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Idaho Legislature Conservative Scorecard

March 31st, 2009 by Halli

My blogging friend Adam Graham takes the time to put together a scorecard for Idaho legislators based on key votes in both the House and the Senate. While the final scorecard will not be out until the current session wraps up, Adam’s preliminary tally already gives a pretty good picture of who’s who.

Votes used to score legislators include such issues as gun relinquishment in emergencies, the fetal death certificate, daycare regulations and teacher salary reduction.

I’m proud to be represented by Dean Mortimer, one of only 3 Senators to score a perfect 100%. In the House, 33 Representatives boast scores of 100%. While Adam does not name them individually at this point, I expect my two, Janice McGeachin and Eric Simpson, to be among them.

Thanks to Bryan Fischer for bringing this to my attention.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

David Ripley: Idaho House Passes Conscience Protection for Pharmacists

March 31st, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho House passed HB216 by a strong 48-21 vote this morning after vigorous debate.

Most Democrats opposed the bill, with many arguing against its passage. The theme of their opposition was that 1) this bill is unnecessary because pharmacists already are protected and 2) if we pass this bill, terrible things will happen.

Rep. Cliff Bayer hit a home run during his debate in support of the bill when he observed that such argumentation was circular: Either pharmacists are being compelled to violate their conscience now, or the dire predictions are unlikely to happen.

In other debate, we once again witnessed an Idaho legislator make the argument that if a pharmacist has a conscience issue, then he or she should leave the profession. This goes to the heart of the matter. The Abortion Lobby demands a conformity and submission to their views and agenda; the only people entitled to “freedom of choice” are those “enlightened” persons who agree with them. Regardless of your position on abortion, you should be troubled by this form of tyranny.

Our deep appreciation to Rep. Tom Loertscher for carrying legislation which protects freedom, rather than denying it; this is truly a rare moment for any modern legislative body.

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

Richard Larsen – Dissent Stifled as Classical Liberals Oppose Transformation of America

March 30th, 2009 by Halli


Richard Larsen

A few years ago a Danish cartoonist drew a political cartoon that reflected negatively on Mohammed, the leading prophet of Islam. For his indiscretion, a fatwa was issued on the life of the cartoonist, and he was forced into hiding.

Many of us marveled, yet were not surprised, at the intolerant reaction of the Islamic world to a political cartoon. Yet, as I think about it, the same is occurring right now in America.

About 47% of Americans voted against an agenda that would “fundamentally transform America,” in the last presidential election. I can’t speak for the rest of the 58 million Americans who voted that way, but for this American, I rather preferred protection of the principles that paved the way for American grandeur at the time of the nations’ founding. Those principles, clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were founded in a recognition of the sanctity of life regardless of color or creed, the God-given universal right of liberty to the individual, and the freedom to plan and pursue a life of happiness and acquisition of property.

The Constitution went further in defining the limited role of a federal or national government by enumerating the powers that government would hold, and listed specifically some fundamental rights each citizen was entitled to. It went on, in the Tenth Amendment, to declare that those powers not specifically assigned to the federal government were reserved to the states and to the people. In other words, there was to be a very small, specifically functioned national government whose primary roles were protection of the country, facilitating interstate commerce, and standardizing currency.

Is that what we see the national government doing today? Is there even the most remote possibility that Thomas Jefferson or James Madison would look at what their federal government has evolved into, and recognize it as being the American government they intended? Individual freedom and liberty are impinged on nearly daily by those who seek the ever-expanding power and scope of government.

These principles of governance espoused by our Founding Fathers were considered “liberal” in their day. The notion that power and rights were held by individuals who derived them divinely, rather than being granted by a government, despot, monarch, or a parliament was truly radical. Yet most Americans still believe in those principles, and as such, are true liberals; classical liberals. I consider myself to be one.

For the most part, we who are classical liberals have a guttural reaction to what we see perpetrated by those in Washington who are fundamentally transforming the nation from what made us great, to a socialistic, secular European state only different from the rest of Europe by being “across the pond.”

