Bedke Commands Veto-Power Over Legislation
for Himself and His Chairmen
by Sue Dawson
The ultimate control over Idaho laws.
How many bills are Speaker Bedke and his appointed Chairmen of Committees holding in obscurity away from the legislative process? The people will probably never be allowed to know the number.
On the other hand, how many bills are fast-tracked through the system by personal escort of house leadership? –Many many, many. In fact, an estimated 90% of the bills being passed through the legislative process are from executive agencies and lobbyists.
How does a bill get fast-tracked to becoming a law? These distinctive pieces of legislation have been determined by the leadership of the legislature to be “good” bills. In a rare moment of truthfulness, according to a witness, Mike Moyle, House Majority Leader, explained to a group visiting the capitol that after working here for so long, he knows which proposals are good and which are bad. The bad ones are discarded early on. Evidently he uses his knowledge to screen bills before they ever get to the committee stage.
Here are some examples of “good” bills (according to the judgment of Bedke and Moyle) that have been fast-tracked. They tend to be bills that increase the size of government and increase taxes and fees:
- H190 provides $3000 of tax money per year to returning college students who have previously dropped out;
- an oil and gas inter state compact which has had numerous closed door meetings but very little is known to the public;
- a corrective bill regarding numerous government agencies which have not been subject to public meeting laws (an embarrassing fact that should be hidden from the public);
- an exemption of personal communications of legislators from FOIA requests;
- $300,000,000 additional funding for road maintenance;
- limitations on parental rights; and several bills mandating further restrictions on various state professional licenses with increased fees and more government supervision.
All of these and many more are hugely significant bills that need public debate and research. Instead, multiple bills like these are being introduced and intentionally rushed through, under intense pressure, and under the time crunch of the last few days of the session obviously to avoid scrutiny.
The supposedly “bad” bills that do not see the light of day to name a few are:
- castle doctrine and the right to protect property;
- simplified concealed carry laws regardless of residency;
- grocery tax elimination;
- repealing expensive school ISAT testing which is no longer required.
These bills also deserve public debate, but will never get the chance because of the manufactured veto-power of Bedke and Moyle to squelch them. The voices of thousands of Idahoans are being silenced because Bedke and pals have blocked any open discussions or buried these bills without explanation.
The now infamous chamber debate of March 8, 2017, gives further insight into what happens to “bad” bills and how this mutant system works under the current leadership of Bedke and Moyle.
On this day a motion was made to bring up a “bad” bill from the compost pile of the Ways and Means Committee for a vote on the floor. Ironically, the bill in question would establish a law that required any bill with 10 supporting legislators be brought to the floor for vote. One can see right away that this would not be a compatible idea in the eyes of the present leadership.
Not about to give up control, the Chairman Robert Anderst and Majority Leader Mike Moyle made it clear in the debate proceedings with the House membership that they were holding on to their power in determining which bills could see the light of day. Moyle claimed that this motion could be interpreted as “anarchy” against leadership and against the “protection” of the “committee process”(which no one was willing to describe in its current form). The motion to bring the bill up to the floor out of committee died by vote of the go-along-majority of 57-13.
It should be mentioned that to disagree with this leadership is political suicide. The members of the House are instructed very early on to “go along to get along” or else are shunned by the power base. Are we talking about a cult environment? Check your brain at the door and do what the leadership says? –Apparently so.
In a representative republic, the people elect their spokesmen, who then elect the leadership positions. The Idaho Legislature is a handy mutation of the representative system. What we have now are leaders who have turned the tables on the electors and are saying: I’m in charge now. Do what I say. No discussion. And if you don’t like it you can run for leadership by getting the votes to be elected by the House.
If too many questions are asked, legislators will be “treading on thin ice” as Bedke admonished from the podium. Wow! That does not sound like heartfelt, honorable leadership. Nor does it sound like a representative republic looking to do the will of the constituents. It does sound like elected officials drunk on power.
Allow me to summarize the mutant system: Good and bad bills will be determined by Speaker Bedke and Majority Leader Moyle. From the beginning, proposed bills will be approved or vetoed by House Leadership. If a legislator is in good graces, he/she can persuade the leadership to allow a bill into the committee process. However, a chairman can suppress certain dialogue on bills that may begin moving in an unapproved direction or bury them altogether never to be seen again.
This system ensures complete control over laws of Idaho by a few who profess to know what is best for the entire state. This is the system; accept it or be banished from the legislative process. It is well understood that resisting the status quo means probably never being allowed to pass a bill through and probably never becoming a committee chairman.
There you have it: unconstitutional veto power established over the Idaho House Legislative Branch by officials willing to abuse their power. Of course, it would not be possible without the majority of consenting legislators who approve of the power grab albeit for their own political purposes.
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