on the Governor’s successful Task Force for Improving Education, which submitted 20 recommendations for K-12 public school reforms. The State now is in the third year of a five-year plan for implementing those recommendations targeting teacher pay, preparation and professional development, local school accountability, post-secondary counseling, classroom technology and student performance.

“I’m excited to see such great willingness to participate in this important process. These citizens are eager to help identify and advance the most effective ways for Idaho to aggressively pursue our goals of educating and preparing more Idahoans for productive careers while addressing the growing employer demand for skilled workers,” Governor Otter said. “Individuals and organizations from throughout Idaho are joining in this effort to improve how we plan, fund and implement public policies that work for the people we serve.”

The Higher Education Task Force, led by co-chairs Linda Clark of the State Board of Education and Bob Lokken of Boise-based WhiteCloud Analytics, includes all members of the State Board of Education, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra. It also includes the presidents of Boise State University, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, the College of Southern Idaho, the College of Western Idaho, North Idaho College and Eastern Idaho Technical College.

State Senator Bob Nonini of Coeur d’Alene, Abby Lee of Fruitland and Janie Ward-Engelking of Boise; and Representatives Ryan Kerby of New Plymouth, Ilana Rubel of Boise and Wendy Horman of Idaho Falls also serve on the Higher Education Task Force. They will be joined by BSU student Josh Scholer, CWI student Matt Hauser, and CSI trustee Laird Stone of Twin Falls. The business community is represented by Skip Oppenheimer of Idaho Business for Education, bankers Mike Mooney and Park Price, David Pate of St. Luke’s Health System, Kurt Liebich of Boise-based RedBuilt, Steve Meyer of Boise’s Parkwood Business Properties, and Ray Stark of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

They are joined by BSU instructor and former legislator Wendy Jaquet of Ketchum, retired ISU vice president Bessie Katsilometes, and the Governor’s education adviser, Marilyn Whitney.

The Governor’s employer-driven Workforce Development Task Force is led by co-chairs Brian Whitlock of the Idaho Hospital Association and State Board of Education member David Hill. Its membership includes Bob Boeh of Idaho Forest Group representing natural resources employers, Trent Clark of Monsanto representing agribusiness, Scott Corsetti of Chobani representing food processing, Craig Graf of Meridian-based Micro 100 representing advanced manufacturing, Jeremy Grimm of Sandpoint-based Kochava and Steinar Hjelle of Micron Technology representing high-tech, Tom Harris of Western States Cat in Meridian and Bob Von Lintig of Western Construction in Boise representing the construction industry, Tim Komberec of Empire Airlines in Coeur d’Alene representing aeronautics, and Lonnie Krawl of Idaho Power representing the energy sector.

Task Force members representing workforce training and career-technical education include Staci Low of the West Ada School District, Marie Price of North Idaho College, and Scott Rasmussen of Idaho State University. The Legislature will be represented by Senator Michelle Stennett of Ketchum and Representative Rick Youngblood of Nampa. Idaho Department of Labor Director Ken Edmunds, Division of Career-Technical Education administrator Dwight Johnson and Department of Commerce Director Megan Ronk will facilitate the Task Force’s work and serve as non-voting advisory members.

The full membership lists for both task forces can be found here.

Greater local management is right solution for Idaho’s public lands

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The following article was originally published in The Coeur d’Alene Press on November 18, 2015, by Idaho State Senator Bob Nonini (R-Coeur d’Alene). It has been republished here with express permission from The Coeur d’Alene Press.

Idaho is blessed with incredible natural resources that should sustain our communities and grow Idaho’s economy. However, misguided policies coming out of Washington, D.C., created by individuals who don’t understand our Idaho values, threaten the use of these resources.

We need a leader who defends Idaho’s natural resources and those who make a living off the land.

Brad Little has been working on public lands issues his entire life. A third generation Idaho rancher and farmer from Gem County, he first cut his teeth on the Sagebrush Rebellion in the late 1970s.

Brad has a record of standing up to the federal government. In 2000, he led the group — which included Boise Cascade and recreational groups — that successfully sued and stopped a burdensome Clinton Administration regulation that would have locked up millions of acres of undesignated federal forestlands. Because of Brad’s leadership, a new Republican administration gave Idaho the opportunity to draft its own roadless rule, a rule that made sense for rural communities and their economies.

As important as proper education funding is, the rural public school districts in Idaho continue to suffer under federal land management due to lack of economic opportunities.

There are plenty of examples of common sense land management within our state. Federal forests and rangelands should be managed like state and privately held lands are currently managed — actively.

Out-of-state environmentalists claim that active management, or greater state and local management, are a threat to the health of our public lands. The evidence suggests otherwise. Every summer brings out-of-control wildfires, burning up hundreds of thousands of acres of forests and rangelands, and producing more smoke than any power plant or factory could. These catastrophic fires generally occur on federal lands. Something must be done.

