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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho GOP platform changes include opposition to workforce training funding, embryo destruction

By Logan Finney Idaho Reports

The Idaho Republican Party has adopted its platform changes for the next two years at its state convention in Coeur d’Alene, including expanding its anti-abortion stance, calling for an end to no-excuse absentee voting, and advocating for an end to all government funding and programs not required by the constitution.

Idaho Reports obtained the committee reports that party staff emailed to convention participants early Saturday morning.

Delegates voted to expand the anti-abortion “Right to Life” plank to include euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as destruction of embryos, a practice connected to in vitro fertilization.

Another successful proposal expresses opposition to “using taxpayer funding for programs beyond high school.” The amendment is likely aimed at the Idaho Launch workforce training grant program, but some delegates expressed concern that it could be interpreted as opposing all higher education funding.

The party voted to add a section to the “State Sovereignty” plank that says “Idaho has the right and obligation to remove from our State any and all people that are unlawfully present within our borders.” The party also amended the “National Defense” plank to call on the governor to use the Idaho National Guard to repel “an overwhelming invasion of illegal aliens” enabled by the federal government.

Another platform addition supports in-person voting and calls for excuse-only absentee ballots.

The platform committee did not advance six of its proposal submissions to the convention floor.

For example, the committee did not advance a suite of amendments from Bonneville County delegate William Athay that proposed softening or removing several planks of the platform, including its calls to repeal the 16th and 17th amendments and abolish the Federal Reserve.

News media were not allowed into any of the convention proceedings as of Saturday afternoon. Professional journalists have had to rely on secondhand accounts from convention participants.

Multiple individuals told Idaho Reports that no substantial changes were made to the platform report. You can read the full platform committee report below.

“There’s a shared sense of purpose in there,” said GOP Region II chairman Bjorn Handeen, who chaired the platform committee.

Attorney General Raúl Labrador said the tenor this year is not too different than that of prior conventions. He said the event benefits from using a professional parliamentarian who is not aligned with a particular faction of the party.

“It’s good to have an independent person who’s just trying to make sure that the rules are being followed,” Labrador said. “I think everyone who’s been up has done a really good job of when they are in doubt of what they should do, they turn and they go to the parliamentarian and ask, what’s the right thing to do here?”

Not all participants were enthusiastic about the direction of the platform, however.

“You’re going to see more legislators ignoring it,” said Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen, a delegate from Bonneville County. “You’re going to see a real differentiation between the party and elected legislators.”

The convention reconvened in the afternoon to consider resolutions and elect party officers.