Happenings in Idaho Government
By: Rep. Karey Hanks
Solar Eclipse Ahead…
The solar eclipse of 2017 was not a topic of conversation or debate during session, but it will greatly affect our state as we anticipate this event in August. I attended a Public Health conference on June 9th and learned of groundwork throughout the state for the expected additional 500,000 people who will visit. Many Idaho residents are taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence in renting homes, RV spaces or parking. Fire Chief Dave Hanneman of Idaho Falls explained plans to address higher cell phone demands, requesting a burn ban, increased traffic and health/medical issues, and other concerns. Hospitality sites will be available in some places. Learn more by following these links:
Wheat Commission Tour
Several legislators traveled to Portland June 4-6th to tour various elements of the wheat industry. The Wheat Marketing Center featured information and a demonstration on various types of wheat and best uses for each. This center also provides grower workshops and courses for international groups. We reviewed the importance of the Columbia Snake River system in delivering wheat for export efficiently to the west coast, and we rode on a Shaver company tugboat to see the port, and ships and barges up-close. Barging wheat and other commodities on the river system moves the same amount of cargo as 140 rail cars or 538 trucks. It is vital to maintain our dams on the Snake and Columbia—for those concerned about the environment, consider more trucks on the roads and the wear-and-tear to those roads. Trucking definitely is essential to shipping commodities, but in this case barging works well to get wheat from Lewiston to the coast in great quantities quickly. For more information:
I volunteered as a “sausage cooker” at the St. Anthony annual Fisherman’s Breakfast On May 26th. Afterward I shared a booth with Janice McGeachin, candidate for Idaho Lieutenant Governor. We enjoyed visiting with citizens and listening to their concerns. I hope you will take a look at Janice; contact her on Facebook!
Congratulations to the South Fremont High School and Junior High bands/choirs on their NINE trophies in May in Utah. The Music in the Parks competition culminated in an award ceremony at Lagoon. Our students dominated the event, with 7th, 8th, Junior high jazz band and choir placing in all their categories. Both the SF High band and the SF Jazz band placed FIRST in their categories and BEST BAND(s) of the day! Freelancers earned FIRST and the highest rating on the scale—Superior! Matt Bennett, Kendel Neilsen, Jennifer Webster and Jenny Lokey are to be commended for their hard work in preparing the students, as well.
Last But Not Least—Commentary
What is the “proper function” of government? It is debated on TV, social media and election campaigns. Many people don’t care much, as long as they have gas in the car, a paycheck, food to eat and a little spare time. Life is good! How many people actually take the time to vote in any given election?
Laws were established by our Founding Fathers to preserve freedom–not restrict it. They believed laws should be enacted only to protect against physical harm, theft and involuntary bondage. Government should not be a means of compelling citizens to perform acts of charity against their will—“redistribution of wealth” in current terminology. Frederic Bastiat, a French economist, called this redistribution of wealth “legalized plunder.” He explained:
“See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to
them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not
belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense
of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do
without committing a crime.” (The Law)
A simple analogy might be, say my car breaks down and my next door neighbor has three cars. Do I have the right to demand he surrender one of them to me? Isn’t that fair? I may ask to borrow a car and he has the option to lend it to me, or not, but I do not have a right to the “fruits of [his] labors.”
In a similar vein, if it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend me morally to do it? Actions, immoral at the individual level, do not magically become virtuous when carried out by government. If I have a right worthy of protection (life, liberty, property), then I may delegate my power of self-protection to the government to implement such laws as are necessary. If, however, I do not have a right individually, then I cannot support my government in carrying out an immoral action to secure any so-called, or made-up right I think I or others deserve.
George Washington warned,” Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” This is why we must be ever vigilant in holding our leaders accountable for their actions and then vote accordingly at election time.
Although we have, as a nation, strayed far from the principles our Founding Fathers espoused, I believe as we become educated about these principles, it will motivate us to become more involved and engaged in reestablishing limited government with leaders who also uphold liberty and freedom.