Extremist legislators demonstrate why voters need to clean house

For anyone wondering why extremist legislators should be voted out in the May 17 Republican primary, many of those lawmakers have stepped forward to show why. As with last year’s dismal session, any number of bills have been dumped into the legislative hopper merely to fuel the culture wars, as opposed to addressing real problems facing the State.

Take, for instance, Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt’s House Bill 613, which would protect doctors from state disciplinary action for any “recommendation to a patient regarding treatment for coronavirus.” That would open up a free field for marginal physicians to prescribe any kind of treatment, including the use of unapproved drugs for Covid-19, such as Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine and who knows what else. The bill appears to be designed to protect the medical license of Garden City’s Dr. Ryan Cole for prescribing horse dewormer, despite the fact that its use for Covid-19 is strongly condemned by state and national medical associations.

Extremist legislators have no problem with interjecting themselves into family medical matters, as evidence by Rep. Bruce Skaug’s House Bill 675, which places the Legislature directly between transgender kids and their medical providers. Legislators who have refused for years to require faith healing parents to provide basic life-saving medical care to their children, like the law requires all the rest of us to do, apparently have no hesitance in supporting Skaug’s unconstitutional bill.

House Bill 581, introduced by Rep. Charlie Shepherd, makes it a criminal offense for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual” for refusal to get vaccinated for coronavirus or to disclose their vaccination status. It is essentially a mandate against employers being able to hire or fire who they want. The bill has passed the House.

Rep. DeMordaunt’s ominously-labeled House Bill 666 would subject librarians to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a year in jail for “making available to a minor” any “material harmful to minors.” That should cause librarians to shake in their boots and leave tons of their books on the shelves. Combined with the vague definitional terms in existing statutes, the bill could send a librarian to the hoosegow for checking out human anatomy books or Civil War histories.

Rep. Heather Scott’s House Bill 512 would prevent local taxing districts from running a bond election for 11 months after the failure of voters to approve a bond on the same subject. So much for local control of local needs. If legislators were to follow the Idaho Constitution’s mandate to provide adequate funding for schools, there would be no need for school bond elections.

The Constitution requires the Legislature, not local property tax payers, to provide the funding for both buildings and operations. On March 8, there were bond elections across the state for over $288.4 million in funding, including $176.9 million for facilities, $84.6 million for operations and $26.9 million for capital projects. A recent legislative report estimates it would cost $847 million “to get all buildings up to ‘good’ condition.” Rather than complying with its solemn legal responsibility, the Legislature handed out a massive income tax cut early in the session, primarily for the benefit of well-to-do Idahoans. Scott’s bill has received House approval.

These are just a few of the actions which demonstrate the necessity of cleansing the legislative halls of extremists who are more interested in stirring up discord than doing the people’s business. Folks should register to vote in the Republican primary and help with the cleaning.

Jim Jones

About Jim Jones

Jim Jones is a Vietnam combat veteran who served 8 years as Idaho Attorney General (1983-1991) and 12 years as Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court (2005-2017).

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