Last Tuesday, a group of eight international exchange students from the Ukraine and Kurdistan visited the State Capitol. Representative Ron Nate and I spent an hour with them discussing legislative processes, economics, and issues our country is facing. They were very engaged and we had a great time. They all left with a better understanding of our Republic form of government and knowing that their rights come from God, not government.
Greetings from the Boise Capitol! The pace has accelerated as recent rumors around the Capitol indicate the session may wrap up before March is over. If so, it means we are in the last few weeks of session which only adds to the frantic pace of things.
My general daily schedule has been a Revenue and Tax Committee meeting every morning at 9:00 AM and either a Judicial and Rules or Environment & Technology Committee meeting in the afternoon at 1:30 PM. In the past, the House floor sessions used to occur every day at 11:00 AM, but recently, we have been starting early to attempt to work through all of the proposed legislation that is piling up. Responding to emails and returning phone calls is a constant daily challenge and I am trying my best. These activities, combined with various interviews (TV, radio and print), visits from special interest groups and constituents stopping by the capitol to share their ideas or concerns, make every day a very full schedule.
I have been involved in organizing a group of liberty-minded legislators who meet weekly to discuss bill language, ideas on how to modify them, concerns, and policy. These meetings have been very encouraging and helpful and I hope this group grows larger.
Friday March 4th the session ended with an Idaho Day Presentation. It was an honor to attend the National Prayer Breakfast and hear speaker Pastor Ravi Zacharias speak on Saturday.
||I met Larry Pratt from Gun Owners of America (GOA) at a gun rally at the Capitol on February 20th. There are several permitless carry gun bills that have been printed in the House and Senate (two of which are Rep Ron Nate’s and mine). Unfortunately lobby groups and politics appear to have a louder voice than the voice of the citizens. Some of the proposed bills actually use lobby group names in the language of the legislation!
I want you to remember that we get the government we allow! Voting for a good candidate is not enough and I encourage you all to get engaged in your government at some level.
How to Get Connected
You have 2 state representatives and 1 state senator who should be representing your interests in Boise. All three are called state legislators.
Find your district map and legislators’ here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/idmap2.pdf
Find your state legislators’ addresses and phone numbers here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/house/membership.cfm http://legislature.idaho.gov/senate/membership.cfm
Watch your Legislator’s liberty/constitutional voting record here:
View bills being voted on here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2016/minidata.htm
Bills & Laws:
There are many bills to read and review. On this coming Monday’s calendar there are 44 bills to be heard, debated and voted on! The daily calendar of bills to be voted on by the entire House can be viewed here: http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/hcal.htm
Many ask “how can one legislator read and review every bill with such limited time?” Most legislators can’t or don’t. They rely on the help of trusted colleagues who have heard committee testimonies, lobby groups, citizens, or “people of influence or control”. I am VERY grateful to my team of trusted citizen volunteers who spend hours reviewing every bill for liberty and constitutional principles and fill me in on the details. Their services are invaluable to our district and state. I wish more people would volunteer and get involved in this way. It is so critical.
I will highlight a few bills below. Remember, when we focus on issues and candidates and disregard the process and how it is supposed to work, we can expect to lose our Republic.
Citizens need to stop fighting with other citizens on issues and start working together to control and reign in their elected officials who think growing government is the solution to all problems. Protecting citizen freedoms and liberties should be our focus.
Bills that have passed the House to date in 2016:
(HJR/SJR=House or Senate Joint Resolution, HB/H or SB/S=House Bill or Senate Bill)
H516 – A bill requiring abortion providers to provide information to women about where and how they can get a free ultrasound prior to an abortion. (I testified on the House floor for this bill)
H449 – Girl/Boy Scout Cookie Sales Tax Exemption. I debated on the House floor against this bill because our state constitution says taxes and exemptions should be uniform and this bill carves out a special exemption for only some. (Article VII Section 5)
H556 – Foster Care Reform- Some 3 1/2 hours of testimony occurred against the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in my Committee on this bill. What we heard can only be described as stunning and heartbreaking. This bill aims to help solve several major problems within this large bureaucracy and with the foster care administration and treatment of foster parents and kids. This is an ongoing issue that will need to be dealt with over the next several years until all the proper corrections can be implemented.
