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Eye On Boise

Labrador gets anti-gang bill through House; Simpson secures $$ for Idaho

Both of Idaho’s U.S. House members are announcing legislative victories today, with 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador lauding a House vote today that passed his bill to make it easier to deport members of alien criminal gangs; and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson securing funding for Idaho programs including the Idaho National Laboratory; Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILT; wildfire suppression funding at $3.4 billion, the 10-year average, plus additional funding for hazardous fuels management; potato and wheat research; preventing closure of the U.S. Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois; and more. The 2018 funding bill that Simpson shepherded through the House also includes language targeting the “waters of the United States” rule and preventing listing of sage grouse as an endangered species.

“This bill is an important marker for many Idaho priorities such as PILT, wildfire funding, and provisions that rein in burdensome regulations from the previous administration,” Simpson said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to see that these policies ultimately are signed into law so we can ensure federal agencies can fulfill their missions as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The House-passed funding bill, which would cover the remainder of fiscal year 2018, now will go to a conference with the Senate; final funding decisions for the year are due by Dec. 8, when a continuing resolution now in place will expire. The House voted 211-198 in favor of the bill today.

Labrador’s bill, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, passed the House today on a vote of yesterday on a vote of 233-175. “Why should law-abiding Americans have to wait until an alien gang member has committed a deportable offense?” Labrador asked in his floor speech in favor of the measure. “Why not deport the gang member before he has a chance to victimize more innocent people?”

Labrador said his bill would respect due process, and those who contend they’re wrongly tabbed as gang members could appeal. It’s the third bill to pass the House that’s a piece of the “Davis-Oliver” immigration enforcement crackdown bill that Labrador introduced in May; the larger bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, but then stalled. The other two were “Kate’s Law,” aimed at increasing penalties for deported felons who return to the U.S.; and the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which would target sanctuary cities. Neither has come up in the Senate.

Labrador is the chairman of the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. Simpson chairs the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and also serves on two other Appropriations subcommittees.

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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