And it is in this context that we see similar reactions to what befell the Danish cartoonist. It is possible to discuss civilly and cogently with some who disagree with the classical liberals, but not with extremists. Those of us who object to the policies, and the cult of conformism promulgated by the mainstream media for the current administration, are made the target of an ideologically spawned “fatwa.”. To the extremists, we are to be silenced at all costs. To facilitate this, they intentionally devolve their attacks to the most base levels, engaging in character assassination, and unwarrantedly charging “racism,” or “hate speech” to quell our dissent. They are the ones who intently look for racism or hate behind everything, and not surprisingly, find it whether it’s there or not.

For these extremists, intolerance has supplanted tolerance; a rigid dogmatism has replaced pursuit of truth; intimidation and accusations are used to stifle dissent rather than freely engaging in the exchange of ideas; and attempted censorship has replaced rational discussion.

For some reason, it appears that those of us who are classical liberals are perceived not just as political rivals with opposing views, but as enemies to be vilified and silenced. Perhaps this is because those who support the current transformation of America don’t want their bubble burst that we’re all “unified” now, and think the classical-liberals should just sit idly by and watch our founding principles be cast aside by a presumably messianic figure. We may be more divided more now than ever.

Cries for “unity” in this transformation of America are moot, for classical liberals are “bitter clingers” to the principles and culture that made America what it is, and will not simply acquiesce to the mantra for “change.” I’m sure many Americans didn’t know this was the change they voted for last November. The transformers may have the upper hand now, but our fate as a European satellite nation is hopefully far from set.

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

David Ripley: Euthanasia Bill Lingers in House Committee

March 27th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Under the guise of enhancing the rights of Idahoans with disabilities, the Idaho Senate passed SB 1114. It was well on the way to becoming law until national author Wesley Smith (Culture of Death) became interested in its details.

He alerted a few friends in Idaho and the national Right to Life office. Within hours, work began to unravel the particulars of this legislation.

Without possible dispute, this is the most lethal piece of legislation ever considered by the Idaho Legislature. Within its many pages is a substantial rewrite of the “Medical Consent and Natural Death Act”. (This is the portion of Idaho Code empowering people to prepare “living wills”).

Under the proposed legislation, a single doctor would be empowered to withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment if he or she determined that such treatment was “futile” or “medically inappropriate”. (These terms are never defined). The bill’s language would allow such withdrawal in violation of a patient’s expressed wishes in a “Living Will”. The patient (or authorized decision-maker) could not appeal the doctor’s ruling to a court. As written, the patient’s family would have fifteen days to move their loved one to another hospital – or be forced to stand by and watch her die.

The legislation is so draconian that one is initially overcome by disbelief. Yet a careful reading of Section 5 makes it clear that many presumptions of the Death Culture have worked their way into the mainstream of medical consciousness. In tandem with proposals by the Obama Administration to ration health care under the rubric of “reform”, we see this legislation as posing a dangerous threat to every Idahoan, not just “the disabled”. (After all, each of us is just one car accident or organ failure away from joining this precious class of persons).

We have spent some two weeks working on amendments with Right to Life and have participated in a series of meetings trying to fix this bill so that Idahoans have protections from the will of a single frustrated physician or an administrator looking to clear a bed for financial reasons. It is unclear whether any of these safeguards will be accepted by the bill’s proponents.

The safest course of action is for people to get up to speed on the bill and contact members of the House Health & Welfare Committee:

Sharon Block, Chairman sblock@house.idaho.gov
Pete Nielsen, Vice Chair pnielsen@house.idaho.gov
Janice McGeachin jmcgeach@house.idaho.gov
Tom Loertscher tloertscher@house.idaho.gov
Paul Shepherd pshepher@house.idaho.gov
Lynn Luker lluker@house.idaho.gov
Jim Marriott jmarriott@house.idaho.gov
Steven Thayn sthayn@house.idaho.gov
Judy Boyle jboyle@house.idaho.gov
Marc Gibbs mgibbs@house.idaho.gov
Jeff Thompson jthompson@house.idaho.gov
Fred Wood, M.D. fwood@house.idaho.gov
Branden Durst (D) bdurst@house.idaho.gov

We should ask them to oppose SB1114 unless pro-Life amendments are attached to the bill.

