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David Ripley: Conscience Protections Become Law

March 30th, 2010 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

On Saturday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter allowed SB1353 to become law without his signature.

While that is an admittedly disappointing development, we cannot allow that to take away from the huge pro-Life victory this legislation represents. Frankly, it is also rather surprising given Otter’s strong constitutional orientation. SB1353 codifies the very spirit of our 1st Amendment’s promise of religious and moral liberty.

After some two years’ worth of work, Idaho joins a handful of other states with comprehensive conscience protections for health care professionals. It couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.

With the federal government now busily erecting hundreds of new agencies with which to invade our hospitals, clinics and insurance providers’ offices – this new law may well prove vital to protecting the integrity of our vital health care professions. We are confident that it will also help protect the very lives of vulnerable Idahoans.

Our special thanks to the Idaho statesmen who went beyond the call of duty to make this new law reality: Senators Russ Fulcher, Chuck Winder and Representatives Tom Loertscher and Erik Simpson. We received support and encouragement from many tremendous legislators – who offer Idaho courageous and principled leadership at a difficult time in our nation’s history.

And thank you … our many readers and supporters from across the state who help us fight these battles. May the Lord continue to prosper you for your active and powerful love of neighbor and community.

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

Richard Larsen: Obamacare Aims to “Control the People”?

March 29th, 2010 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Those who assume that Americans are going to sit idly by while their lives become micromanaged by a corpulent federal government bureaucracy don’t understand the American spirit. Born of freedom and steeped in common sense solutions, citizens across the land are coming, albeit lately, to a realization of what the health-care reform bill was all about.

Congressman John Dingell, Democrat from Michigan and former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman had a Freudian-slip moment earlier this week when he spoke about the legislation. He said, “It takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Yes, you read that correctly. “To control the people.” I can’t imagine a more effective means of granting a government total control over the lives of its people than by yielding control of our health to a bureaucracy. Since they will have control over treatments and care, they will have ultimate control of life and death decisions, life styles, and diet. This certainly puts a new light on the First Lady’s new “Let’s Move” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity “in a generation.” If people have a choice to eat and conduct their lives as they choose, that’s not going to happen. But if it’s forced by government life-style and diet standards, Dingell nailed it: they “control the people.” That wasn’t in the bill passed last week, but like the president said, this is “a beginning.”

According to a new CBS News poll conducted earlier this week, 62% of Americans want Republicans to keep fighting the just-signed health legislation even now that it has been passed and signed. A scant 17% of Americans believe the new law will benefit them. This is astounding since the main-stream media has been pounding the drums for the Washington leadership incessantly for the past couple of years. A CNN poll last month indicated just 23% of respondents liked the bill.

It probably didn’t help that none of the promises were kept while grinding the legislative sausage. There were no C-Span cameras set up to allow us to watch the process, and it was signed just two days after passage by the House, rather than the five days promised. So much for the transparency promised by the president.

We know that the health reform monstrosity was not about insuring the uninsured. That could have been accomplished as an extension of Medicare for a fraction of the $1 trillion per year price tag of the just-passed bill. And it obviously wasn’t done to control health-care costs. Whenever the government has attempted to control costs by price-fixing or rationing it has backfired. Remember wage and price control, the promises of Medicare to control costs of health care delivery for seniors? Even the Congressional Budget Office concedes governmental price control never works. The CBO explains that, “Price controls always break down after a short time because there are too many prices that, by their nature, cannot be controlled for any length of time.” Venezuela provides a superb current example on the inefficacy of price controls as well.

There were some in congress, including Dennis Kucinich, who didn’t want to sign onto Obamacare because it didn’t go far enough in eliminating private sector health insurance in favor of a government monopoly. How were those votes swayed in support of the president’s plan? They were assured that the current package is a “foundation” that would lead to a public option and elimination of private insurance, according to the Washington Post earlier this week. The president has admitted many times that it would take 10-15 years for socialized medicine to “control the people,” using Dingell’s terms.

