We’re always hearing that the system is rigged. But rarely do we see it in action.

Now we have a chance.

On Jan. 22, a bill with the ambiguous title of “Auxiliary Containers” was introduced to the Idaho House. A week later, it had a full hearing and passed unanimously.

Today, it passed the House 52-17. Bag-in-water

What does this bill do? It forbids towns and cities from regulating plastic grocery bags.

In other words, even if every member of a community voted to ban plastic grocery bags, it wouldn’t matter. State lawmakers would have already told the good people of that community to “eff off.”

Don’t forget, the House is dominated by Republicans who demand land management and school curriculum be controlled at the local level.

But they don’t trust local control on the all-important issue of plastic bags.

Got it.

bag-treeThat’s not entirely fair. Democrats on the committee voted for the bill as well. And why wouldn’t they. Only two people testified. They represented the Idaho Retailers Association, the Idaho Lodging and Restaurant Association and the Idaho Petroleum Marketers and Convenient Store Association.

What was their argument?

“Any decision to be made about plastics should be made at the state level.”

No seriously. It’s in the transcript.

Ultimately, this is about wealthy special interests quietly rigging the system for themselves. We often think it takes place behind closed doors. But not always. In this case, it was done in the open for all to see. Just nobody was looking.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how to rig the system.