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Bryan Fischer: Pharmacist Conscience Bill Clears First Hurdle

March 18th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Values Alliance

A bill which will protect the conscience rights of pharmacists cleared its first legislative hurdle today by being passed by the House State Affairs Committee, with some recommended amendments that will not materially alter the effect of the bill.

Although it passed on a voice vote, a procedural roll call vote on a substitute motion indicated clearly that the bill had the support of 14 out of the 18 members of the committee. Much credit goes to Rep. Tom Loertscher of Iona (right, with Idaho Chooses Life’s David Ripley) for his sponsorship of this bill.

Every Republican on the committee voted for it, as did one Democrat, Mary Lou Shepherd of Wallace, who to her credit has bucked her party a number of times in recent years to cast pro-life votes.

The “No” votes were cast by Democrats Elaine Smith of Pocatello, and Phylis King, Elfreda Higgins and Ann Pasley-Stuart, all of Boise.

David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life, who has done yeoman work behind the scenes to develop this bill, testified on its behalf.

I testified on behalf of all of us in the IVA, rehearsing for the committee the proud tradition liberty of conscience as a fundamental right has enjoyed in this country, beginning with the Founders.

Thomas Jefferson, for instance, said bluntly that no provision in the Constitution “ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.”

George Washington similarly affirmed the importance of treating the “conscientious scruples” of men with great deference, and expressed his wish that “the laws may always be extensively accommodated to them.”

Tim Roosenberg of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association testified ably in support of the bill, and stood his ground honorably against rather withering and probably inappropriate grilling from Rep. Pasley-Stuart. Committee chairman Eric Anderson was forced to interrupt Rep. Pasley-Stuart’s challenges to remind her of committee protocol.

Pharmacist Gloria Hansen spoke eloquently in support of conscience rights, saying, “I do know that we need to act according to our conscience … I lean on the rock which is the Lord God.”

The bill now goes to the full House for a vote, and if successful there as expected will then go to the Senate. The bottom line is that today was a good day for the pro-life movement in Idaho.

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

House Highlights – March 18

March 18th, 2009 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-31

At long last the budget committee (JFAC) set a target budget figure for
fiscal 2010 after meetings with the governor’s office and the
projections have been set for revenues for the year. Now the budget work
will begin in earnest and if all goes well should be concluded in about
two weeks. Then if all goes well it will take about another ten days to
have the budgets approved by both the House and the Senate. The “if
all goes well” is the tricky part.

In the budget setting there are quite often surprises along the way and
so two weeks is the optimistic timeframe. As for the work of the House
and Senate that will hinge on whether or not Governor Otter can get what
he wants for transportation. He spent a great deal of time visiting with
members of the House Transportation Committee one on one last week and
many of them indicated that they had definitely felt the pressure. Over
the weekend at home I received a lot of comments from our district that
do not favor gas tax increases or registration increases. Things are
getting tighter for everyone.

A local option car registration bill failed to pass the House that
would have allowed counties and highway districts to increase fees by a
two thirds vote of the people. It could only be used for specific
projects and would allow bonding for those projects. I voted no. For
smaller counties there would not be the possibility of raising enough
money to accomplish much with it. It doesn’t seem like a good fit for
District 31. The quote of the week from Rep. Lenore Barrett was on this
matter. “If this passes, that’s one more hand looking for a permanent
place in my wallet, and my wallet’s got plenty of room, but it doesn’t
have any money.”

Tuesday in the House Health and Welfare Committee after working on a
couple of bills, we had the director of Health and Welfare talk to us
about all of the wonderful things that are about to happen with all of
this “stimulus” money that will be available to use in that
department. One of those is supposed to come to the state automatically
without any action of the legislature, and would change the Medicaid
match rate from seventy to eighty percent. It sounds good on the surface
when we get eighty cents for every twenty cents we put up until you find
out that it will only last for two years. And then what do we do? The
short answer is, increase general fund revenues when the match rate goes
down again.