I can’t help but believe that most of the nation believes that the Constitution was intended as a framework whereby individual freedom and liberty were assured against the encroachment of a burgeoning government. That’s why there were basically three explicit powers granted the federal government: national security, minting of currency, and regulation of interstate commerce.

But to some, the Constitution isn’t worth the parchment it was written on for it stands as an unwanted obstacle to what they feel the government should be able to do, whether constitutionally legal or not. As we’ve seen this week, the majority in Washington falls into that camp.

For some time now, many of us have been worried that we are beginning to see the unraveling of the fabric of our national values – the Constitution seems to be hanging by a thread. It is for this reason that we must do all we can to help in the fight against any proposal that delegitimizes our Constitutional rights. This constitutionally illegitimate healthcare plan is at the top of that list.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 29, 2010

March 28th, 2010 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

No matter how long I am around this place I find myself learning new things. Late last week a bill came before the House to impose continuing education requirements for licensing of auto salesmen. Who would have thought that used car salesmen are licensed in Idaho? I suppose we are all much safer from unscrupulous sales staff at car dealers now that they will be better educated on the ins and outs of selling cars. (I am not making this up.)

Not everything we have done this session is as important as the foregoing, a good deal of it is very necessary and has real value. You may have been hearing about several pieces of legislation this year that will have far reaching effects on our future as a state. There have been a number of issues concerning our sovereignty on which we have expressed ourselves to the President and the Congress. The one that I like the best for this year is House Concurrent Resolution 64 that outlines specific language that would modify the and strengthen the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment.

With all of the commotion on the national level about health care, it has been important for us to insist that we in the states not be treated as stepchildren in the process. We have given the Governor the tools to vigorously oppose forcing our people to pay fines for non participation and increased Medicaid costs that will come as a result of this 2700 page bill.

Our budget this year has been at best, very difficult to set given that one fourth of our state revenues have vanished over the last nineteen months. And as we now conclude the session we are awaiting the April revenue numbers to see how accurate our projections are. It has not been easy for any of us here this year as we recognize how strained personal budgets are with the folks at home. While debating the public education budget one member told us that in these hard times we should be “investing” more in education in order to improve the future. Investing of course, means raising taxes. For some around here it is a very simple thing to “invest” other people’s money.

In November you will be seeing at least three constitutional amendments on the ballot for the approval of the voters. There are two others yet to be considered in the House and may be on the ballot as well. One of the three is to allow the “power cities” (those who generate power and buy from outside sources) to enter into long term contracts for the purchase of power without a vote. This one is essential to the long term power costs for those entities. A second one is for county hospitals or hospital districts to purchase facilities and equipment by bonding as long as the repayment is from revenues and not taxes. The third is for airports to do the same. The two yet unresolved ones are about the disposition of public lands and cabin sites. My advice is to read them carefully before you vote.

As we adjourned on Friday, knowing that we would have to return on Monday, one member (yours truly) played the song “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas & Papas. “Monday, Monday, So good to me. Monday, Monday, It was all I hoped it would be.”

If it is the last day of the session, it will indeed be, “all I hoped it would be.”

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

David Ripley: So Where Are We At Now?

March 26th, 2010 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have received calls and emails from concerned pro-Lifers, asking about the state of things now that President Obama has signed legislation federalizing health care. Does this mean that we are going to start paying for abortions? What about the Executive Order he signed? Does that help or hurt?

The truth is, the situation is still pretty confusing. But we already know a few things.

Most of us really don’t comprehend the scope of what Democrats have foisted upon us. The legislation is so massive, expensive and far-reaching that it will take many years to unfold. Building the huge new bureaucracies required by the law will take time.

In the short term, we’re guessing that public funding of abortions will be slowed by the Executive Order, as well as the fact that the insurance exchanges created by ObamaCare will take time to become operational. The Abortion Lobby has time to plan its certain court challenge of the legality of Obama’s Executive Order on tax funding of abortions; we already know from public statements by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards that they view the Executive Order as “symbolic”.