We would also welcome your prayers.

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Posted in Family Matters, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Letter to Legislators on Cystic Fibrosis

March 26th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

TO: MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE H&W COMMITTEE
JFAC

FM: DAVID RIPLEY

RE: SB 1082 – LEGISLATION TO ELIMINATE SERVICES FOR IDAHOANS SUFFERING
WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS

I write to urge your rejection of SB1082.

This legislation will likely mean death for many Idahoans, and greatly shortened lives for others. While I greatly appreciate the burdens upon you to reduce government expenditures, this seems to be a particularly harsh method for balancing budgets.

While government cannot be everything to everyone – this program has proven to be a compassionate and effective means for offering life-saving help to a group of Idahoans who have precious few options. We kid ourselves by listening to bureaucrats who argue that private insurance will somehow meet the need; it is common knowledge that insurance companies are highly unlikely to accept these families – at least at rates anywhere within range for an average family.

In fact, it is obvious that it was the lack of affordable coverage which provided the impetus for the Legislature to step-up in the first place.

One must also acknowledge that passage of this legislation seems likely to increase the burden on hospitals and county property tax payers, as families are left with no other option but to show up in emergency rooms. Not only does this approach represent a more expensive option to taxpayers – the man or woman struggling with this disease may well have suffered an irreversible degeneration in their condition as a result.

I generally do not involve this organization in issues of this kind, but this matter is obviously one of life-and-death for many Idahoans. We must affirm the value of all life.

Surely we can find a more humane option for balancing the state’s budget.

Thank you for your consideration.

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

David Ripley – Idaho House to Consider Pharmacist Conscience Bill

March 26th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho House will give final consideration to HB 216 in the next day or two. It is important for legislators to hear from you about this valuable defense of health care professionals.

A lot of weird objections to the bill have been raised, with the Abortion Lobby hoping fear will drive folks into opposing the bill. But the truth is, very little will change if the Legislature moves to codify conscience protections for our pharmacists. Many observers believe they already have this right under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And, in fact, they do. As of now, Americans still enjoy the right to practice their religion and follow their conscience.

At the same time, we must recognize that pharmacists are under assault across the nation. As one Idaho legislator put it – if they want a conscience, they should get out of the profession.

And there is the key rub: the Abortion Lobby is engaged in a national campaign to force health care professionals, especially pharmacists, into submitting to their agenda. Even if you are not pro-Life, that should scare you.

It is essential that we are able to trust the corner pharmacist to look out for us. The integrity of the profession is vital to all of us. We need it stocked with the best and brightest, men and women of the highest moral character. One day, your very life may depend upon that gentle lady behind the counter.

Given the oppressive actions of the Obama Administration, we need to defend these professionals by securing their constitutional rights in Idaho Code. That is the same reasoning which led the Idaho Legislature to protect doctors and hospitals from being forced to participate in abortions back in 1973.

Please take a moment to contact your house members here.

Or you can pick up the phone and leave a message: 332-1000, or 1-800-626-0471.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Rep. Tom Loertscher | 1 Comment »

Idaho House Highlights – March 25

March 25th, 2009 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-31

One of the things that is dangerous in the legislative process is when
a committee tries to re-write the language of a proposal before it has
become a bill. We got caught up with that the other day in State Affairs
and finally came to our senses at the last moment and sent it back for
re-drafting. While committees are fairly good for sorting out good ideas
from not-so-good ideas, when it comes to actually writing something it
doesn’t always work out the best.

