Statehouse preview: Two meetings to watch

Two groups of legislators will meet early next week at the Statehouse — and the meetings could affect K-12 Internet access and funding.

A legislative “interim committee” studying broadband issues has two full days of meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. K-12 issues dominate Monday’s agenda; lawmakers will hear from several vendors that are providing high-speed Internet in Idaho schools, and get an overview of California’s statewide school broadband system.

On Tuesday, much of the time will be spent discussing broadband options for universities and state agencies.

The 2015 Legislature created the broadband committee in the wake of the Idaho Education Network contract debacle. However, the committee was handed a broad assignment, including broadband issues facing state government.

Meanwhile, a tax policy “working group” will reconvene Tuesday morning — and in full public view.

Unlike interim committees, authorized by a vote of the Legislature, the working group has a shadowy origin. House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill assembled the committee to look at ways to make the state’s tax structure more competitive.

The committee met on Sept. 17 with little public notice, to the surprise and chagrin of some Statehouse observers. Earlier this week, lawmakers said future meetings would comply with state open meetings law. (Details from Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.)

Click here for a look at the working group’s agenda.

Check back at Idaho Education News next week for coverage of these meetings.