On the other hand, the media and public have largely overlooked the huge funding subsidies contained in ObamaCare for expansion of “family planning services”. We count at least $13 billion – yes, that is ‘b’ for billion – that is very likely to make it way into Planned Parenthood’s coffers in coming years. And that is very likely a low-ball number.

What’s the money for?

A story this week out of Washington state paints a graphic picture of our future under ObamaCare.

The mother of a high school girl has gone public with her outrage over the fact that her 15 year old daughter received an abortion arranged by the health center located inside the school.

“[My daughter] took a pregnancy test at school, at the teen health center,” said the mother, identified as Jill. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.
According to KOMO News in Seattle, Jill described how her daughter was given a pass, put in a taxi cab and sent off to abort her baby during school hours. No one in the family knew a thing about the situation until the girl broke down afterwards.

“They told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility,” cried Jill.

The media went to school district officials seeking comment. The Seattle School District declined to accept any responsibility, saying it does not operate the health clinics in its schools.

Welcome to ObamaLand: Under his master plan, such clinics will now become common-place in America’s schools. It is all part of his proposal to enhance “preventive” care. The beauty of the plan is that local school officials can, and will, hide behind federal mandates. The clinics will not report directly to school districts, but federal officials.

Planned Parenthood will be the likely vendor operating all or most of these clinics. Not only will they be raking in huge amounts of new federal monies – they will have direct access to our children. The consequences for our daughters in particular are just too awful for many people to long contemplate.

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Posted in Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Animal Cruelty Legislation Needs Your Call

March 24th, 2010 by Halli

I’m perplexed. Much time has been devoted to improved animal welfare legislation in Idaho by legislators and humane supporters alike. Idaho ranks in the bottom four of all states when it comes to animal welfare legislation AND Idaho has gained notoriety at the national and even international level for it’s cruelty cases in the last several years. And now, HB 1317, is not even allowed out of committee. Calls, emails, and faxes to committee members have been ignored.

It was about 3 years ago, when Shane Haggard of Fort Hall, Idaho deliberately starved to death dozens of cows and horses. He got a slap on the wrist and was even allowed to keep some of the livestock. What a joke!

While this bill doesn’t make animal cruelty a felony, it does provide for stiffer penalties and makes cockfighting a felony as well as allowing for protections for production animals which is what the agriculture industry wanted. What does it take for Idaho to take animal cruelty seriously? We know that animal cruelty is often a precursor to child abuse. Let’s give our law enforcement some support. Let’s show Idaho’s “humane side” and move this bill along. It’s long overdue!

Andi Elliott
Hamer, ID
The Humane Society of the Upper Valley
For the Love of Pets Foundation
President
Petango.com/FTLOP

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

“Halli & Friends” Radio Show 1 Hour Later This Week

March 23rd, 2010 by Halli

The Halli & Friends radio program at BlogTalkRadio.com/IdahoTalk will be one hour later than usual Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week only. Tune in at 2pm, MDT, the rest of this week.

The program returns to its regular time of 1pm, MDT, next Monday.

Remember that all past shows can be heard on demand at BlogTalkRadio.com/IdahoTalk, and the most recent programs are available in the player on this website.

Don’t miss the hard-hitting discussions of the hottest topics every day on Halli & Friends!

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Congressional March Madness

March 23rd, 2010 by Halli


By Richard Larsen

The term “March Madness” historically has referred to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Congress this year is giving it a whole new meaning. We are on the eve of the largest spending boondoggle (which is pretty impressive considering the massive list of congressional spending boondoggles!) and the largest assault on personal liberty in U.S. history.

President Obama has made clear that the current version, Obamacare 3.0, is an incremental step toward single-payer, government-run health care, which is no more than a euphemism for socialized medicine. So why is the leadership in Washington so determined to ram this down the collective throats of the American public? Especially considering that just over 30 percent of us are supportive of what they’re doing.

