Lawmakers concerned with ambiguity of language in a proposal to create a state jobs council pitched to the House State Affairs Committee by House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, voted to reject the plan Wednesday.
Rusche crafted the legislation that would have formed a state jobs council to represent various interests throughout the state. He said the Idaho Departments of Labor and Commerce would both have representative seats on the council, as would the governor's office, legislators, and various business interests. The council would serve to find ways in which government and private entities could collaborate to spur economic growth and create jobs in the struggling economy, said Rusche. Council members would receive no payment for their work, but would be eligible to receive reimbursement for mileage traveled for meetings. The bill estimated that the council could incur as much as $35,000 in travel reimbursements.
Upon creation of the council, council members would meet and discuss economic growth in the state. The bill would required the council to issue an annual report to the governor and Legislature about its findings. The council would also be charged with finding ways to secure more federal funding and grants for various economic-enhancement projects.
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, questioned the clarity of the bill, stating that the bill didn't work to specify exactly who would sit on the panel. The bill contained wording that said that "any private citizen" could sit on the council, which was a problem for Luker, who expressed concern over the amount of travel reimbursement that could go on if the bill was enacted.
Rusche acknowledged the mistake, saying that he had probably not provided enough clarity as to who could sit on the council and who would designate or appoint council members.
The committee voted to reject the measure, but encouraged Rusche to continue work on the plan, which he said he will do.