Conservative group praises 2017 Legislature

It came with a broadside directed at Gov. Butch Otter, but on Friday, the Idaho Freedom Foundation praised the Idaho Legislature.

Or at least some legislators.

“More legislators than ever before voted in support of legislation to restrain the size and power of government,” foundation president Wayne Hoffman said, as the conservative group released its scorecard on the 2017 session.

Forty-four of 105 legislators scored a “C” or better on the group’s annual Freedom Index. In 2016, 25 lawmakers scored a “C” or better.

Many of the foundation’s top scores went to conservative House Republicans: Reps. Ron Nate of Rexburg (100 percent); Heather Scott of Blanchard (99 percent), Bryan Zollinger of Idaho Falls (98 percent), Karey Hanks of St. Anthony (98 percent), Steve Harris of Meridian (97 percent), Thyra Stevenson of Lewiston (96 percent), Dorothy Moon of Stanley (96 percent), Priscilla Giddings of White Bird (96 percent) and Christy Zito of Mountain Home (95 percent). Five of these nine lawmakers were in their first year in office. Several openly clashed with House GOP leadership.

The foundation’s top-ranked senator was Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, with a 93 percent score.

And what did the group say of Otter, after publicly clashing with the governor over the grocery tax repeal and other topics?

“Yes, it is true, the Governor Formerly Known as a Libertarian vexingly vetoed a number of conservative, free market, liberty-minded bills,” Hoffman wrote.

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