Posts tagged: idaho legislature
“It’s a broad infringement on constitutional rights,” Dakota Moore, National Rifle Association lobbyist, told the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning, of the state’s current policy of allowing public colleges and university to regulate guns on campus; all ban them. He contended that Idaho’s colleges and universities misinterpret current law. “It’s currently legal for you to possess a firearm on a college or university campus – the most a college or university can do is ask you to leave and potentially prosecute you under the criminal trespass standard,” Moore said/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Every day that the Idaho House passes a spending bill, Rep. Vito Barbieri says he’ll chime in to give the public a running count of the damages. “Taxpayers will be delighted to know that we only spent $1,931,200 today, for a total of $142,153,900,” Barbieri said during the announcement period at the close of Tuesday’s floor session. That was the fourth time Barbieri offered his accounting, a practice he vows to continue through the end of the session. “It’s a minor attempt at just highlighting the importance that what we do is appropriate billions of dollars,” said Barbieri, a fourth-year lawmaker from North Idaho. … But (Barbieri) got some recalibration after legislative leaders decided that it was time to correct Barbieri’s figures — which were exaggerated by about eight-fold”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Whose calculations do you believe — Barbieri's or GOP legislative leaders?
BOISE – Costs to the state and counties for Idaho’s unique catastrophic medical care program more than doubled from 2002 to 2013, and they’re expected to continue to mount if the program stays as-is.
Next year, the state’s portion of the bill is expected to jump 10.6 percent to $38.5 million, state lawmakers learned Thursday. The rest of the cost is paid by each county’s property taxpayers.
“This is the nature of our program,” Roger Christensen, a Bonneville County commissioner and chairman of the state Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program board, told legislative budget writers. “It doesn’t allow for preventive care, so we deal with the results after it becomes catastrophic, which is much more expensive, and it’s paid for dollar for dollar.” No federal matching funds are available. More here. Betsy Russell, SR
Legislators shouldn’t be able to also hold any other elected positions, Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, said today, offering legislation to make that Idaho law. The House State Affairs Committee voted to introduce the bill, but several members said they saw problems with such a blanket restriction. Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, noted that many rural communities have irrigation or ditch districts. Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, said his small community doesn’t have a lot of people to serve on sewer boards or fire district commissions. “I think this is worthy of discussion, but I think we should keep in mind our small rural communities,” he said. Read more.Betsy Russell, EOB
Do you think Idaho legislators should be able to hold other elected positions?
Idaho H&W chief Dick Armstrong this morning highlighted three “important state initiatives” that are coming in the next year:
Behavioral health community crisis centers for those with mental health or substance abuse disorders.
A child welfare pilot project to reduce foster care entries. Idaho has been chosen as the state to pilot this program, which is funded by a five-year federal grant.
The State Healthcare Innovation Plan, or SHIP. “This is not a Department of Health & Welfare Program,” Armstrong said, though federal funding is flowing through the agency. “It really is a partnership with health care providers, insurers and participants to transform the health care model … from paying for volume of visits to paying for improved patient outcomes.”
That’s life in Idaho, where about four out of five lawmakers are Republican, the right to petition the government is trampled and local rule is overruled. More here.
Question: Now repeat after me, fellow Republican: “It's time to quit voting straight-ticket Republican until the Idaho Republican Party begins listening to Idahoans instead of extreme activists.” Got it?
Gov. Butch Otter is rejecting the notion that a projected $162 million in unexpected revenue means the 2014 Legislature should aim to boost spending. Otter said he’s “bound and determined that the government is not going to grow back at the same rate that the economy grows” and said the lessons of the Great Recession prove government can do with less by exercising fiscal discipline, co-locating agencies and engaging in partnerships outside of government. “That all suggests to me that there’s no reason to go back to the old way of doing things: because we got a little extra money, let’s spend it,” Otter said in a Tuesday afternoon meeting with the Idaho Statesman editorial board/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Sounds like Gov. Otter is proud of Idaho's ranking as second-to-last state in the nation for spending per capita on public school students. Am I reading this right?
The annual Sine Die Report, or Key Actions Summary, of this year’s legislative session is out now from the Legislative Services Office and posted on the Legislature’s website here. Among the interesting things it points out about the 2013 session: Fewer bills were drafted this year than any year in the past 40 years, at 777, “but curiously, the number of these RS’s that became law was the highest percentage ever recorded at close to 50 percent. More. EOB
On a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being highly successful, 1 being abysmal failure, how would you rate the accomplishments of this legislative session?
