On January 31, twenty local high school students met at the Idaho State Capitol for Youth Lobby Day. Coordinated by the American Heart Association, Youth Lobby Day is an opportunity for students to learn more about the Idaho State Legislature, meet with representatives, engage in issue advocacy, and see firsthand how our political system operates.
This year, students met with legislators to ask for continued funding for Safe Routes to School. They shared personal stories, and encouraged legislators to continue funding the program. Currently the Children Pedestrian Safety Program, which provides funding for projects that serve Safe Routes to School, is in the Surplus Eliminator bill which is set to sunset in May 2019, after which dollars would no longer be available.
With the state’s revenues currently below original projections, students were told that the fate of the Surplus Eliminator extension is uncertain. However, the students were well received by the legislators and showed great poise and leadership.
As for February 8th, Senator Den Hartog introduced legislation(S. 1063) that would extend the sunset on the Strategic Initiatives Program, where Safe Routes gets its current state funding. We’ll see where it goes from here! If you are interested in updates on this possible change in state funding, be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter.