Founder and President Wayne Hoffman says the Idaho Freedom Foundation was formed as a “free-market think tank,” but the keynote speaker at IFF’s annual fundraising banquet this year, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, said, “That’s really a misnomer, because you’re a ‘do’ tank.” IFF is loosely affiliated with similar groups in other states through the State Policy Network.
Hoffman touts IFF accomplishments including:
• Getting legislation passed in 2011 to require a public vote to form a new urban renewal agency, and then conducting an educational campaign against an urban renewal ballot measure in May in Shoshone County, after which the measure was defeated.
• Getting legislation killed for two straight years that sought to limit minors’ use of artificial tanning beds, based on skin cancer risk; the bill was sought by Idaho dermatologists.
• Persuading the Idaho Legislature this year to enact new rules requiring video of legislative sessions to be preserved and archived rather than deleted after five days.
• Writing legislation allowing the governor to sign an executive order authorizing the killing of wolves that threaten property or people; it passed and became law.
• Promoting legislation that passed the House, but failed in the Senate, to provide $10 million in tax credits for scholarships to entice students to move from public to private schools. “IFF’s role in getting the legislation through the House was huge,” the group wrote in its 2013 Idaho Legislative Review.
• Promoting in 2009, and getting passed in 2010, the “Idaho Health Freedom Act,” requiring the state to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act.
• Persuading lawmakers to end a tax form check-off that provided funding to political parties.
• Bringing Utah Rep. Ken Ivory to Idaho in December to address lawmakers about the state taking control of federal lands, prompting two resolutions on that topic to pass.
Betsy Z. Russell