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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 20, 2017

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I was looking through some old stuff in my desk the other day mostly in an effort to clean it out a bit to have a place to put more current things away. As Linda can attest my filing system is of the “I’m sure it’s here somewhere” variety. It really is not a bad system, it just doesn’t look very good. But the worst part is finding things that are four to five years old that should have been chucked long ago.

Today was a good example. I had someone asking me about a proposal they thought I had received from Legislative Services (bill drafters). I knew I had seen the thing but no matter how hard I looked, it was nowhere to be found, and then I remembered I had seen it in my email.

We have had a number of items this last week that have seemed like they got lost in the filing system somewhere. I can’t remember a time when we have seen so many re-drafts of bills because of unforeseen problems the bills would create. In these cases at this stage of the session we have been able to start over. We are at the traditional mid-point of our time here and corrections will be more difficult.

In the found and lost column this week is the discussion about the coming of the total eclipse on August 21st. A member of JFAC told the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce that there likely would be no funds coming from the state for the event. On a website I saw, I found an ad to sell eclipse viewing glasses for a mere $23.40 for ten sets. And I recall that we have been told repeatedly that there is no safe way to look directly at an eclipse. But then these are certified which begs the question by whom? A friend in good humor asked me, “What would happen if we had an eclipse and no one showed up? Or, what would happen if everyone showed up and the eclipse didn’t? Or, what would happen if the eclipse came and stayed?” Ah, what food for thought!

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things we are discussing that are far more serious that we are spending a lot of time working through the process. Those in the State Affairs Committee are immigration, special elections, Tribal gaming, abortion, desert wine, codifiers corrections, lottery, personal delivery devices, and guns just to name a few.

And then there is the budget, which is the main reason for the session. I have suggested that we could just adopt last year’s budget and go home. After all just how many new laws do you think we need? I think I know what you would say about that. As to the numbers found in the wish lists and what the governor wants the budget to look like, I have this piece of paper that I laid on my desk the other day and it is here somewhere. I’ll have to look through my filing system to find it.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 13, 2017

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

One day this last week I had a member of the press corps stop by to visit with me about a matter or two. He had his handy little digital recorder in his hand. That is a signal around here that they are looking for the “quote of the week.” His final question was, “Why does this session feel so much different than past ones? It seems like a more sluggish start than usual.”The real answer is that every session of the legislature has its own “feel.” It hasn’t seemed to me that it has been bogged down much around here.

I stay about nine miles from the capital and morning traffic is not my idea of a great time. For that reason I arrive at the House quite early every morning to avoid the big rush coming in from Canyon County and West Ada. All is quiet at that time and I get a about an hour or so to read up and do preparation for the day.

During the night calls come in from all over the state, some are interesting, some are rude and some border on threatening. One caller said he knew that I had a problem with how a certain bill was worded but the people of the state didn’t care about the words that are in the proposal they just want it passed. In other words we won’t know what’s in the bill until we pass it. Sound familiar? I think it’s better to know about what’s in it up front rather to have regrets later.

The counties were in town this past week with all six counties in our district being present. They have a lot of questions about what is going on that might affect our part of the state. One current issue that has been brewing for a while is the funding formula for the heath districts. It seems that the two largest districts want a bigger slice of the pie and have introduced legislation to make the change…after they had agreed to work it out by negotiation. In the Treasure Valley there is very little understanding of how things work in our rural counties. We have to remind them on a continuing basis. They have agreed to attempt negotiating the formula without legislative action. We hope it sticks.

Last week I wrote about the tax bill that passed the House. Since that time the weather has changed and the results of a more severe than normal winter are beginning to show up on our streets and highways. In some areas the potholes in the roads are as big as the cars causing tire failures and road closures. In addition, we have several roads closed because of avalanches and avalanche danger. And then there is the washout in the Raft River area and the closure of I 86. The tax bill is being re-thought.

Does it sound like things have been sluggish around this place? Probably not, at least from this vantage point. And at this writing, and to the great relief of the folks in Boise, today’s high temperature was in the sixties. However, it is still only February.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Congress Slow Walks De-funding

February 12th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have previously expressed concern about Congress fulfilling its commitment to defund Planned Parenthood. The much anticipated vote on a Reconciliation bill to both defund the Abortion Giant and Repeal ObamaCare seems to be on hold. Rather than cap the pipeline of federal funding, the Congress appears to be shifting responsibility back to the states for action.

This last week, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) introduced a measure to repeal rules Obama punched through at the end of his presidency to protect Planned Parenthood’s tax subsidies. The House Rules Committee will meet next week to consider HJRes 43, which would restore the ability of states receiving Title X monies to direct those funds away from Planned Parenthood.

