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David Ripley: Zollinger for House in Idaho Falls

May 14th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho Chooses Life strongly endorses Bryan Zollinger for the Idaho House in District 33 (Idaho Falls).

This seat has opened up because of the retirement of Rep. Linden Bateman. The loss of Bateman is a tremendous blow to the pro-Life movement, as the good representative was one of the strongest, most determined champions of preborn children in public office. It is unlikely he will ever be truly replaced.

That said, Bateman’s legacy is at stake in this race.

We sent both GOP candidates detailed surveys on their views regarding critical life issues. Only Mr. Zollinger responded. His answers inspire confidence that we can trust to carry Linden’s mantle forward.

By contrast, David Smith did not bother to respond. While that means we have no specific information about this views – experience teaches us that Mr. Smith will likely be no defender of babies in the womb. Even if he has vague pro-Life views, his failure to answer specific questions for voters in District 33 has to mean that the Life issue(s) holds no priority for him.

We urge the good people of Idaho Falls to send a strong pro-Life legislator to Boise: We ask for your support of Bryan Zollinger on Tuesday.

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

David Ripley: We Need Moyle Back in the House

May 14th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Rep. Mike Moyle has earned our endorsement for re-election to a 10th term in the Idaho House.

Since his first days in the Legislature, Moyle has been a leader on questions of tax policy and economic development. That natural leadership was recognized by his colleagues early on, explaining his many terms as Majority Leader. It is a heavy burden and no one works harder than Moyle to serve Idaho.Moyle, Denney and Fulcher; 0308

But it is his compassion and leadership on family issues – particularly the defense of preborn children – which has earned our highest respect and gratitude. Regardless of the day or craziness of the legislative calendar, Moyle always makes time to help advance the cause of the Life. It was this kind of leadership which led us to give him our “Friend for Life Award” in 2009.

Moyle is being challenged by a moderate Republican – Michael Greenway – in next week’s primary.

We have been told by voters in the District that Greenway has confessed to being “pro-choice” on abortion. That explains why he refused to respond to our questionnaire. That value system disqualifies Greenway to serve in the Legislature. Pure and simple.

We pray that the Republican voters of Star and Eagle see fit to return Mike Moyle to the Legislature. The simple fact is that we need him there.

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

May 12th, 2016 by Halli

Trial Lawyers Plot Public Heist
Posted: 12 May 2016 03:49 AM PDT
With the release of candidate finance reports this week, we have learned a great deal about the race for the Supreme Court seat. The most startling fact is that the Idaho Trial Lawyers are engaged in a massive effort to place one of their own on the high court.

Robyn Brody, an unassuming attorney from Rupert, has shocked experienced political observers by amassing some $175,000 in her bid to win a seat on the high court. How could a first-time, unknown candidate for public office generate such a huge sum of money just weeks after announcing her candidacy? The answer is found in the large number of law firms (29) investing money in her.

The speed with which Brody has raised and spent money strongly suggests that the Trial Lawyers have been planning this campaign for some time. In fact, it seems likely that they recruited Brody to run, a perfect unknown commodity who could sweep to a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court with the financial backing of dozens and dozens of criminal defense and plaintiff attorneys who desperately want, apparently, a friendly face on the highest court. Their scheme hinges on a tidal wave of money to overwhelm voters before folks can figure out what is really going on.

We are also deeply troubled by the fact that Ms. Brody is being supported by a rather long list of liberal, pro-choice attorneys – like Rory Jones, lead attorney for Planned Parenthood in its current lawsuit against the state of Idaho.

Brody’s money pile also answers the question about the curious “rating” by members of the State Bar Association of the candidates. It is clearly implausible that attorneys from around the state would be in a position to offer objective ratings of the candidates based upon personal knowledge of them. Now we know that it was the Trial Lawyers Assn. which Gerry-rigged the numbers that Ms. Brody is touting in her literature.

We don’t know what Ms. Brody’s values are, because candidates for the bench don’t answer such questions. But the list of her supporters should give Idahoans tremendous cause for concern. And the biggest question we will have to answer next week is whether Idaho voters will allow the Trial Lawyers to buy a seat on the Supreme Court.

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

David Ripley: McKenzie for Supreme Court

May 9th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Board of Idaho Chooses Life has voted to endorse Sen. Curt McKenzie for the open seat on the Idaho Supreme Court, now held by retiring Justice Jim Jones.

McKenzie has a 100% pro-Life record over his 7 terms in the Idaho Senate. He has sponsored and co-sponsored pro-Life legislation, including a measure which prohibits the State Insurance Exchange from using tax dollars to pay for abortions.