Last night as I slept I kept dreaming about writing this article and I
wrote some very profound stuff about all of this magic money coming from
Washington. I should have gotten up and written it down, because I have
not remembered most of it. And besides, there is not room for it here
either. Suffice it to say that I get the feeling about all of this free
federal money as I did in Health and Welfare the other day. It’s sort
of the same feeling you get when you are stopped on a railroad track and
you see the giant headlight of the locomotive coming your way. If all
goes well….

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

Bryan Fischer: Great News – Pro-Life Bill Passes Out of Committee

March 17th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Values Alliance

A bill which would grant mothers the opportunity to request a “certificate of early fetal death” if she loses a child to a miscarriage barely passed out of the House State Affairs Committee this morning on a 9-8 vote. Current Idaho law allows for the issuance of a certificate of death only for a child who dies beyond 20 weeks of gestation.

The bill was ably sponsored, introduced and defended by Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale). She explained that the purpose of the bill is to provide a means of comfort and closure to the mother, and grant some official recognition of the humanness of her baby.

As David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life testified, it’s a way for the state to give affirmation to a grieving mother, and can also become a means of healing for a woman who comes to the place where she grieves an abortion.

A bureaucrat from Idaho’s Health and Welfare testified against the bill on the grounds that a fetal death certificate could be requested and then used to create a fraudulent document for other purposes, by “washing” the original document of its original ink and printing over it. He admitted that he has no idea how this “washing” is done. And when asked by Rep. Raul Labrador how many times ordinary death or stillbirth certificates had actually been used in this way, he had no answer.

Both Mr. Ripley and Rep. Boyle made the common sense observation that if bureaucrats are worried about such fraud, they can simply print the early fetal death certificates on a different kind of paper.

One individual testified against the bill on the grounds that somehow it was just a fund-raising tool for abortion healing businesses, but offered no evidence to support that wild accusation.

Randy and Lenette Jackson spoke movingly and eloquently about their grief over the loss of a son to miscarriage last fall, and appealed to members of the committee to provide a way for the state to recognize that couples just don’t lose a pregnancy, they lose a child.

The most striking thing about Mrs. Jackson’s testimony was the body language of the legislators who wound up voting against this bill. While she openly wept and shared her personal story, they stared at the table in front of them, at their shoes, or off into space. These legislators were apparently so unwilling to recognize the personhood of a baby in the womb that they could not even look Lenette in the face. They seemed impervious to her evident sorrow.

Pro-life legislators, on the other hand, made eye contact Mrs. Jackson and listened intently to her story.

Christine Chapman also testified eloquently that an embryo is a living thing from the moment of conception, a human life, and that when a baby in the womb passes from life into death, that passage should be recognized.

Phylis King (D-Boise) led the opposition to this bill, saying at the outset that she wanted this bill buried “forever and a day.” She argued that the “very caring” folks at St. Luke’s had developed an unofficial document grieving parents could use instead of a state-issued certificate. But what about parents who don’t use St. Luke’s? And if producing a certificate under such circumstances is such a caring thing to do, why wouldn’t Rep. King want the state to do it as well?

This is a particularly odd objection coming from a Democrat legislator, since her party portrays itself as the party of compassion and the champion of children.

One Democrat voted for the bill, Mary Lou Shepherd of Wallace, and sadly, four members of the Republican Party found a way to vote against it: Carlos Bilbao of Emmett, Bert Stevenson of Rupert, Max Black of Boise, and Lynn Luker, also of Boise. The votes from Stevenson and Luker were a bit of a surprise, as they have been consistent pro-life votes in the past.

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

Richard Larsen: Obama’s Fundamental Transformation of America

March 17th, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

When Barack Obama said last year that he would “fundamentally transform America,” I don’t think many Americans knew what he was talking about. Regrettably we’re seeing more each day what his vision of that transformation is, and Newsweek captured that vision with its cover a couple weeks ago, “We’re All Socialists Now.”

Each day seems to bring another announcement of massive government spending on a new Obama program. Each one brings increased government control over the economy. With that increased control one of the major tenets of socialism is achieved: the means of production and distribution are owned or controlled by the government.

The problems with this agenda are multitudinous, but there is a principle that was fundamental to the founding of this country that brands government control of the economy as anathema. That is the principle of freedom. As power is ceded to the government, or as government expands beyond its Constitutional limits, as we see increasingly every day, individual freedom and liberty are sacrificed.

