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Eye On Boise

Nine ‘liberty legislators’ hold their own legislative preview

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, held a legislative preview last night in Meridian that promised to reveal “what conservatives want for the upcoming session,” featuring, along with her, Reps. Ron Nate, Karey Hanks, Dorothy Moon, Christy Zito, Priscilla Giddings, and Bryan Zollinger, and Sens. Dan Foreman and Tony Potts, the new appointee who replaced Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, when Davis left the Senate to become U.S. Attorney for Idaho.

“Liberty legislators are excited about our liberty agenda and our prospects during the upcoming session,” Scott said in a newsletter announcing the event. “We expect challenges and hurdles from the establishment, but our numbers are growing and I believe the majority of Idaho citizens think like we do.  I anticipate an increase in liberty legislator numbers after the May 2018 primary.” She said the group wants to repeal the grocery tax, "defeat the liberal agenda," reduce bureaucratic red tape, follow the Constitution, "stand for parental rights" and rein in overspending.

About 200 people attended the event, which was streamed live on Facebook. Among the highlights: Speaking of her fellow legislators, Scott said, “There’s a lot of bobble-heads down there and they just kind of vote how they’re told.” Giddings said the group only needs “three or four more conservatives to swing the House.” Potts spoke out against child immunizations and restrictions on evicting renters. Foreman said, “I voted no 40 percent of the time on expenditure bills. Most of the time I was by myself, that’s shameful. Stop worrying about re-election and start doing the right thing.”

Hanks spoke out against efforts to restore state agencies to pre-2009 levels, after recession-related cutbacks. “I just think we need to not be building our state agencies and have the money back at the local level,” she said.

Scott, Zito and Nate spoke out against moves to ban the sale of illegal fireworks in Idaho. “It’s a protectionist deal,” Zito said, citing Indian reservation fireworks sales. “We’re not creating a level playing field.”

Nate said he opposed restrictions “just as a principle of freedom, if you’re willing to take the responsibility of bad things that might happen.”

Scott said, “I was in the committee that bill came through, it’s being pushed by the Democrats, it’s being pushed by the urban areas. … I think it’s like 98 percent, most of Idaho lives in rural areas. So I think it’s coming from a small local few. I don’t think it’s a huge problem.”

Actually five urban counties in Idaho – Ada, Canyon, Bonneville, Kootenai and Twin Falls – plus Bannock County contain 77 percent of Idaho’s population. Idaho also is becoming increasingly urban, as its urban areas are where the state’s growth has been occurring, according to census figures.

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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