Nothing sums up this year’s legislative session better than Rep. Linden Bateman’s (R-Idaho Falls) stern rebuke of the audience during a hearing about privatizing our public lands. He noted that lawmakers generally support the “disposal” of our lands while the public overwhelmingly opposes it.
Suggesting that the people of Idaho weren’t educated enough to understand the issue, the lame-duck Representative yelled to the audience:
“Don’t you trust the people you elect or do you just want to trust the Washington bureaucrats?”
It’s no wonder Idahoans distrust their lawmakers. Gem State politicians are eager to pass bills for special interests, even if that means violating their political ideologies, while dismissing the tough issues facing regular citizens.
The lesson here is Idaho politicians favor local control until special interests tell them otherwise.
Believe it or not, the Idaho Legislature went out of its way to honor the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho.
Meanwhile, lawmakers did nothing while minimum wage workers got the “honor” of making $7.25 per hour.
The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry is a powerful lobby that pushes tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s no surprise that two efforts to shift the tax burden on the poor and middle class have been introduced this session.
The Idaho House has already passed a bill written by this this shadowy group from Florida. However, that’s not its only influence in this state. It vigorously opposes Medicaid expansion.
There’s no coincidence that the Idaho Legislature has failed to provide poor, working adults with access to health insurance for four years in a row.
Wouldn’t it be nice to tell the Idaho Legislature to jump, and they respond, “How high?” Well, that’s exactly how the world works if you are Alta Mesa energy.
Alta Mesa wanted a quicker permitting for their oil and gas wells. The Idaho Legislature jumped to action and delivered exactly what Alta Mesa wanted.
Meanwhile, the Idaho Legislature took the time to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the Hecla mining company.
For a state whose lawmakers say they like to do things the “Idaho way,” it’s odd how often they revert to the Washington, D.C. for answers. And no place in D.C. provides them with more answers than the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC bills in the Idaho Legislature include anti-teacher bills, anti-public lands bills and anti-local control bills. For lawmakers who preach about state sovereignty, they certainly don’t mind out-of-state interests writing Idaho’s laws.
Legislating is a matter of priority. It always has been.
Judging how quickly Idaho lawmakers snap to action when special interests call, and how slowly they react to the plight of average citizens, it’s pretty damn easy to see the priorities of Idaho’s politicians.