Eye On Boise

Harwood: 'They oughta back off'

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, asks the House State Affairs Committee to introduce his resolution declaring Idaho's sovereignty from the federal government, which he said
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, asks the House State Affairs Committee to introduce his resolution declaring Idaho's sovereignty from the federal government, which he said "oughta back off." The committee agreed on a 13-4 vote to introduce his bill. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, wants Idaho to declare its sovereignty from the federal government. He persuaded the House State Affairs Committee, on a 13-4 vote, to introduce his resolution this morning, though some members objected to his contention that it could save the state millions of dollars. "One of the things the states did, they created the federal government as an agent for theirselves," Harwood told the committee, and quoted George Washington. "We have 31 states that have done this ... declared their sovereignty," he said. He cited the federal No Child Left Behind Act, EPA regulation of air quality, and endangered species rules as examples of the federal government impeding the state's sovereignty, and objected to the feds telling the state "you gotta do this or else. We think they oughta back off and let the states govern themselves a little bit."

Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart, D-Boise, objected that the bill was "over-reactionary" and said, "It alarms me that we are taking a step to the far right at a time that we need to be working together." The idea that Idaho could save millions by being free of the federal government "is very inaccurate - that's not the case at all," she said. Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, noted that Idaho receives federal funds for everything from Medicaid to highways. "We need to work with the federal government rather than stick a pencil in their eye," she said. But Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said, "We don't stand up for ourselves, who will? Our rights, our constitutional rights, are being trampled right before our eyes." Rep. Erik Simpson said, "I personally don't see any harm in sending a message to the federal government that the state of Idaho respects the Constitution." Harwood said he looks forward to the committee's full hearing on his measure.




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