from Tahlequah Daily Press
State delegation introduced veterans health bill
With President Trump applying his signature on Dec. 20, a bill introduced by Oklahoma’s delegation has become law with unanimous support.
S. 1266, the “Enhancing Veteran Care Act” was introduced by Republican senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford on May 25 after Republican District 2 Rep. Markwayne Mullin sponsored a companion bill, House Resolution 42, on Jan. 3, 2017.
After emerging from the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs over the summer, the Senate passed the measure without a dissenting vote on Nov. 9, followed by another unanimous vote of the House of Representatives on Dec. 6.
Stabenow aims to improve wait times for veterans seeking medical care
The issue, he said, was with the Veterans Choice program — he was sent to the wrong doctor twice, and missed work and traveled long distances before he was connected with the doctor he needed months later.
“It shouldn’t have taken five months to see the doctor I needed, especially for something this scary and serious,” Sorensen said in a statement. “I know I’m not the only veteran in Michigan who has experienced these problems scheduling an appointment.”
from Spokane Spokesman Review
REP MIKE SIMPSON
He sponsored 12 bills in 2017, including a measure to provide more stable funding for wildfires and legislation renaming the White Cloud Wilderness in honor of Cecil Andrus, who fought to preserve the area as governor.
On the judicial front, Simpson also proposed splitting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals into a Ninth and new 12th Circuit, to better distribute the workload.
In December, the Department of Interior announced it would make no modifications to Craters of the Moon National Monument, following input from Simpson, Crapo and Risch.
“I applaud the department for honoring the local consensus,” Simpson said in a news release. “I worked with a diverse group of stakeholders over 10 years ago to ensure that Craters of the Moon reflects Idaho values and can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. I’m grateful that this review reflects our local solution.”
His biggest headlines, though, came from his vocal criticism of the Trump administration.
“I don’t even pay any attention to what’s going on with the administration, because I don’t care,” Simpson said in July. “They’re a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction. At first it was, ‘well, yeah, this is the guy we elected. He’ll learn, he’ll learn.’ And you just don’t see that happening.”
REP RAUL LABRADOR
Sponsored nine bills and resolutions in 2017, in addition to announcing a run for governor.
One of the first measures Labrador introduced was a constitutional amendment calling for term limits in Congress. The resolution would cap the Senate at two terms and the House at six terms, for a maximum of 12 years in either body.
He also sponsored legislation allowing veterans’ education benefits assigned to one child to be reassigned to a second child in the event the original beneficiary dies. Sen. Crapo sponsored a companion bill in the Senate.
The measure was signed into law in August.
Labrador’s Future Logging Careers Act passed the House in November and awaits action in the Senate. The bill lets 16- and 17-year-olds work for their parents in family-owned mechanized logging operations, similar to an existing provision for farm and ranch kids. Sen. Risch sponsored a companion bill in the Senate.
Labrador’s Davis-Oliver Act includes three provisions, initially authored by others, that subsequently passed the House and await action in the Senate.
One, called Kate’s Law, requires mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted of illegally entering the country after they’ve been deported. A second provision would withhold federal grant funding from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The third provision makes it easier to deport illegal aliens suspected of gang activity, and prohibits them from receiving immigration benefits, such as asylum or temporary protected status.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the latter measure, but President Trump has voiced his support for it. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, Labrador managed the floor debate when the bill passed the House in September.
US SENATOR JIM RISCH
from the Keene Sentinel
Repeal of net neutrality rules rankles business community
By Liora Engel-Smith Sentinel Staff
In a roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship in Keene, a handful of small business owners talked about the challenges they might face. Shaheen’s visit was part of a handful of events she held Friday, including a discussion in Swanzey on the need for a unified ZIP code in the town (see photos on A3).