Sen. McKenzie earned our Friend for Life Award in 2012.

In addition to his pro-Life values, McKenzie brings a proven record of defending the religious liberties of Idahoans. One of his most important tests came in the fight to establish a state insurance exchange. We asked legislators to amend the bill by including language to protect Idaho’s employers from being forced to provide insurance coverage under ObamaCare that violated their religious beliefs. This measure would have stopped the state from helping Obama force Christian employers into paying for abortion-causing drugs like Ella and “Emergency Contraception”. McKenzie was one of only 11 senators to vote for our Religious Liberty Amendment in 2013.

There is no doubt that the most important qualification for any judicial candidate is a proven adherence to the principles and values which gave rise to a republican form of government in America. The Constitution is a clear and precise defense of our liberties and a systematic limitation on the powers of government. We are being destroyed by judges who believe they are part of a new high priesthood with the power to rewrite the Constitution to suit their particular social agenda and vision for a “better” society.

In contrast, we believe that Curt McKenzie respects the proper limitations of the judiciary, and will vigorously apply the Constitution as plainly written to cases which come before the Court.

We have a huge responsibility this month. Idaho’s Constitution provides the voters of this state with a powerful check on judicial arrogance: Our ballot.

We urge pro-Life voters to support Curt McKenzie in the May 17th Primary Election. And please urge your neighbors and friends at church to do the same.

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

Idaho Chooses Life Endorses Crapo for Re-Election

May 6th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho Chooses Life announced today that its Board has voted to support the re-election of Sen. Mike Crapo to the United States Senate.

“We are proud to once again endorse Sen. Crapo,” said ICL Executive Director David Ripley in a prepared statement. “He has worked hard during his entire public career to defend preborn children and their mothers from the scourge of abortion.”

“We are especially gratified by the leadership Sen. Crapo has taken this past year to end the taxpayer subsidies of Planned Parenthood,” Ripley added. “It is long past time for women and girls to receive quality health care and for Congress to end its partnership with America’s largest abortion chain.”

Idaho Chooses Life honored Sen. Crapo in 2008 for his stellar voting record on pro-Life issues by giving him its “Friend for Life” Award.

In January of this year, Sen. Crapo became a co-sponsor of legislation brought forward by Sen. Rand Paul to recognize the personhood of preborn children from conception. The “Life at Conception Act” would explicitly extend the protections of the 14th Amendment to babies in the womb.

“That is the kind of leadership we have come to expect from Sen. Crapo,” Ripley concluded. “His integrity and vigorous defense of our values should make every Idahoan proud.”

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

David Ripley: Deep Trouble in Canada

April 15th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Canada is now in the throes of a national fight over physician-assisted suicide.

The drama begins with an edict from the high priests on the Canadian Supreme Court that the Parliament must enact a law to legalize physician-assisted suicide. That was something like a year ago. The new prime minister, pin-up model Justin Trudeau, has dutifully come forth with legislation.

Fierce opposition has developed over many of the provisions proposed.

Some argue that the proposal would provide a perfect cover for a person to commit murder. The language provides immunity to “any person” who participates in an assisted suicide.

The language also requires that every physician in Canada, if they object to participating in the premature destruction of a patient, refer their patient to a doctor or facility who will help kill the person.

One Canadian physician has publicly challenged this requirement and the lack of conscience protections for medical professionals.

“If a father were to request that his daughter undergo circumcision (i.e., genital mutilation) and I deliberately provided an effective referral to a willing physician, I would be complicit in an extremely grievous breach of medical ethics,” writes Dr. Ewan Goligher. “This scenario is not ethically identical to physician-assisted death, but it effectively illustrates the moral and ethical responsibility attached to an effective referral. Knowingly referring a patient to a physician willing to cause the patient’s death makes doctors complicit in that death.”

To make matters worse, the association of life insurers in Canada has come out with a new policy, saying they would be happy to abandon their long-standing practice of denying coverage in cases where the policy holder commits suicide – as long as those policy holders follow the procedures outlined by the government. That practically provides something of an incentive to persons suffering from financial hardship: they can arrange to provide for their family by submitting to premature death.

While this Canadian development does not directly affect the U.S. – the legislation supposedly bans “tourism suicides” – it is a bad omen for the future. Not only do we share a long border and common pop culture, but we share vital roles in defending the fundamental Christian values of Western Civilization. That is our common heritage.

From that perspective, we must be concerned with the obvious love affair in Western culture with death, and self-destruction in general. The advanced cultural cancer which is destroying Europe has reached the shores of North America.

