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What changed, what didn’t in GOP platform…

Idaho Republican Party officials say their platform got a good "going-over" at their state party convention in Twin Falls last weekend, with days of subcommittee and committee hearings before the new version was presented to the full convention and approved. "I think everybody got a chance to say what they wanted to say," said platform chairman Grant Loebs. "If there was strong disagreement, it wasn't strong enough that anybody wanted to take it to the floor and bring it up."

My analysis shows that despite being reorganized and updated, the vast majority of the platform remained unchanged from the platform adopted by the party in Idaho Falls two years ago. Among items remaining unchanged: Provisions for a closed primary election; calls to repeal the 17th Amendment that provided for direct election of U.S. senators; abolishing the federal reserve, returning to the gold standard and encouraging Idahoans to "participate in a systematic acquisition of precious metals which represent real value as opposed to paper currencies;" support for privatizing Social Security; support for nullifying federal laws seen as unconstitutional; a call to amend the Idaho Constitution to eliminate the citizens reapportionment commission; and opposition to term limits.

Said GOP activist Rod Beck, "The platform got a much heavier going-over than it ever has before. ... There was plenty of opportunity by anybody who wanted to amend any of those areas to do so, and they chose not to do it."

What changed:

* The phrase "naturally born" was removed from a plank opposing "expansion of the definition of marriage beyond that of a bond between one naturally born man and one naturally born woman." Loebs said the change was to accommodate people with certain medical conditions at birth.
* A section on labor issues was shortened; among items removed was this sentence: "We support the Idaho Human Rights Commission, which allows for initial in-state handling of employment discrimination." Loebs said, "There was no opposition to the Human Rights Commission, but they decided that really the statement of support for it was basically superfluous."
* This sentence was added: "We support the total abolition of inheritance taxes."
* On abortion, after "We reaffirm our support for the sanctity of life," the phrase "from conception to natural death" was added. Removed was this sentence: "We recognize many strong and diverse views within our party membership on this issue."
* This paragraph was removed: "We believe there is an inseparable link between a vibrant economy and a high-quality education system. It takes a vibrant economy to provide the tax base necessary to fund a high-quality education system. Equally, it takes a high-quality education system to provide the highly skilled labor force necessary to meet the demands of a growing, vibrant economy."
* Several sections were reworded and shortened, and the order of topics was changed.

Loebs said, "It's much more concise now than it was."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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