All Idahoans want balance in the management of our public lands. We want access for hunting, fishing and recreation — opportunities for ranchers, farmers, miners and loggers to make a living — thriving rural economies and a healthy environment.
Accomplishing these goals requires as much local control as possible.

As it has been throughout its history, Idaho must be the preferred place for liberty and economic prosperity for this generation and generations to come. This continued prosperity can only happen with the freedom of greater local management of Idaho’s public lands, leading to better management of Idaho’s natural resources.

As Idaho’s next governor, Brad Little is the leader who is best prepared to defend Idaho’s natural resource industries and push back against constant threats from federal mismanagement and overreach.

Contribution to STEM Academy

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Senator Nonini Facilitates Contribution to STEM Academy

Senator Nonini’s assistance was pivotal in getting the STEM Charter Academy started. He introduced Dr. Finman to Chief Allen to facilitate the donation for this wonderful program.

Photo courtesy of CDA Press (


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By BRIAN WALKER/Staff writer

Local officials are continuing their quest to have an 88-bed state veterans home built to serve the Panhandle.

Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin is sending nearly 3,000 signatures on a petition to the Idaho American Legion in support of a facility in Post Falls.

“(The state Veterans Affairs office) indicates we already meet a lot of the preliminary requirements and should be in good shape when the application dates open,” Larkin said. “There’s a huge need for it.”

There are an estimated 18,000 veterans just in Kootenai County, and the facility would serve all of North Idaho.
“It’s time for us to have our own veterans home,” Larkin said.

Larkin said it was hoped that the application for the project would be sent this spring, but he learned this week that the application process won’t likely happen until next year.

“Quite frankly I am disappointed (about the possible delay) as (the state) has had a year to get the particulars done,” Larkin said. “But the good news is the funds (from the VA) are still intact.”

Larkin said a site in the Tullamore area off Highway 41 near Prairie Avenue is among the locations being explored. A site donation – or one at a reduced cost – is also being looked into.

“There is much hope that is where it will be located,” said Larkin, a Vietnam and Korean War veteran.

Kerri Thoreson, a Post Falls City Council member and curator of the R.D. Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza in Kootenai County, said local officials are in it for the long haul to see the project happen.

“We’re determined to take the steps necessary to see it become a reality,” she said.

The proposal, which has been discussed for about a year, is on the radar of multiple state legislators and was discussed at last week’s legislative town hall meeting in Post Falls.

Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said he’ll be working with other legislators to get an appropriation for the state’s veterans budget to have a marketing analysis completed.

“This will take time and funding before a decision is made on authorizing a vets home in the Post Falls area,” Eskridge said.
The VA can only help with 65 percent of the funding for the facility and the rest needs to be raised.

The total cost for similar facilities, including the building and land, is in the $20 million range.

Larkin said he recognizes raising 35 percent of the cost will be a challenge, but he remains optimistic that the facility will come to life.

Last year the state VA office had about $30 million in uncommitted funding at one point, Larkin said.

He said there’s a lot of interest in making the facility happen.

“A lot of people are ready to step up and help, and we’re asking them to be patient for the time being,” Larkin said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of help with labor and materials.”

Larkin said he’s pleased to hear funding is being pursued for the project by some legislators.

“One of our fears is that the legislators will go after the VA money to fill other gaps,” he said. “It is our feeling that every nickel of that money belongs to the vets, not the General Fund.”

Multiple veterans organizations have supported the project, including passing resolutions and gathering signatures. State veterans officials have said such support helps when the project is considered at the state and federal levels.

The closest state vets home, which serves all of North Idaho, is in Lewiston. Other homes are in Boise and Pocatello. Most homes of this type in the region are at capacity.

Larkin said he has been collaborating with several officials, including those at other veterans facilities in the West, in how to best make the facility a reality.

An 88-bed vets home was recently contracted in Walla Walla and Larkin wonders if the North Idaho proposal can piggyback off that.

“We are thinking we should be able to borrow the plans, materials list and construction bid documents from them and that alone could help on the cost,” he said.

Larkin said some people believe a veterans hospital is being proposed, but that’s not the case.

“There will be limited medical help (at the home),” he said.


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Rep. Bob Nonini has been a champion of our state’s rights. He has for several years fought against the federal government and the EPA with their ridiculous plans in the Silver Valley. He supported the legislation that made Idaho the first state in the country to say no to “Obamacare.” He has been an outspoken critic of the EPA’s proposed waste-water rules for the cities of Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

One thing you can count on Nonini for is his dedicated willingness to fight for what is right and fight to protect the rights of the state if Idaho. Bob Nonini is the kind of legislator that I want representing me. Please join me and vote for Bob Nonini on Nov. 2.

Post Falls