By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports
It’s 2013 all over again.
In a Thursday interview with Idaho Reports, Senate Education Committee chairman Dean Mortimer said at this time, he won’t rule out voting against the public education budget over an insurance funding dispute.
“If I were voting today on that specific portion of the K-12 budget, I would be voting against it,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer is also a member of the legislature’s joint budget committee. On Monday, the committee voted against a $15.2 million line item to address rising health care premiums, opting instead to put nearly $16 million in discretionary funding. That appropriation is coupled with intent language directing school districts to spend the money on health care costs. (Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News has a run-down of the details and debate.)
Does this debate sound familiar? In 2013, Mortimer helped lead an insurrection on the Senate floor that ultimately killed the public education budget. The issue: Intent language directing how money should be spent.
Mortimer said on Thursday he’s not sure if he has the backing of the majority of the Senate, as he did in 2013. But if Monday’s debate offers any clues, it might be close: Of the six JFAC members who supported Mortimer’s plan, all were senators. (Read more at Betsy Russell’s Eye on Boise blog.)
We’ll have much more with Sen. Mortimer on our Friday show. In the meantime, here’s a brief clip of the conversation.