When several House Republicans sought to defect to the Senate during the 2012 elections, the conventional wisdom held that this shift would make the Senate more conservative — and more like the House. The verdict: Yes and no. The newcomers certainly had a profound impact Wednesday, when the Senate rejected the 2013-14 public schools budget. The six Republican newcomers all voted against the budget: Cliff Bayer, Boise; Jim Guthrie, McCammon; Marv Hagedorn, Meridian; Bob Nonini, Coeur d’Alene; Jim Patrick, Twin Falls; and Steven Thayn, Emmett. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde and fellow budget opponents needed every one of these votes, since the $1.308 billion budget was voted down by a 17-18 margin/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
Question: Why am I not surprised that Bob “No Comment” Nonini joined Goedde in this rebellion against the $1.3B Education budget?
Notable examples of jobs left incomplete: The telephone carrier that offers only incoming calls. The electrical utility that provides service only on weekdays. The fire department that calls it a day at 6 p.m. The 911 dispatcher who asks you to leave a message while he takes a lunch break. The 2013 Idaho Legislature. Idaho's 105 lawmakers are so fixated on closing down their session Friday they'll leave unfinished the most important piece of business on their plate. Millions of tax dollars will go wasted and hundreds of Idahoans could die in the process. At issue is Idaho's opportunity to extend Medicaid coverage to impoverished adults. Obamacare gives Idaho that option beginning Jan. 1. No state has a better reason to take this deal/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
The House has voted down legislation that it passed last year, to ban kids age 15 and younger from using artificial tanning beds in commercial salons, and require parental consent for those ages 16 or 17. The bill failed on a 25-43 vote. “If a high school student comes to school with a tan, is that high school student immediately sent to the principal’s office and asked where’d you get the tan?” asked Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa. “I really think that there’s a personal responsibility here, and I think we’re really overstretching”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: The Idaho Freedom Foundation tweeted that this vote is a victory for parents' rights. Do you agree?
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, pictured on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in her Capitol office, holds a photo of her son, Reuben, during a 2011 ceremony in Rome where he became a Catholic priest of the Legionaries of Christ congregation. Nuxoll's own deep faith regularly guides her votes on bills, including the recent state-based insurance exchange she opposed on fear it does too little to halt abortions. (AP photo: John Miller)
With paintings of George Washington, family photos and plaques from the Future Farmers of America, Idaho lawmakers who virtually live at the Capitol this time of year have personalized their offices, providing a home away from home while conducting the people's business. Adornments on senators' and representatives' walls reflect who they are, where they're from — and often, how they legislate. Occasionally, they offer a touching insight into the events that have shaped their lives. Take Rep. Maxine Bell, of Jerome, with a print of Logan, Utah, above her desk, showing the Cache Tabernacle and the building that once housed Brigham Young College. Logan is where Bell, the longtime House Republican budget committee chairwoman, spent her first eight years/John Miller, Associated Press. More here.
Question: How do you decorate your office?
House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke (pictured), R-Oakley, publicly announced he is running for speaker of the Idaho House. Bedke, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2000, is challenging current House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale. Denney has held the position for six years. “It’s time for a change,” Bedke told the Times-News. Rumors have circulated about the House speaker race for months, with the Idaho Statesman interviewing Denney about his intent to seek another term. Bedke had previously declined to comment. Denney couldn’t be reached for comment for this story, but last week he told the Statesman he would campaign aggressively to keep his position/Melissa Davlin, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.
Question: House Speaker Lawerence Denney's abysmal handling of all things related to Artful Tax Dodger Rep. Phil Hart is sound reasoning for electing a new speaker, if nothing else. What do you think?
If Lawerence Denney (pictured) were just one more talk radio crank, his dissociation from reality would be another form of entertainment for ditto heads. And if Mike Moyle were just another Republican Party conventioneer with a self-righteous disregard for evidence, he might settle for his 15 minutes of fame on a cable news outlet. But Denney, R-Midvale, is the speaker of the Idaho House. Moyle, R-Star, is the majority leader of that body. With rare exceptions, what they say goes. And when it comes to Obamacare, here's what they say: “Resistance usually comes at a cost, but the state of Idaho must resist Obamacare. The cost of not resisting will be much higher.” Translation: They resist. You pay. Denney and Moyle want Idaho to refuse expanding Medicaid coverage to poor adults - an option the U.S. Supreme Court gave states when it validated Obamacare/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are Republican legislative leaders in Idaho going to hurt state taxpayers — big time — by digging in against Supreme Court approved Obamacare?
