For the sake of humanity, I hope this kind of nonsense only happens in Idaho.

Rep. Paul Shpherd
Rep. Paul Shepherd

Today a House committee passed a bill that breaks the law. It now goes to the full House.

In what might be the most blatant example of pandering to the smallest of special interests, House Bill 51 would allow recreational dredge miners to ignore EPA regulations.

The person behind this bill is  Rep. Paul Shepherd (R-Riggins) who introduced an unconstitutional bill last year that nullified EPA rules, which landed him on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch Blog. That bill died in committee.

His latest bill does pretty much the same thing. In fact, the Attorney General’s office said it has serious flaws.

So how did this pass? Were committee members not aware of the AG’s assessment?

“Any time that this body gets an opinion from the Attorney General that there are this many problems with a  bill,” said Rep. Marc Gibbs (R-Grace), ” I think it behooves us to either hold the bill in committee or return the bill to sponsor.”

It’s important to know that Gibbs said this out loud,  during the hearing.

Next, Rep. Fred Wood (R-Burley) delivered an obligatory anti-government statement before telling the committee the bill was too flawed to pass.

Minutes later, the bill passed.

“I can’t believe it,” Shepherd exclaimed, according to Bill Spence of the Lewiston Tribune.

Translation: That bill was so lousy, I didn’t think even the Idaho legislature was crazy enough to pass it.

He was wrong.