Week 3 Nighttime at the Capitol
Idaho is supposed to be a conservative state—many of us are liberty lovers. So why did we allow Common Core, Obamacare/state exchange, and many other big government type, expensive programs into our state?
Because I did not think our district was being properly represented, I chose to run for the Legislature. The people in our district chose to give me this opportunity to serve.
Since I have been here, I have been told to watch and learn, at least for the first year. I don’t believe our people elected me to be an intern.
I have also been told by several legislators there is a “process” here for “getting things done.” The leadership controls and chooses which bills are introduced.
So now we have Heather Scott—she’s a bulldog for liberty and I think she is a threat to the status quo. The speaker has doubled down on punishing Scott for speaking up, admittedly crudely, about an adulterer receiving a chairmanship.
I believe Idahoans are tired of “politics as usual”—that is why Trump was elected. I didn’t plan to make a “big splash” over here in Boise.
I came here to represent the people of Fremont, Jefferson, Butte and Clark counties. I came to stand for the Constitution and liberty.
So, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to make Idaho better for our citizens, and allow the legislative process to work as it was intended.
We are finishing up the rules process in our committees. Health & Welfare is by far the most work intensive, although we have big issues in Judiciary& Rules and Agriculture also. We have begun to vote on bills.
One last note, please check out GROWINGFREEDOMFORIDAHO.COM to make you voice heard!
Incorporation by Reference-Environmental Rules
During the first couple of weeks in the legislature committee work is focused on administrative rules reviews. Each year, state agencies propose adjustments to state rules to reflect new laws passed in the last legislative session and/or to reflect changes in federal laws requiring Idaho’s conformity. A fellow legislator has shared the information below and has articulated well on this issue.
This last category is especially troublesome. The federal government requires Idaho to adopt federal environmental laws. The process for doing this is called “incorporation by reference” (IFR). According to Idaho statutes, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ, a state agency) is required to adjust its rules to meet the minimum federal standards. Also, according to statute, DEQ is prohibited from adopting more stringent statutes. Do you see what that means? Idaho’s DEQ will do exactly what the federal government says it will do.
Furthermore, the DEQ spends around $65 million to enforce these rules in Idaho. About $37 million of that is federal money, but the other $28 million or so is Idaho tax/fee-payer money. To be clear, Idaho will spend nearly $28 million from Idahoans to enforce federal environmental rules.
Last Thursday, the rules review in our Environment, Energy, and Technology committee covered adjustments in Idaho rules to incorporate by reference the National Air Quality Standards. I asked the state official how many pages of federal law we were incorporating into Idaho law. Her response was stunning. These few IFRs in our rules were adopting changes in tens of thousands of pages of federal law about air quality. They had no estimate of how many businesses and individuals would be affected nor the costs they would bear.
There has to be a better solution for Idaho. Here’s one idea. Instead of Idaho adopting every new federal mandate into our own statutes and then paying to enforce those rules ourselves, why don’t we eliminate the DEQ enforcement and leave it to the federal government? The federal laws would still apply, but we would not go through the charade of making them also be Idaho law, and we would not incur the expense of $28 million of Idaho taxpayer money to enforce rules we don’t choose for ourselves.
To see the opportunity cost of our DEQ adopt-and-enforce policy, imagine we didn’t spend the money on enforcement of federal environmental rules and instead spent the money on Idaho teacher salaries. With 15,985 teachers in the state, $28 million would be enough to give every Idaho teacher a $1,752 raise. Perhaps that would be our money better spent.
I’m in Oregon, but go lady, go! I’m hoping what you brave newcomers in the Idaho legislature are doing might start something here in Salem!