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Eye On Boise

Bill passes, 52-18

HB 391, the Idaho Health Freedom Act, has passed the House on a 52-18 vote - a straight party-line vote, with all Republicans voting in favor, and all Democrats voting against. Shortly before the vote, Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, began her debate for the bill by saying, "You either believe in the Constitution of the United States or you don't. You either believe in the oath of office that you took or you don't." At that, Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, objected. "That's over the line," he said.

House Speaker Lawerence Denney agreed. "Good lady, if you would stick to the bill and not involve personalities or opinions we would appreciate it," he said. Barrett responded, "I do not take back anything that I have said," so Ruchti said, "Mr. Speaker, then I continue to object." Barrett asked what she was supposed to do. "I think all you need to do is acknowledge that a 'no' vote is not necessarily dereliction of their oath of office, because that is casting a sense that they are not as patriotic or perhaps do not believe in the Constitution. That can be your opinion, but we certainly don't need that to be a..." Barrett said, "All right, Mr. Speaker, I will try to take another tack if that's acceptable." Ruchti responded, "Thank you, Mr. Speaker." Barrett then said, "We don't know what federal government is going to do with  health care. ... It's always better to be safe than sorry."



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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