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

Richard Larsen: Time for Candidates to Address Debt, Spending and the Economy

April 15th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The discourse on the presidential race has devolved to a point that the most pressing issues seem totally lost in the verbal brawls between candidates. The economic threats and risks to the republic should be the centerpiece of the campaign, for both parties, rather than relegated to a footnote to their public statements.

We have nearly $19 trillion in debt now as a nation. Eight years ago when it was $8 trillion, then candidate Barack Obama denounced the fiscal profligacy of such exorbitant debt, only to more than double it during his two terms. Even Hillary Clinton called it a “threat to our national security.” Why is this threat hardly even mentioned during this campaign?

Due to the massive debt being amassed by government spending, the role of the dollar as the global reserve currency is threatened. During the first five years of the Obama administration, our deficit spending exceeded $1 trillion per year. The first two of those years we were within a few hundred billion of spending twice what we were collecting in treasury receipts. The lack of discipline and fiscal responsibility in Washington led to a downgrade of the nation’s sea of debt by Standard & Poor’s. The ratings organization stated at the time, “Elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising U.S. public debt burden in a manner consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating.”

Three years ago, Dick Bove, vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets said, “Generally speaking, it is not believed by the vast majority that the American dollar will be overthrown. But it will be, and this defrocking may occur in as short a period as five to 10 years… If the dollar loses status as the world’s most reliable currency, the United States will lose the right to print money to pay its debt. It will be forced to pay this debt.”

At the current rate of spending, the federal debt is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to be a staggering $24 trillion by 2020. Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission has calculated that service on the interest for that debt alone, if rates stay near current record lows, will be nearly $1 trillion! If interest rates rise, we’ll pay more. Very soon the largest line item spending category will be paying interest on our debt. More than welfare programs, more than defense spending, more than everything!

The General Accounting Office was explicit in its warning to the policy makers three years ago about our spending. They said in the very first paragraph, “GAO’s simulations continue to show escalating levels of debt that illustrate that the long-term fiscal outlook remains unsustainable.”

Yet we hardly hear a word about our onerous and debilitating debt. Nor do we hear much about economic growth, that is equally important as prudent fiscal policy. As Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal recently noted, “A growing economy means a growing standard of living. … That translates into more dreams fulfilled for more Americans, whether that means a college degree, a home in a decent neighborhood, or just the certainty that your children will do even better than you did.”

It’s no surprise for the Democrat candidates to not fret over the debt or economic growth. Bernie’s programs are calculated to cost $18 trillion themselves, and Hillary’s plans would require a 69% tax increase! Don’t expect economic reality from them. But the Republicans should know better.

To illustrate how critical economic growth is to the country. University of Chicago economist John Cochrane recently wrote that “sclerotic growth is the overriding economic issue of our time. From 1950 to 2000, the U.S. economy grew at an average rate of 3.5 percent per year. Since 2000, it has grown at half that rate, 1.7 percent.”

This is more important to the middle class than any other segment of the population, because as Cochrane points out, from 1952 to 2000, real income per person in the U.S. rose from $16,000 to $50,000. If the economy grew by only 2 percent per year over that period, rather than 3.5 percent, real incomes for the average person would have risen to only $23,000, not $50,000. That’s why average middle class incomes have actually declined since 2008 – a moribund economy with negligible growth.

And it’s organic economic growth we need, not questionable monetary-policy-based growth that we need. Arguably, the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” has exacerbated the problem with regard to the debt hole we’re digging for ourselves.
ftblog63Bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital, concurs. Gundlach says, “The slow-growth U.S. economy is living on cheap money as is the bull market, which is in its last stages.” He explains that the central bank is committed to “easy money,” referring to the accommodative low rate policy and quantitative easing. He calls these policies “circular financing schemes.”

The economy has not improved in any tangible way for the millions of Americans struggling with unemployment and underemployment. A healthy jobs market is crucial to strengthening the middle class, which currently exhibits a troubling lack of long-term stability. More people have dropped out of the work force than at any other time, and median household income continues to decline. A growing economy can solve this economic malaise.

There are other important issues as well. But these are the most crucial for survival of the republic, and having the wherewithal to provide for the defense of the realm. And what we need from our presidential aspirants is solutions to these critical issues. Whichever one of them starts to provide meaningful and realistic solutions should be the winner not only at the convention, but in November. I believe economist John Cochrane is exactly right. “Solving almost all our problems hinges on reestablishing robust economic growth.”

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Otter Signs Landmark Pro-Life Bill

April 9th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Governor Otter signed SB1404 into law today. This landmark legislation, known as the Idaho Unborn Infants Dignity Act, makes a huge step forward in affirming the value of the preborn child.

The new law makes it illegal to harvest organs and body parts from aborted babies. It also makes it illegal to conduct medical experiments using tissue harvested from babies killed by abortion.

