Here are some more issues Gov. Butch Otter has addressed this morning in response to questions from reporters at the AP Legislative Preview:
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Otter acknowledged that lawmakers have called for moves against the organization, including an investigation. “We have had legislators and a series of ‘em that signed a letter saying throw Planned Parenthood out of Idaho, do this or do that. And as we looked at it through the department that’s responsible for that, through the Health & Welfare Department, we have found no allegations. So what are we going to investigate? … I would suspect what we would come up with is maybe changing our anatomical gift portion of the state statutes to exclude fetuses. I’m not saying that that’s what’s going to happen. But I suspect that if there’s any direction going, it’s going that way. … But it’s tough when people just want to … flock-shoot, because of something that’s happening someplace else. You need some substance, you need some facts, other than just a general allegation. You actually need something to investigate. And we haven’t found that.”
TAX RELIEF: “I’m for tax relief whenever it will ease the economic burden on the people in the state of Idaho or increase the economic activity. … But as we’ve been talking about this morning, we’ve got some catchup to do. Our revenues are healthy. … I know there’s a lot of other states that would love to be where we are. Our greatest resource is the people of the state of Idaho, and our greatest effort on their behalf should be to get them educated and trained and schooled in order to participate fully and completely in our economic activity in the state of Idaho. So you can ask yourself which comes first, the chicken or the egg. … I have not heard, and I’ve talked to a lot of legislators, I have not heard an overwhelming majority calling for tax relief this year.”
BURNS PROTEST: Asked who he most identifies with in the Harney County protests, Otter said, “Who do I most identify with? The rule of law. Without the rule of law, we have nothing. That’s what our whole system of government is built around.” He noted that he didn’t try to occupy the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service when he objected to its new sage grouse land-use rules. “It’s the rule of law, and there are peaceful and legitimate ways to do things, and one of the ways you’ve got to do ‘em is without infringing on anybody else’s rights,” Otter said.