While this is a positive trend, it suggests that Congress is far from ready to strip monies from the abortion provider. It seems odd, for example, to go after an underlying rule – which will take weeks to successfully repeal – rather than the whole program.

It also suggests that Congressional leaders may be trying to shift the battle with Planned Parenthood from Washington, D.C. to the various states.

Hopefully, we are misreading the dynamic at work.

The simple fact is, Congress has created the behemoth which is Planned Parenthood through its decades-long steady subsidy of millions in tax dollars. Particularly in light of the corrupted federal court system now oppressing America – containing Planned Parenthood’s toxic effect on American culture will require genuine, courageous leadership from the U.S. Congress.

Let us pray they find the will to act.

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: President Prepares to Restore Religious Liberty

February 8th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Various media outlets have obtained a draft of a proposed Executive Order being prepared for President Trump’s signature. Liberals in the media, Abortion Industry and homosexual agitators are, predictably, “outraged”. They claim he is on some dangerous, radical mission to persecute them. But the simple truth, as with so much of the Trump agenda, is to restore a respect for fundamental American principles, law and culture.

Reportedly, the draft EO insists that the federal government and its agencies adhere to Supreme Court decisions and statutes which safeguard the religious liberties of American citizens. The only thing radical about this action is the focus it puts on the Obama government, which waged all-out war on the First Amendment and the religious beliefs of many millions.

For example, it was the Obama Administration which repeatedly forced Little Sisters of the Poor to mortgage its very existence by waging expensive lawsuits to defend its right not to pay for, or otherwise subsidize, abortion through bizarre ObamaCare regulations. And, in fact, Trump’s Executive Order specifically instructs the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health & Human Services to provide proper relief to this order of Christian nuns.

The Order would further order all federal agencies to protect the religious liberties of federal employees, and would stop the government from discriminating against private Christian charities because they uphold traditional beliefs in the sanctity of Life and Marriage.

News reports suggest that Trump’s action will provide comprehensive protections to religious practice and restore much of what Obama tried to destroy. It is a moment to be celebrated, not only because of it marks a recovery of religious freedom, but a recovery of Constitutional government.

But be prepared for more protests, car burnings and frivolous lawsuits.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Time to be Concerned

February 8th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

After an amazing start on the pro-Life agenda, there are reports indicating that the new Republican government may be having trouble finding the will to defund Planned Parenthood. The problem lies not with the White House, but with the Congress.

There were hopes that the Congress would defund Planned Parenthood last week, after staging an historic vote to do so last year. That previous attempt was vetoed by Barack Obama, who went down swinging for his comrades in the Abortion Industry. With a new pro-Life president in charge of the government, hopes remain high among pro-Lifers that the evil partnership between American taxpayers and the nation’s largest abortion chain will finally end.

The plan was to use the Reconciliation procedure to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal ObamaCare in one fell swoop. This mechanism means that Congress can move legislation with simple majorities in both the House and Senate.

Unfortunately, a number of Republicans have become anxious about repealing ObamaCare as there is not yet consensus about how the Republicans will reconstruct the health care insurance market place. In fact, one report indicated that Speaker Ryan may hold the reconciliation vote until the spring and summer.

That means the money pump is still running, transferring the nation’s treasure to Planned Parenthood’s bank account.

Utah Senator Mike Lee issued a statement yesterday, urging Congress to take action on defunding Planned Parenthood. He rightly called the continued tax subsidies of Planned Parenthood a “stain” on our nation’s great history.

We ask for your prayers on behalf of the Congress. May our nation’s leaders find the courage and resolve to end this gross injustice.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: President Trump Off to a Terrific Beginning

February 3rd, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

President Trump issued an Executive Order yesterday which puts America back where it should be: A light to the world. He has restored the Mexico City Policy, first articulated by President Ronald Reagan.

This policy forbids the use of American tax dollars to export abortion to other nations. Specifically, it forbids giving foreign aid dollars to organizations (e.g., Planned Parenthood International) which use that money to perform and promote abortions in other nations. It is a policy which has proven to be a central dispute between Democrat and Republican administrations ever since.

One of Obama’s first actions as the new president was to restore funding for PPI, and its evil support of abortion and oppressive practices like the one-child policy still destroying families and women in China.

President Trump’s action – and the clear priority he placed on getting America’s moral compass re-calibrated – is a tremendous encouragement to the conservative citizens. It serves as a down-payment against our hopes for a new regime in America – one in which the vulnerable are protected and valued.