A couple of bills having to do with the International Fire Code were
sent to the Floor of the House last week and we had a large group of
fire chiefs and the fire marshal there in force and in opposition. The
controversy was centered around the new version of the code that now
requires all new single family homes to have automatic fire sprinkler
systems. If you live in urban areas where there is sufficient water
supply and you don’t have freezing temperatures this might work out
well. But if you live in the country (as many of us do) and you live in
places in Idaho where the temperatures get below freezing (as almost all
of us do) it becomes problematic. Both bills came out of the committee
and one of them passed the full House. One colleague commented, “Not a
good week for fire marshals.”

There are some small Quaga and Zebra Mussels that have become quite a
problem in some parts of the country, as close as Lake Mead. They are
transported from place to place, mostly in the bilges and cooling
systems of boats as well as on the hulls. Once they get a start they
take over waterways and make a huge problem. They will completely close
off irrigations pumps and pipes and they clog up electric generation
turbines. The bill provides for an annual fee of ten dollars per boat to
get boat washing stations at our lakes and reservoirs.

Representative Gibbs of Grace pointed out that Bear Lake would be
especially hard hit if we did not take measures to keep them out. One
House member suggested that we have these washing stations at the ports
of entry. I then reminded the body that we have some lakes that we share
with other states and there are no ports of entry on those lakes. Bear
Lake is the most unique body of water in the world, and these little
critters would permanently alter the lake.

The first of the Governor’s revenue raisers for transportation did
not fare well at all in the House. It would have increased the fuel tax
by seven cents over the next three years. I voted no. Folks at home have
been particularly vocal on higher taxes, and I have gotten more comment
on these proposals than on any other.

In conversing with some budget committee members, I asked how it was
going. Fast, is how one committee member put it. There are no budget
enhancements to consider, no line items, and no increases only
decreases. Of course they are working on the easy items first and the
toughest of all will be the K-12 budget this year. Is there a chance we
will be giving some much needed flexibility to the districts? There will
almost certainly have to be. Our mettle is about to be tested.

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

Action Alert: Still Time to Amend Bad Midwifery Bill

March 24th, 2009 by Halli

The bad midwifery bill, HB 185, can still be amended to reduce the ill effects described in the previous post.

The Idaho Senate has not yet debated, amended or voted on this bill. Please take a moment to contact your Senator and urge him to help repair this bad bill with amendments.

These are the points to keep in mind when contacting the Senate:

* Please preserve midwifery freedom by amending H185 and making it voluntary instead of mandatory.
* Midwifery has been practiced since the beginning of time and is currently legal in Idaho.
* Many midwives only do a few deliveries per year. They can’t afford certification fees, licensure fees, or additional mandatory classes.
* Some midwives who don’t use prescriptive drugs–they use natural alternatives–would become illegal unless they took classes and got licensed to administer drugs that they wouldn’t use anyway.
* This legislation would also restrict entry for future midwives.
* It would limit access to safe, affordable services for mothers by driving a significant portion of Idaho midwives under at a time when many families are already experiencing economic hardships.
* Mothers prohibited from using midwifery services by this legislation would be more likely to hide health issues from their midwives–creating unnecessary emergency situations.
* It would create a number of scenarios where women would be more likely to have risky, unassisted births.
* Many midwives supported the bill before it went through the House. Many midwives and consumers who have read the House bill are upset with the changes.

Follow this link to contact your senator.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Idaho Legislature | 1 Comment »

Bryan Fischer: Unfortunate Midwifery Bill Evidently Headed for Passage

March 24th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Values Alliance

HB185, a bill which will outlaw any unlicensed midwifery in Idaho, is poised for passage today in the Idaho senate.

The net effect of this bill will be to put any number of currently practicing midwives out of business, all to solve a problem that I have yet to hear even exists.

This will raise the cost of childbirth for parents, especially for rural parents, and rob many of them of the dream of bringing a child into the world in a carefully crafted home environment.

It will force more rural parents to go the nearest hospital for labor and delivery services, which will not only add a huge surcharge to the cost of giving birth but also will create additional risks in the delivery itself as babies tend to come when they are ready, even if it’s in the backseat of a car bouncing along a rural road while the parents race to the nearest (and expensive) delivery room.