Our Declaration of Independence proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We do not derive our rights from the government, but from God. But the government can sure take them away. Each massive spending bill, exploitative budget, proposed tax increase, and cap and trade energy scheme threatens our freedom and individual liberty a little more.

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate for Economics, persuasively argued that economic and political freedom are inseparable. Those freedoms we assume to be ours by legal recognition of a divine right from God, not from the government, are inextricably linked with the economic ability to exercise those rights. Friedman said, “A free private market is a mechanism for achieving voluntary cooperation…. It applies to any human activity, not simply to economic transactions. We are speaking a language. Where did that language come from? Did some government entity construct the language and instruct people to use it?… No, the language we speak developed through a free private market….” Once the government is involved, it is no longer a free, voluntary cooperation. It is coerced, controlled, and rationed.

Other brilliant economists and principled leaders through the years have argued against precisely this kind of economic power grab we see transforming our nation. Thomas Jefferson, in his inimitable style declared, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. … [A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

Although he’s heterodox to government spend-thrifts, Ronald Reagan echoed that principle in 1981. He said, “We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. … Only private industry in the last analysis can provide jobs with a future. … The fact is, we’ll never build a lasting economic recovery by going deeper into debt at a faster rate than we ever have before. … In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” How true those words echo for today.

I love the America that was founded on freedom, and God-given rights. I would prefer those who desire to “fundamentally transform” America simply move to Europe for their secular, socialistic systems, and leave the “land of the free” to freedom-lovers who want it to stay that way.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

House Highlights: March 11

March 15th, 2009 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-31

It seems strange to get to the Capital Annex early in the mornings and not seeing the Joint Finance and Appropriations working full steam on the budget. And now we are two weeks behind schedule in our holding pattern waiting for “stimulus” details. In almost every committee meeting in the House there is a daily discussion about how well we could put all of that money to use. When I entered the House the other day three of my colleagues from JFAC were discussing sate revenues and the budget and I asked them if they had figured out how to use all of that magic money. Their eyes rolled in that “what money” manner.

Election consolidation passed the House at the end of the week and is now headed for the Senate. I voted for the bill. If this becomes law there will be a better understanding for voters as to when and where elections are held. The when of the bill is on four dates, March, May, August and November and the where is at your normal precinct voting places. There are a couple of areas that I have been made aware of from the School Administrators that need to be examined to make sure that the dates will work for the schools.

The licensing bill for midwives passed the House without a single dissenting vote. After the huge fight that went on last year, it has to be a record that will stand for a while. There was a lot of give and take in drafting the legislation and those who worked hard on the bill are to be congratulated. The debate on the Floor of the House was mostly about what a great job everyone had done. One legislator sitting near me said that he thought we should pass a resolution praising everyone that had worked so hard on the bill.

Another little item that passed the House this week that generated a lot of attorney based comments, was legislation granting immunity to shooting ranges that was sponsored by Representative Gibbs. There is a need for shooting ranges more now than in the past and we find that some are closing because of the liability issues involved. They will still be responsible for gross negligence and willful neglect.

We recently sent a bill to the Senate where they amended the bill twice. The first amendment made some changes and then they decided that it was not right so the second amendment changed the bill back to what it originally was. I am not making this up. We concurred with the amendments so now we will vote on the bill as it first passed the House. It is bound to be some fun debate when it comes up for a vote, at the expense of the Senate of course.

Weekends at home seem to evaporate and by the time we caught up on the cattle for another week and I worked on my taxes, it was time to pack the Silverado for the return to Boise. Throw in a few constituent calls and a radio interview along the way and that is how it goes by so quickly. Then it hit me, no wonder it seemed so rushed, one hour disappeared and won’t be found until fall.

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

Bryan Fischer: Immigration Bill that Mandates E-Verify in Works at Idaho Legislature?

March 10th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Values Alliance

Illegal immigration ought to be a concern for every Idaho family. Illegals have been responsible for murders in Idaho, and in one notorious case from eastern Idaho, an illegal alien impregnated a nine-year old girl.