Thank you, Mr. President!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: America’s Long Winter Comes to an End

January 24th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

America has endured a long, cold winter. Some eight years long. But, by the grace of God, we have survived and there is promise of a vibrant spring.

Barack Obama has been relentless in his assault on America’s core values and conventions. He has rigidly pushed abortion, sexual perversion and illegal immigration. Obama has seriously damaged a once-premier health care system. He has freed drug lords, terrorists and traitors from prison – while fostering wide-spread hostility toward law enforcement. He has expanded the capricious power of the presidency while undermining the public’s appreciation for the rule of law. He has attacked free enterprise while greatly expanding dependency upon government. He has imported Muslim terrorists while turning his back on Christians around the world who are fighting for their very lives.

Like a very bad winter, the snow storms and cold snaps have continued to come. Americans have been shoveling, sanding and huddling around wood stoves praying for spring. Scraping the ice and snow off roofs, hoping we won’t see water spots in the ceiling. Eight very long years.

Obama has assaulted our Jewish friends in Israel while making nefarious deals with our Iranian enemies. He has refused to address the mounting violence and hopelessness of America’s greatest cities, while insisting that those Americans still pulling the cart accept greater responsibility. He has encouraged ignorance of, and contempt for, the Constitution.

Freezing rain, followed by subzero temperatures. Slick roads for the morning commute. Long nights of fatigue, afternoons of seething incredulity that another snowstorm has arrived.

Yet, today, America marks a time of renewal. The Republic has somehow survived the worst that Obama and his anarchist streetwalkers have thrown at Her. Winter has come to an end as Obama flies off to play more golf in Palm Springs.

President Trump and Vice-President Pence have a daunting job before them. Rebuilding the Constitution’s institutions and restoring America’s core values to government will take time. Surely they will make mistakes and good-hearted Americans must be willing to forgive and lend them a hand. But spring has finally arrived. Hope has returned to the land.

That proud, tattered flag still stands.

Thank you Lord.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: The Battle to De-fund Planned Parenthood Begins

January 14th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The new Republican Congress has begun work to make good on a critical pro-Life agenda item: Ending the coerced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. It is our understanding that language is included in the current “reconciliation” bill which will end Planned Parenthood’s outrageous access to the U.S. Treasury. This is the same bill which will obliterate ObamaCare.

The defunding language cannot get to President Trump’s desk too quickly.

Approximately 40% of the abortion giant’s funding comes from taxpayers – now something like $550 million each year. It is that massive subsidy which has allowed Planned Parenthood to have such a devastating effect on the nation’s culture and the lives of millions of vulnerable women and girls.

Already the organization is brandishing sabers in the media, trying to persuade Americans that Republicans are waging a “war on women”. PP President Cecile Richards, still recovering from the loss of her White House desk next to Hillary Clinton, recently appeared on the Comedy Central channel. She argued that the end of public funding for Planned Parenthood is really “an end of access to care for a lot of folks in this country”. Pure balderdash.

The truth is, Republicans are likely to increase funding for women’s health care – but they are going to insist that public dollars are spent with legitimate health care providers. You know, the kind of professionals who put the patient – not their abortion ideology – first.

Short of overturning Roe v. Wade itself – the current defunding effort in Congress is the greatest single blow we can strike for Life. It will result in the saving of hundreds of thousands of preborn children. You can be sure that the enemy is well aware of the stakes, and will wage both political and spiritual warfare, at levels rarely seen, to protect the revenue stream of Planned Parenthood’s death machine.

Pro-Lifers must be in earnest prayer for the success of this effort.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Thank You, Macy’s!

December 15th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Reports surfaced yesterday that Macy’s will no longer contribute corporate funds to Planned Parenthood. The decision was reached quietly following revelations last year regarding Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in aborted baby parts.

As one news report put it, this is another “Miracle on 34th Street”, and another brick removed from Planned Parenthood’s wall of legitimacy.

We encourage pro-Lifers who might shop at Macy’s yet this Christmas Season to say “thank you” for the decision to store personnel.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: So Long Dirty Harry

December 15th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The blessings of this Christmas Season continue to mount.

It was encouraging to see Nevada’s Harry Reid finally depart the U.S. Senate this week. He has built a long, chilling record of blind support for the Abortion Industry during his decades in the world’s most powerful chamber.

No doubt Reid will return to Nevada to enjoy the millions of dollars he has amassed during his years of “public service”. That phenomenon is disturbing, and all too common these days. Yet, if it incentives Reid to leave the public square, fine. It is a small price to pay for the babies that just might live now that he is gone.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General | No Comments »

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