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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 »

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