In a church pew, faith is divine. But is it any way to run a state? For almost two years, from Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter on down, it was an article of faith that national health care reform - Obamacare - would be struck down as unconstitutional. So instead of preparing for its implementation in 2014, Idaho's leaders fought it. They resisted it. They ignored it. With the rhetoric of death squads and states rights ringing in their ears, Otter and the GOP rode to victory in the 2010 election. The following year, the Idaho Legislature flirted with the flammable mixture of defiance and anarchy - masquerading under the dubious principle of nullification. Otter danced right up to the edge of violating the U.S. Constitution, then vetoed a watered-down nullification bill and embodied most of its contents in an executive order/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Should the Should Butch Otter and the past to Idaho Legislatures have taken Obamacare more seriously?
With his closely cropped hair resembling a military buzz cut one would think Denton Darrington (pictured) was a former U.S. Marine. He’s not, but he is the living personification of the Marine motto —Semper Fi (Always faithful) — with his fidelity to family, friends, LDS faith, his state and country, the Idaho legislature and the teaching profession. After a record 30 years of service in the state senate, Denton is leaving and returning to his farm full-time since he also retired from the classroom, having been an educator for 33 years. The people of Idaho in general and supporters of education in particular owe him a solid vote of gratitude for a job well done. Rather than run against good friend State Senator Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), chair of the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, when redistricting combined their districts, Darrington, true to his genuine modesty, chose to retire/Chris Carlson, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.
Question: Will you be missed at your workplace when you retire?
When the state of Idaho made out its paychecks for tax-protesting state Rep. Phil Hart twice a month for the past seven years, the money didn’t go to Hart - it went straight to the IRS. That’s what Hart reported in documents filed this week in his bankruptcy case, in which he lists more than $600,000 in debt, most of it to the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission. In his supporting documents seeking a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, Hart reported, “100 percent of Legislative pay garnished since 2005, $16,000 annually.” Bruce Newcomb, who was Idaho’s longest-serving House speaker, said he was troubled by the revelation. “Let’s put it this way: I find it very odd,” he said. “A person has a right to protest their taxes. But this has been one of the more extreme endeavors I’ve ever seen in my life’s experience”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
The incident that cost Sen. John McGee his Senate seat, his role in legislative leadership and his future in Idaho politics resulted in a criminal charge Tuesday. Ada County Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for former state Sen. John McGee of Caldwell on a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace in connection with a complaint from a former secretary. The alleged incident occurred in McGee's legislative office in the Capitol during the 2012 session. According to the warrant, McGee “willfully and maliciously disturbed the peace or quiet of a person, by offensive conduct, to wit: on Feb. 7, 2012, he used profane and offensive language and/or offensive conduct in the presence of” a state employee. McGee, who was the No. 4 Republican in the Senate, resigned from the Senate on Feb. 22/Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: And this used to be one of the Idaho Republican Party's best & brightest? Hmm.
A legislative session that began with the promise of introducing long-overdue ethics guidelines ended with the Idaho Senate tossing a veil over the process and the House doing absolutely nothing. The hang-up continues to be the misguided notion that an orderly, transparent and independent process is an affront to the integrity of elected officials. The logic, or lack thereof, would appear to be this: Voters wouldn’t elect them if they thought they were unethical. This suggests that voters have the details of every politician’s background and business dealings at their fingertips before they fill out their ballots. They don’t, of course, and part of the reason is that lawmakers are insulted – or pretend to be – when asked/SR Editorial Board. More here. (Legislative photo: John McGee, who quit Idaho Senate in disgrace during 2012 session after series of missteps)
Question: How much does it matter to you that Idaho legislators failed miserably on the issue of ethics reform during the 2012 session — enough to influence your vote?
The House has voted 53-16 in favor of setting up a $200,000 legal defense fund for the Legislature, funded from the state's general tax funds and controlled by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro-Tem of the Senate. “It is for any time that they should happen to need outside legal counsel,” House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told the House. Minority Democrats spoke out against the bill. “This is a really interesting and I think wrong-headed precedent that we're setting here … and appropriating what's really a significant amount of money,” said Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise. “We already have a constitutionally elected officer in an office that handles these matters, and so we pay for that. So to have duplicative efforts like this definitely represents a growth of government, and I don't think it's prudent”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Doesn't this legislation show a lack of confidence in the voter-approved attorney general?