The reason certainly can’t be because the government does it better than the private sector. After all, with all the talk of no preexisting conditions, and rejected claims, government run Medicare leads all private insurers, by a wide margin, in rejecting claims, according to the American Medical Association’s 2008 National Health Insurer Report Card. It also can’t be because of the purported 30 million people without health care insurance, which the Investor’s Business Daily has convincingly run the math to a more probable 11 million, because under the current bill, it will still take years before they start getting the coverage promised.

I believe Australian columnist Mark Steyn captured it perfectly when he said, “Why let ‘health care reform’ stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest? Because it’s worth it. Big time.… the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.”

The current version will not reduce health-care costs. Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School, recently wrote, “After discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care’s dysfunctional delivery system.”

He continued, “There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.”
The nation’s three major entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—are in financial distress, and constitute unfunded liabilities by the government to the tune of $65 trillion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The prevailing sentiment in Washington seems to be apathy toward those insolvent programs, yet determination to hasten the financial demise of the country by adding another financial disaster to the quiver of governmental programs.

Congress’ priority should be amelioration of the existing aforementioned programs ensuring their long-term viability. There are many less costly and effective measures they can take to address the problems they claim they’re fixing.

Our existing programs were created under the auspices of rosy promises of government solutions yet they’re imploding because of expanded coverage, higher costs, and the failure of Congress to adequately fund them. Obamacare represents another failed government promise that will cost much more than anticipated, and accomplish little of what it claims to fix.

Furthermore, constitutional historian David Barton says American courts would have to overturn their last 80 years of jurisprudence to uphold the constitutionality of the healthcare bill in Congress. And he wasn’t just talking about the unconstitutionality of some of the provisions of the bill and violation of the 10th Amendment, but the illegal and unscrupulous manner by which it’s being forced through the Congress.
States across the nation, led by Idaho and Virginia, are passing legislation or promising litigation against the federal government for this unprecedented and illogical power grab.

All the president’s grandiloquence aside, Obamacare will not improve the quality of healthcare, reduce costs, or improve the current healthcare delivery for the country. It will make it worse. It is nothing short of a power grab that the leadership feels is worth sacrificing the next couple of election cycles in order to achieve. Even if it is passed, or ramrodded through by Pelosi and Reid, it will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. But hopefully we, the electorate, will be more wise and leery of similar usurpations of individual liberty in the future.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 22, 2010

March 22nd, 2010 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

As I write what one of my colleagues calls “musings” each week, I try to find something that is a little off the beaten track that would not otherwise be reported. There is a lot happening and at this stage of the session it happens fast. Our incentives to get the session ended are different than ever before because of the budget problems.

I was visiting with one member that told me we should hurry and get the budget set before things get any worse. That reminds me of people who drive really fast on their way to the gas station to avoid running out of gas. It just doesn’t work that way. More of the smaller budgets have been passed now and we are yet to see the biggest ones. There is less wrangling over the budgets than before and as we get to what are known as the big three, Education, Health and Welfare, and Corrections, there will be a lot of discussion.

That discussion will not center on the amounts in the budgets as much as it will be about how the legislature directs the money is to be spent. Some call it micromanaging while others are calling it extreme measures to make the money last through the year. This budget is challenging but not impossible, we will get through this process. I was told a long time ago that the only way out of a crisis is through it and I think that is where we stand this year.

For a long time I have thought that if faced with a challenge like this, we would instinctively look at what we do and eliminate what we deemed unnecessary. In this arena it is a bit more complicated than that because what I may view as not needed is the favorite of someone else. Sort of like it is at home when your wife cleans off your messy desk and that piece of paper you needed (or wanted) now resides in a place destined to find its way to the landfill. It was so very important at the time but now that it is irretrievable we somehow muddle through.

One of the traditions around here on St. Patrick’s day is a wearin’ of the green. The ladies around this place do a better job than the men by far. The best some of us can do is to produce obnoxiously green ties. Those around here with Irish ancestors are the ones who really get with the program. On that day we had some very lively debates on legislation but I am happy to report there were no fist fights. Thankfully, our other traditions and rules don’t allow us to go that far.

