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Dog Days at the Capital! by Rep. Christy Zito

Other excellent legislation this week included H270 to prevent public funds, resources and or property from being used to influence the outcome at the ballot box.

Dog Days at the Capital!

Dog Days at the Capital!

by Rep. Christy Zito

We talk of the dog days of summer, we are in the dog days of our legislative session, in more than one way.  It has been the year of the dog in Idaho, so to speak.  According to the Chinese Zodiac it is the year of the Rooster and next year will be the year of the dog.  We are ready.  The dog racing legislation that has passed the house was good, the companion dog legislation was awesome.  When a minor has to testify in court, a specially trained dogs would be allowed to accompany them on the witness stand to lessen the trauma.  What ever we can do to make this horrific event in the lives of a child a little less painful.

Other excellent legislation this week included H270 presented by Rep. Jason Monks.The purpose of this legislation is prevent public funds, resources and or property from being used to influence the outcome at the ballot box.  Often when there is a bond or levy up for vote, various government entities will use government resources to promote said tax increases.  During testimony a young mother related her experience of receiving a glossy flyer promoting a bond she was not in favor of.  She went to her district office and asked if she could use their printer and computers she was told not.  She was denied equal access.  It was so good to see a vote for liberty.

Legislation offering the option to use Real Id as opposed to a regular Idaho issued drivers license passed the house today.  The Real ID license allows storage of your facial recognition photo in an international data base for 10 years.  Down side is you may have to drive to drive or walk, as you may not be able to fly.  However a passport or other government photo ID will get you your wings.

BEST OF ALL, after 10 years the US V Joyce stock water decision was moved a step closer to being codified. It was a true honor for me to be able to co-sponsor that legislation.  It now needs to be signed by the Governor. This has been an over 10 year battle for these ranch families.  Their faith and fortitude is an example to all. Following are statements from the actual bill.

In the landmark case of Joyce Livestock Company v. United States of America, (which included the Lowery family) the Idaho Supreme Court held that an agency of the federal government cannot obtain a stockwater right under Idaho law, unless it actually owns livestock and puts the water to beneficial use.

The court also held that federal ownership or management of the land alone does not qualify it for stockwater rights.

“The United States claimed instream water rights for stock watering based upon its ownership and control of the public lands coupled with the Bureau of Land Management’s comprehensive management of public lands under the Taylor Grazing Act…The argument of the United States reflects a misunderstanding of water law…As the United States has held, Congress has severed the ownership of federal lands from the ownership of water rights in non-navigable waters located on such lands.”


(1)No agency of the federal government, nor any agent acting on its behalf, shall acquire a stockwater right unless the agency owns livestock and puts the water to beneficial use. For purposes of this chapter, “stockwater rights” means water rights for the beneficial use for livestock.

(2) For the purposes of this chapter, a permittee on a federally administered grazing allotment shall not be considered an agent of the federal government.

42-503. LIMITS OF USE.  If an agency of the federal government acquires a stockwater right, that stockwater right shall never be utilized for any purpose other than the watering of livestock.

Today SB1161, a short version of castle doctrine had hearing in Senate State Affairs.  The intent may have been good but according to legal analysis, there were some challenges.  The State Affairs committee voted to hold the bill in committee.  Hopefully we can now work together to get good Castle Doctrine protection for the citizens of Idaho.

Until Next time, keep up the good fight.  Watch what happens in your legislature, be engaged and active.  It is always a pleasure to serve you.  Watch the bill progress on,, and

2 Comments on Dog Days at the Capital! by Rep. Christy Zito

  1. Good one Ms Zito about the linkage between water rights and actually owning cattle for beneficial use ! Imagine a federal paladin getting some manure on his boots ! Never happen !

  2. Note that in the Joyce livestock case, it was the state judiciary – the Idaho Supreme Court – and NOT a federal court that had the final say in the matter. This is a pure exercise of Idaho’s 10th Amendment prerogative, and is very heartening to see. But Was it really the final say ? If fed agencies get froggy over this, the last word may have to come from Idahoans themselves.

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