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Politics & Government

Bill Altering Funding Stream For Idaho State Police Endorsed By Senate Committee

Idaho State Police

A bill that would change funding streams for the Idaho State Police is bound for a vote on the Senate floor.

As it stands, Idaho State Police gets a sizable portion of its $75 million budget – about $17 million – from the state’s Highway Distribution Account. That’s where money earmarked for bridge repair, roadway upgrades and other improvements comes from.

The bill’s sponsor is Senator Bert Brackett. His measure would phase ISP off of funds from the highway account over five years starting in 2021. Brackett says more money from the state’s general fund would make up the difference. During a meeting of the senate transportation committee this week, Brackett stressed one point about his proposal.

“This is not about defunding the state police,” Brackett declared. “It’s a policy decision about restructuring funding.”

Despite Brackett’s repeated assurances, Republican Senator Patti Anne Lodge felt conflicted.

“I’m getting all the emails from home saying more money for our bridges and for our roads that are in such bad shape, but then I’m thinking about the safety that’s provided by the state police,” Lodge said with real uncertainty in her voice. “So I’m just very, very concerned.”

As comments on the proposal continued, one lawmaker said not addressing the problem of the roads themselves would hamper ISP.

The bill passed out of the committee with just Senator Dave Nelson, a Democrat from Moscow, voting no. It’s now headed for the Senate floor with a do-pass recommendation.

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