I hope that I am not so far off the beaten track that you think we have nothing serious to do. Things like state sovereignty issues (several of them), Idaho coins to mint for payment of Idaho Taxes, and conscience legislation for health care providers cleared the House this week. But you already probably read about some of that elsewhere.

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

David Ripley: Democrats Deliver for Planned Parenthood

March 22nd, 2010 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The anguish of Bart Stupak and other pro-Life Democrats has been evident for weeks. He finally cracked this afternoon. Begging for some kind of exit door to escape his great moral test, Stupak cried out to his leader, Barack Obama. The President reached down to offer the poor guy a fig leaf with golden presidential seal – The Executive Order to Nowhere.

“I have a deal!” cried the broken Stupak, surrounded by his rescued “pro-Life” colleagues, who gave themselves permission to hide behind the president’s worthless scrip and return to their pews as members-in-good-standing of the Church of Liberalism. With their votes, and only with their votes, Speaker Pelosi was able to drive House Democrats into accepting the Senate version of ObamaCare.

To solidify his re-entry into the Party of Death, Stupak even took to the House floor tonight to proclaim that it was the Democratic Party that stood for life – from conception to natural death. His fellow religionists heartily applauded his public confession of self-delusion. Utterly unbelievable and utterly tragic: Stupak has traded his long public service, all the months of struggle around abortion expansion in ObamaCare, to eat a bowl of porridge at a backbench in the Democrat Party’s celebration feast.

The applause from his betrayers is already over, but Stupak will have a lifetime to reconcile himself to his failure. You may be sure that he will never be the same.

But enough of Bart Stupak.

The real tragedy here is the greater number of preborn children killed through abortion. Close behind is the forced remaking of America into a coarser, less noble place, in which we have taken a huge stride toward becoming supplicants of the state.

This legislation is, in effect, the Abortion Lobby’s greatest “accomplishment” since they bullied the Supreme Court into legalizing feticide. Given the huge public subsidies involved for Planned Parenthood and other practitioners of child-slaughter, it is not surprising that they have set-aside the Freedom of Choice Act in order to concentrate on the huge public money on the table with ObamaCare.

Certainly the battle over nationalized health care is not over with tonight’s vote by Pelosi’s Congress. This drama will play out over many election cycles, and through many court cases.

But it sure has been a painful day to witness.

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

David Ripley: Conscience Protection Bill Passes Legislature

March 18th, 2010 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho House voted 51-18 to approve SB1353, legislation designed to protect the conscience rights of all licensed health care providers practicing in Idaho. Only two Republicans voted against the measure (George Eskridge of Sandpoint and Tom Trail of Moscow).

Two courageous Democrats, Jim Ruchti (Pocatello) and Branden Durst (Boise) broke with the majority of their party to support the measure; in fact, Rep. Ruchti was a co-sponsor of the bill.
After some two years’ work on this issue, today’s floor debate was somewhat anti-climactic.

Reps. Rusche and Burgoyne made formal statements of opposition and debate was closed. Much of the energetic opposition to the legislation was spent yesterday during a floor session, in which Rusche attempted to move the bill to the amending order in order to remove conscience protections in end-of-life situations.

As the legislation moved through the Capitol, the focal point of opposition shifted from emergency contraception to end-of-life treatment and care.

By the time the legislation arrived in the House, the AARP became the most vocal opponent, expending big resources to mislead seniors into believing that SB1353 would deprive them of rights under Idaho’s Living Will statute. In fact, the legislation which gained final legislative approval today does nothing to change patient rights.

But it does make clear that no patient can force a medical professional to violate his or her conscience.

This legislation may, in fact, become a vital part of protecting patients under the threatened health care rationing now on the verge of passage by Congress.

There are many heroes in this long struggle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Thanks to all who carried us through prayer and legislative contacts and financial support.

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

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