Any woman who now serves as a midwife will soon be guilty of a misdemeanor if she does not pay the $1,000 licensing fee and comply with mandatory, state-imposed continuing education requirements. If she does it a second time, she will be guilty of a felony.

This bill has already passed the Idaho House unanimously, and seems assured of passage today in the Senate. And so one more slice of freedom is taken away from Idaho families, and lifelong practitioners of a time-honored art that goes back to the days of Moses will suddenly be turned into criminals by legislative fiat.

If you wonder how freedoms are lost, and surrendered to the iron fist of government, you’re looking at it. One well-meaning, well-intentioned creeping step at a time.

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

Richard Larsen: Union Card-Check is UnAmerican

March 23rd, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It’s impossible to be a student of history and not value the contributions that labor unions have made. Horrendous working conditions, miniscule compensation, child labor, seven-day work weeks, and 18 hour work days were redressed largely with the assistance of organized labor.

While unions have done much to improve the quality of life historically, they may have outlived their usefulness. Unions’ primary role currently seems to be political, rather than serving the collective interests of those they claim to represent. I wish I had a dollar for every union member I have talked with over the years who has appreciated union benefits but detested the political posturing, pressure, and tactics of their union, much of which have had little to do with labor related issues.

In this age of globalized interdependent economies, high salaries and benefits negotiated in behalf of organized workers have made many companies simply uncompetitive. United Auto Workers agreements with Detroit’s Big Three (now, Little Three) automobile manufacturers adds 50% more in labor costs than the domestic non-unionized foreign manufacturers. While UAW controlled shops are on the verge of bankruptcy and requesting massive cash infusions from Washington to even allow them to survive, foreign manufacturers in the U.S. are weathering the current economic storm with greater facility.

Now the Congress, in its infinite wisdom, wants to make it easier for unions to make American corporations even less competitive by introducing the not-surprisingly misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” frequently referred to as “card check.” This legislation will abolish the employee’s right to a secret ballot on union membership. Yes, you read correctly. That bastion of democracy, the secret ballot, is vanquished with this bill. It further allows greater peer-pressure from pro-union supporters and allows union organizers to extend the recruitment period ad infinitum rather than a straight up or down secret ballot vote.

Noted economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar, in a study titled, “An Empirical Assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act: The Economic Implications,” concluded that one job will be eliminated for every three workers who are pressured into joining a union. Well, since Obama wants to be compared to FDR, a doubling of our unemployment ranks to 17% would grant him another point of comparison.

There seems to be a dominant mentality among some of us that government is a panacea, or the “cure-all” for all society’s ailments. For some reason, it’s assumed that the government, which is increasingly insulated from complaints and customer (or taxpayer) expectations, will somehow be more responsive to our needs than the private sector. If government is the elixir to all that ails America, why do government employees have a union? If government is as beneficent as some seem to think, there should be no need for government employees to be so organized.

You’ll recall the problems disclosed at Walter Reed Medical facility a few years back. The problems were not the medical care by the doctors, surgeons, and the nursing staff that suffers. By all accounts, the actual medical care is outstanding. Good enough, in fact, to provide medical care to the President and the Vice President for their regular checkups and more complex medical procedures.

Aside from the bureaucratic blunders, the biggest problems apparently had to do with the physical facilities, maintenance, and sanitation. Problems with rodents and mold don’t rest with doctors and nurses; they are supposed to be dealt with by those in maintenance. Regrettably, these maintenance workers are covered by civil service rules that prevent government employees from being fired. Currently those working at the hospital, and elsewhere throughout the government, are protected by the most complicated set of job protection rules in the country.

If companies are to compete in this globalized economy, they need to be able to streamline, manage their costs, and terminate non-productive employees. This card-check legislation is nothing more than a payback by the controlling party in D.C. for the $61 million that unions donated to their party races in the 2008 election cycle The proof is in Joe Biden’s comments to the AFL-CIO two weeks ago when he said, “You all brought me to the dance…it’s time we start dancing.” Card check is not good for America, and not good for the American worker.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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