Another feature of the legislation creates a death certificate for babies lost to miscarriage. Many grieving parents testified before the Legislation, asking for this important recognition of their child. And the new law makes it clear that parents have the right to direct the final disposition of babies lost to miscarriage and abortion.

There are many people to thank for this great pro-Life victory. Let’s begin with the lead sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Cliff Bayer and Rep. Brent Crane. Both of these men signed up early in the wake of the horrible revelations regarding Planned Parenthood’s nasty side business of trading baby parts for Lamborghinis. We had dozens of co-sponsors as well. Idaho is well-served by such citizens willing to accept the responsibility of serving their neighbors at the Capitol.

The leadership of the Legislature in both chambers was very helpful and supportive of this effort. We are especially grateful for the support of Sens. Bart Davis and Todd Lakey. Sen. Lakey in particular devoted tremendous time to making this effort successful. Special thanks are due as well to Chairman Loertscher for his leadership and wisdom, and we are thankful to Chairman McKenzie for giving us ample time before the Senate State Affairs panel.

We must also acknowledge the role played by Americans United for Life. The basic blueprint for this legislation was developed by this tremendous organization last fall, and they continue to play a vital role in rebuilding a wall of protection around the preborn child.

Idaho is blessed to have a pro-Life governor and legislature. This legislation is a strong statement of principle and decency at a time when the nation desperately needs such leadership. Hopefully the Idaho Unborn Infants Dignity Act can be used in other states as a model response to the on-going horrors of an unbridled abortion industry.

There were times in this legislative struggle when the odds seemed long, but the Lord helped us overcome the obstacles in our path. Ultimately, this victory belongs to Him.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Possible Drama for GOP Convention

April 8th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

This could be the first year in a long time that a major political party convention actually serves the function of producing a nominee, rather than simply being a coronation of a nominee. For many who are emotionally invested in a certain outcome from the conventions this year, the angst and outright anger is nearly palpable. But it’s unwarranted, as borne out by history, and an understanding of the function of conventions.

Until 1972, major party presidential candidates were all chosen by the respective party conventions. The chaotic 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago provided the incentive to move more to a presidential primary system to generate delegates to party conventions. Hubert H. Humphrey became the Democrat nominee even though he had not run in a single presidential primary.

The Republican Party has also reformed its nomination process over the years, yet has left most of the delegate selection process in the power of the state party organizations. Each state has rules for selection of their delegates, and their voting obligations, that may be different from even their neighbor states.

For example, Republicans have never adopted proportionality as a universal rule, which has left some with “winner take all” delegate assignation while others have been allocated on a percentage basis. They have intentionally left many of the delegate rules in control at the state level, rather than imposing a top-down system.

This also applies to how rigidly committed the delegates are to a particular candidate once the convention begins. If any of the candidates garner the requisite 1,237 delegates before the convention, nominee selection is a moot point. He will be the party nominee. But if none of the candidates garner that many delegates, the convention will of necessity be a contested one, not technically an open or brokered one. And there’s nothing ominous or pejorative about that, it just means the votes on the convention floor will actually mean something, rather than being a perfunctory vote for a predetermined nominee.

The RNC is going to great lengths to make the process as transparent and open as possible for the convention scheduled for July 18–21 in Cleveland. They’ve even created a new website where rules, facts, and details can be perused at conventionfacts.gop.
With a contested convention, the eventual nominee is unknown beforehand, since no candidate has garnered the requisite number of delegates to secure the nomination. Under the rules established by the party, since it is their convention and the respective candidates have at least ostensibly pledged allegiance to the party since they’re running under the party’s banner, several rounds of voting may occur before a nominee is selected by a majority vote. A plurality will not suffice. Most state rules only obligate delegates to vote according to the primary results of their respective states for the first ballot. After that, most can vote according to their conscience.

As of this week, Donald Trump has 736 delegates of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention. The number of delegates awarded to non-Trump candidates, including those who have “suspended” their campaigns (meaning they’re no longer seeking the nomination with an active campaign, yet have debts they still need to liquidate) is 834 delegates. That’s 98 delegates more than Trump has at this point. And there are still 902 delegates to be determined by the remaining primaries.
www.usnewsThis week Donald Trump reportedly met with the Republican National Committee to consider a rule change that would assure him the nomination even if he doesn’t reach the necessary threshold to secure the nomination. This seems more than a bit ironic since he’s been alleging that the RNC would change their rules to prevent him from securing the nomination, but he has no compunction in requesting a rule change to assure his victory. Perhaps ironic is insufficient; duplicitous would be much more accurate.

