March 22, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Rare Chadderdon measure allows only made-in-U.S. flags for government

Betsy Z. Russell
 

BOISE – Rep. Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d’Alene, isn’t known for authoring lots of legislation. So when she brought forward her bill this week to ban state and local government agencies from purchasing U.S. or Idaho state flags unless they’re U.S.-made, it stood out.

Chadderdon, a third-term Republican, said she’s enjoyed working on the flag bill, which she called “very patriotic legislation.”

Previously, she’s sponsored a proclamation honoring Hudson’s Hamburgers and a resolution on literacy. As far as actual bills, rather than proclamations or resolutions, she worked on a bill regarding sex offenders and distance from schools, which generated lots of interest; and she recalled one she proposed her freshman year regarding requiring notary stamps to be in red ink, requested by a local deputy sheriff. “I got it introduced, got it printed,” she recalled, and then a fellow lawmaker asked if she’d checked with the Secretary of State, Ben Ysursa. “So I called Ben,” Chadderdon said, and found out there was a downside to the bill: “It would cost the state, like, half a million dollars.”

She withdrew the bill, she recalled laughingly.

Chadderdon said she has a bill in the works to create a special license plate honoring pets, to benefit pet-sterilization programs, but is still working on bringing together a coalition behind the bill. She also has one other piece of legislation in the works she’s not yet ready to discuss.

She said, “Coming out of Coeur d’Alene, I’m very pleased to represent a county that has pretty good legislative representation.” The local chamber, the county and the school district closely watch legislative affairs, she said, and make sure local needs get attention.

Idaho law: Sell the first guy all the Wiis?

Did you know that it was illegal – a misdemeanor – for any Idaho retailer to limit the quantity of a particular item to be sold to a customer, to any number lower than the entire number the retailer has? I sure didn’t. Apparently, no one in Idaho retail did, either, judging by all the “limit three at this price” and “one per customer” sales we routinely see.

Turns out, Idaho’s “Unfair Sales Act” makes that strictly illegal. “This law was imposed in the ’60s and hasn’t been enforced for the last two decades,” freshman Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, told the Senate recently. The Idaho Retailers Association noticed the law last year when there was a rice shortage, and proposed SB 1126 to repeal it. At Smyser’s urging, the Senate passed the bill unanimously, 35-0, and sent it to the House.

They’re taking off their jackets

If things start to look a little more casual in the Idaho House from this point on, here’s why: This week, Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, asked for unanimous consent to “Suspend Rule 70 for the rest of the session.” That House rule is the one regarding “Session Decorum,” which states, “(1) Smoking and the consumption of food and beverage will not be allowed in the Representative Chamber or gallery while the House is in Session. (2) Persons in the Chamber shall wear proper attire to maintain decorum of the House.”

The rule typically is suspended as the session inches into the warmth of spring, to allow overheated lawmakers to remove their jackets and perhaps sip a cold soda while they’re on the floor. Usually, though, the rule is suspended with the exception of smoking.

Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, quickly noted Smith’s omission, and asked to modify his request to add: “except smoking and spitting.” Amid laughter in the two-tiered House chamber, Raybould explained, “Those of us who might be a little bit liable from something from above, I would hope that would be suspended.” There was no objection, so the speaker announced that Rule 70 has been suspended “except for smoking and spitting” for the remainder of this year’s legislative session.

‘Perfect for this building’

Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, was recruited to chair a bipartisan committee that worked on compromise legislation on teacher contracts and other education issues, in part because of his background in conflict resolution. A longtime state trooper and POST instructor, Wills also has done conflict resolution work in his own consulting business.

Asked about it, Wills said he’s an expert in “de-escalation tactics” and “verbal judo,” along with other techniques designed to “redirect aggression and anger.” Said Wills, “It is perfect for this building.”

No hearing planned

The Idaho Senate has voted 19-15 in favor of the bill from Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, to repeal exemptions to the state’s child car-seat law, which would make Idaho eligible for enough federal money to buy about 7,000 child safety seats a year for low-income families who can’t afford them. The exemptions include one allowing babies to be removed from their car seats on the road for nursing or changing, and one for when there aren’t enough seat belts in the car.

Idaho now misses out on the funds because its law doesn’t qualify. But House Transportation Chairwoman JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said this week she doesn’t plan to give the bill a hearing in her committee, because she sees it as too intrusive on families.

Betsy Z. Russell can be reached toll-free at (866) 336-2854 or bzrussell@gmail.com. For more news from Boise go to www.spokesman.com/boise.


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