Mexican drug cartels now operate in 230 American cities, and stories cross my desk every day about increasing numbers of incidents in American cities connected to these cartels.

With word that the gargantuan stimulus package could provide jobs for up to 300,000 illegal aliens, particularly in construction and infrastructure projects, it’s clearly time to take additional steps to stem the tide in Idaho. We need to make sure American jobs go to workers legally entitled to work in our country.

Word comes that a bill is in the works at the Idaho legislature that will mandate that all Idaho employers use the E-Verify system as part of the hiring process.

As Phyllis Schlafly explains, E-Verify is a Web-based certification system run by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration which can determine, often in a matter of seconds, whether an applicant is legally entitled to work in the United States.

All Idaho state agencies must use E-Verify, and there is no reason not to insist that all Idaho employers to do the same. There is protection for employers in this – once they’ve E-Verified an employee, they’re off the hook for any possible prosecution for knowingly hiring an illegal.

Approximately 99.4% of lawful workers receive immediate verification (93% within five seconds), while the remaining 0.6% typically resolve the confusion with one trip to their local Social Security office.

As Schlafly says, E-Verify is “shovel-ready.” It’s one way to ensure that stimulus package money spent in Idaho, if it has to be spent at all, at least winds up in the pockets of those legally entitled to it. With Idaho’s unemployment rate higher than it’s been in two decades, it’s simply good public policy for lawmakers to insist that scarce jobs go to legal residents.

Word is circulating in D.C. that a “comprehensive” immigration bill – read “amnesty” – is likely to reach the congressional docket by early fall. It may be important for Idaho to act now to protect itself in every way possible.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty | 1 Comment »

David Ripley: President Approves Destruction of Human Embryos

March 10th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In yet another bid to reimburse the Abortion Lobby, President Obama signed an Executive Order this morning allowing human embryos to be treated as a “cash crop” by bio-medical research firms and universities. He will even use federal tax dollars to make us all stock owners in the macabre enterprise.

Under the new regime, the federal government will finance embryonic stem cell research – which necessarily means the wholesale destruction of human embryos in order to harvest stem cells from these most vulnerable members of our species. In doing so, Obama continued to hold up the lantern-like hope that miracle cures will ensue. The far more certain result is that he has led us into a darker moral tunnel, where moral approval has been given to cannibalizing the weak.

Obama took pains to assure star-struck listeners in the media that he would demand “ethical” guidelines to assure us that human cloning does not follow; but this is merely the latest example of Obama’s patented slip-and-slide dance routine. The cloning of human embryos will be a certain outcome of his new policy. (This is known as “clone-and-kill”).

What he will not allow, at least not yet, is the cloning of an embryo who is allowed to live. That, by the president’s light, would be immoral.

This radical policy shift was expected, as President Obama made clear during the campaign.

If there is any upside to this development, it is that Obama has, we believe, reached the end of his easy gift list to the Abortion Lobby. From here on out, Executive Orders will not be sufficient to expand the scope and depth of the Death Culture Obama seeks to build. He will necessarily have to engage members of Congress as accomplices.

And that will allow the American people many opportunities to defend the preborn child — and themselves.

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

Bryan Fischer: Response to a Concerned Reader

March 9th, 2009 by Halli

Idaho Values Alliance

Here is an email I received from a member of the community, in response to the IVA’s press release on the atheist billboard. (You can read the release here.)

Mr. Fischer,

Your press release was the topic of a fervent discussion involving some close friends and family of mine. While we all agreed that your press release was utter nonsense, we could not reach a consensus on whether you are:

1) Willfully ignorant
2) Ignorant due to lack of education
3) Ignorant due to lack of resources
4) A duplicitous snake

Please clarify.

Thank you for your time,

Michael Durrant

Here’s my reply:

Dear Michael,

I’m happy to clarify for you. The first liberty the Founders secured, the one they considered the liberty that demanded highest and best protection, was religious liberty. And indeed, they used the preposition “of” to make clear that the freedom they were protecting was not freedom from religion but freedom of religion.