HB 431- This bill removes the index on the Idaho homestead exemption, and places the exemption value at $100,000 or 50 percent of assessed value, whichever is less. This bill’s goal was to provide stability to the homeowner for taxing purposes and to the tax base for planned budgeting.
HB 481-Right to Try Act for terminally ill – A bill allowing the terminally ill to use medications that are still being tested and have not yet received FDA approval. In my opinion, this bill is long overdue.
HB 472 – in which commercial vehicles get to keep their license plate numbers (passed 68-0 in the House).
HB 478 – protects sensitive information provided during the acquisition or transfer of National Firearm Act regulated items from public records requests.
HB 528 Sexual Assault Evidence Kits- This bill provides guidance for how and when Idaho State Police Forensic Services Laboratory shall test sexual assault evidence kits. The testimony in committee was convincing and the bill sponsor (Rep Wintrow) did an outstanding job.
Bills coming up for a House vote include:
A bill to restrict and limit the dollar value of gifts given to legislators by lobbyists (H508);
Real ID Act Compliance to federal program (H513);
Medicaid Expansion (S1204);
Hybrid Vehicle Registration Fees (S1311);
Oil and Gas, Wells, Permits (S1339 );
Use of Bible in Schools (S1342);
Unborn Infants Dignity Act (S1349);
Limited Article V Convention (S1350)
Bills sitting in some Committee Chariman’s desk drawers which will likely never be heard:
H421 – A bill to repeal the State Health Insurance Exchange;
HJR 1 – A resolution to amend the Idaho Constitution to protect education assistance to Idaho students;
H420 – A bill to repeal the state’s requirement that all Idaho school districts must administer the SBAC (Common Core) test to their students.
H422 and H423 Permitless Carry (Reps. Nate & Scott) are two bills to address confusion in Idaho law concerning the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit. The bills would allow Idahoans to carry concealed weapons without a permit anywhere in Idaho that is not currently prohibited by state or federal law (schools, post office, etc.).
Most of the bills listed above are sitting in the Ways and Means Committee awaiting a hearing date that never seems to come. I believe this tactic silences the voice of the people. You may contact the Ways and Means Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org and let the chairman know your concerns.
I have had concerns with several bills that made it out of House committees. It is rare to kill a bill once it makes it out of these committees and onto the House floor. Last week I testified against a bill and pointed out how it was violating our State Constitution to the body and we killed a bill! This is rare, but rewarding! Last year only 4 bills were killed on the House floor. So far only one has been killed this year.
||Want a “free” (well really paid for by you the taxpayer) copy of the Idaho state constitution?
If you would like a free copy of the Idaho State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution, you can have one mailed to you by calling the Idaho Secretary of State’s office at 208-334-2852, or by emailing them at email@example.com .
My main goal when voting on any proposed legislation is to represent and protect the interests and freedoms of citizens living in District 1. I will keep my oath to protect and defend the U.S. and State Constitutions; I will restrain government influence where ever possible; I will always work to keep taxes low; and I will continue support legislation that is constitutional and and moral.
||The Arthur Jackson Appreciation Day held February 24th in the Capitol’s Rotunda was a packed house! Military personnel, Boise police officers, color guard, bagpipers, lots of citizens and the Governor all gathered to honor this great WWII Marine veteran. Art Jackson was presented the Medal of Honor by Harry Truman in 1945 for his heroic efforts in September 1944 in the Western Pacific. This is the highest military honor award one can receive. I was very honored and humbled to meet such a hero. Thank you Mr. Jackson and all other veterans alive and passed for the sacrifices you made.