While Trump supporters are vociferous in their assertion that Trump should be the nominee if he has the most delegates, if he fails to secure the required 1,237 delegates, they must acknowledge that those supporting candidates other than Trump actually have more. So technically, the majority belongs with the non-Trump delegates, and a second or third ballot at the convention will likely determine the nominee. If he fails to secure the required number of votes, he loses the nomination, fair and square.

Metaphorically, having the best record in the NFL does not make a team the world champion. They have to win the Super Bowl to earn that title. A team is not merely proclaimed “champion” due to their record. Yet that seems to be what Trump adherents are arguing.

If, after losing a nominating vote on the floor of the convention, Trump opts to break his word and not support the nominee, he’s done nothing more than perhaps prove he is just a common politician after all, as his word means nothing. And if he pursues a third-party nomination, he simply proves he’s in it just for himself, and not for the nation, for he’d certainly hand the general election to either of the socialists running for the other party’s nomination.

For a little historical perspective, it would be good to know that Abraham Lincoln was the nominee who emerged from an open convention in 1860, on the third ballot. He was victorious even though he was not considered a contender heading into the convention.
Another contested GOP convention was in 1952 when retired general Dwight D. Eisenhower was in a close race with Senator Robert A. Taft, a respected party elder making his third try for the office once held by his father, William H. Taft. Eisenhower won on the first ballot after some delegates changed their vote to Ike.

In 1976 Ronald Reagan challenged incumbent president Gerald Ford. Neither had sufficient delegates to ensure the nomination, but the unpledged delegates to the convention pushed Ford over the nomination threshold on the first ballot. The same thing happened with Democrats in 1984, when the race between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart was decided on the first round of balloting after unpledged delegates opted for Mondale.
Reagan_giving_his_acceptance_speech_at_Republican_National_Convention_7-17-80Of the total of 2,472 Republican delegates, 437 of them are unpledged delegates, and 168 of those are members of the Republican National Committee. Any combination of those could well be the deciding factor pushing Trump over the top, even in the first round if he fails to secure 1,237 before the convention. Or they could combine with the non-Trump votes to the nomination of someone else.

Despite cries of inequity and manipulation, the GOP has rules established, and will follow those rules in the selection of their nominee. While many Trump supporters maintain it’s them, not the party per se that should be selecting the nominee, it is, after all, the “Republican Party.” The Party chooses the nominee, not just a plurality of boisterous adherents.

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Posted in General, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, April 4

April 4th, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Now that the dust has settled for about a week, it might be a good time to report on some of the things that have happened in the session as a whole and the last week as well. In some ways it was not a typical year but then there is some commonality as well.

As happens every year there is a race on between the House and the Senate to see who can finish first. We in the house don’t win that too often because we seem to have several amended House Bills come back for concurring in amendments and final action. Leadership could have held us there into the wee hours of Friday morning but after last year’s 2:00 AM finish they decided that was not a good idea.

You have undoubtedly read about some of the more publicized legislation that passed so I will mention some things that are significant but did not receive so much press.

We passed HJR 5 which amends the Idaho Constitution to protect the ability of the legislature to review rules of state agencies. The rules review process has been an invaluable tool for the legislature in making sure that agencies administer the law and not make law.

I was visiting with a grain elevator owner the other day and told him about the rule of the Department of Agriculture that would have required them to report from whom they purchased grain, the quantities of such grain, the variety and quality and the purchase price. He told me that such a requirement would have caused great expense and just more things they would have to report. Who would pay the added cost of the regulation? The producer would. That rule was rejected by the legislature. HJR 5 now goes for a vote of the people in November.

Also not much talked about was a bill that will prohibit the harvesting and selling of body parts from aborted unborn children. Unpleasant though it is to talk about, the whole country was shocked last year as videos of the practice were revealed. The legislature passed this as a means of preventing this happening in Idaho.

Property rights legislation of significance was a bill that would allow either party, a land owner or the county to apply in writing to have a road right-of-way issue heard by a judge that is not resident in the county where the property is located. It is of course a longer story than that, but will make sure a property owner has a fair shot in court.

And as is the case at the end of the session in an election year, we have the opportunity to say so long to those from the body who have chosen not to run again. Rep. Linden Bateman is one of those and sat next to me on the House floor for the last two years. His love for Idaho is unique. Being a teacher by profession, he taught us Idaho history at every opportunity. He sponsored a bill this year to require testing to include questions about Idaho history. He was broken hearted when the Senate Education Committee would not vote his bill out of committee. He has been regarded as a prince of a man and a great friend.

To all of those who will not be returning, thank you for the time you have given on behalf of Idaho.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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