Our nation was founded on a profound religious concept, the “self-evident truth” that there is a Creator and that he and he alone is the source of fundamental human and civil rights. John F. Kennedy affirmed this when he declared that our rights come to us “from the hand of God.”

Our rights either come to us from God or government. These are our two and only two choices.

Government’s role, according to the Framers, was not to grant us our rights – God alone can do that – but to guarantee them, to protect them, in order to keep a tyrannical majority or tyrannical minority from taking them from us.

The one thing that nations who deny the existence of God share in common is dead bodies. Think Hitler and 25 million deaths; Soviet Russia under Stalin and 30-50 million deaths; Communist China and 70-100 million deaths. Freedom from religion is a recipe for tyranny, genocide and mass murder.

As George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens…[L]et us indulge with caution the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

I’m quite happy to stand with the Father of our country and claim the title “Patriot” for affirming with him the importance of religious liberty and religious principle as the sources of our greatness and freedom.

Whether that makes both our First President and me “duplicitous snakes,” I’ll leave for others to decide.

And you’re welcome for my time.


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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: The Speech that SHOULD Have Been Heard Around the World

March 9th, 2009 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Tiger Woods on Jan 18, 2009 gave the following speech at the Lincoln Memorial surprising those that invited him to the inaugural festivities. Not one time did he mention Obama…and notice how the media has conveniently ignored it!
“I grew up in a military family — and my role models in life were my Mom and Dad, Lt. Colonel Earl Woods.

My dad was a Special Forces operator and many nights friends would visit our home. They represented every branch of service, and every rank. In my Dad, and in those guests, I saw first hand the dedication and commitment of those who serve. They come from every walk of life. From every part of our country. Time and again, across generations, they have defended our safety in the dark of night and far from home.

Each day — and particularly on this historic day — we honor the men and women in uniform who serve our country and protect our freedom. They travel to the dangerous corners of the world, and we must remember that for every person who is in uniform, there are families who wait for them to come home safely.

I am honored that the military is such an important part, not just of my personal life, but of my professional life as well. The golf tournament we do each year here in Washington is a testament to those unsung heroes. I am the son of a man who dedicated his life to his country, family and the military, and I am a better person for it.

In the summer of 1864, Abraham Lincoln, the man whose memorial we stand, spoke to the 164th Ohio Regiment and said: “I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country.” Just as they have stood tall for our country — we must always stand by and support the men and women in uniform and their families.

Thank you, and it is now my pleasure to introduce the U.S. Naval Glee Club.”

Now, THAT was a speech worth remembering!

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Bryan Fischer: Two Very Good Pro-Life Bills Clear First Hurdle

March 5th, 2009 by Halli

By Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

Two pro-life bills, one of which will protect the conscience of pharmacists and the other of which will allow parents who lose a child to miscarriage to receive a death certificate with their child’s name on it, cleared their first hurdles yesterday by being printed in the House State Affairs Committee.

The latter bill, sponsored by freshman legislator Judy Boyle (R-Midvale), will serve to help parents who have lost a child to miscarriage with the grieving process, and grant some recognition on the part of the state of the personhood of the baby.

Idaho law currently allows women to obtain a death certificate if they miscarry after 20 weeks of gestation. This new bill will extend that option to women who lose a baby prior to the 20 week mark. This “early fetal death certificate” will be optional, and the death would not be recorded by the Department of Vital Statistics.

Conscience protection for pharmacists is critical, as they should not be forced to sell or prescribe drugs which may cause an abortion if it would offend their conscience to do so. Under a bill sponsored by Tom Loertscher (R-Iona), Idaho pharmacists will have the protection they need.

The only way the so-called “morning after pill” works is by aborting a human being in its earliest stage of development. That is, if an act of sexual intercourse does not result in fertilization and conception, the drug does nothing.

But if conception has taken place, it prevents a fertilized embryo from being implanted on the uterine wall. From a medical standpoint then, it is safe to say that the only time the “morning-after pill” works is when it causes an abortion.

No pharmacist who takes his Hippocratic Oath seriously – “First, do no harm” – should be forced to sell or prescribe a drug which he knows will take a human life.

The IVA is happy to stand in support of both bills.

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

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