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David Ripley: House Rejects Rule on Abortion Funding

March 16th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho House has soundly rejected a rule being used by the Department of Health & Welfare to fund teenage abortions.
In theory, the Department rules were written to implement the Davis/Loertscher Amendment, adopted by the Legislature in 2001. That statute limits public funding of abortions to cases of rape or incest – or when the woman’s life is at risk. Most of the Department rule is logically related to those three criteria, like the woman producing a police report in which the crime has at least been reported.
But in dealing with teenage abortions, the Department merely requires a girl to prove that she was under 18 at the time of conception.
Our reading of the rule is that it would allow the Department to finance virtually any teenage abortion.
We are grateful that the Idaho House has taken the time to address this matter, given the many difficult challenges it faces this year. We also want to publicly thank Rep. Janice McGeachin, Chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee, for leading our efforts in the House of Representatives.
Every Republican – except Tom Trail of Moscow – voted to strip this rule from the Department’s playbook. Sadly, every Democrat, including Boise freshman Democrat Cherie Buckner-Webb, voted to support the Department’s abuse of its rule making authority.
We are now looking to the Senate leadership to provide us with a hearing for HCR 23.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 15

March 16th, 2011 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Sometimes in life things seem to come full circle. I’ve seen the Legislature respond to problems and put solutions in place only to find out later that the changes made either haven’t worked or have created new problems. So in an effort to fix those things we tend to go right back to where we started.

A case in point is the reworking of the Medicaid law. Over the years the Legislature has put things in place to make it plain how programs would be reimbursed, how certain populations would be eligible for the programs, and other provisions that have sprung out of years of confusing rule-making by the Department of Health and Welfare. There were, of course, good reasons for having done that but one of those reasons was not necessarily to save money.

On Tuesday afternoon we had a very large group of people assemble outside the auditorium where there was a joint House and Senate Health and Welfare Committee having a hearing about proposed cuts to Medicaid. It was one of those marathon meetings of which I have attended many. Out of that meeting and in conjunction with negotiations that were taking place behind the scenes, many changes were put into the legislation. On Thursday, one of those things that most folks say is difficult to observe (and some folks say is dangerous) was the writing of legislation by committee. The outcome takes us full circle putting us in exactly the same place we were several years ago. Most of the changes allow the department to make changes by rule rather than having it done by statute.

What was even more interesting about this process was that most people who are concerned with the cuts seem to be pleased with what was done. One of the areas most carefully considered was how the trimming of Medicaid will affect the developmentally disabled. Most around the table thought that we had at least addressed the majority of the concerns. Time will tell.

By now I’m sure that you’ve heard about House Bill 222 which would allow for concealed carry permitted individuals to carry weapons on college campuses. The discussion on that bill spilled over into two days, which is something I had not anticipated. The bill was sent to the floor of the house for further discussion and that too will be a lively one on the house floor. One of the issues that came up in the committee, was just how many law-abiding permit holders already take weapons onto campuses not knowing there are policies in place from the Universities that would prevent them from doing so. Even more alarming is that those folks who do not have concealed weapons permits are also carrying weapons on the campuses. It will be interesting to see how the vote comes out in the house.

We are moving full steam ahead at this point with several budget bills on the agenda for the coming week. The challenge now is to consider all of the house legislation and get it sent to the Senate and then getting all those Senate bills passed (or not) so that we can go home. In the western part of the state the ground is bare which is nowhere near what it looks like in our part of the world. I was commenting to Linda over the weekend that it seems like the weather has tipped over just a bit and that spring just might get here soon. Hold that thought, it’s still freezing every night and the ground is covered with snow.

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David Ripley: Senate Approves Assisted Suicide Ban

March 12th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho Senate approved SB1070 on Friday morning (03.11) by an overwhelming 31-2 vote, with two members of the Senate missing from the floor.
Sen. Russ Fulcher led debate for the bill, pointing out that the legislation was intended to protect current medical care standards in Idaho. He was joined by Sen. Steve Vick, one of the co-sponsors, in pointing out that Idaho’s current lack of statute in this area leaves us vulnerable to the efforts of groups like Compassion & Choices – the organization that brought assisted suicide to Montana, Oregon and Washington.

SB1070 is a top legislative priority for Idaho Chooses Life.

Several Democrats voted for the legislation, including Sen. Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai of Pocatello.

The legislation now goes to a House committee for hearing.

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David Ripley: House Committee Rejects Rule

March 10th, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The House State Affairs Committee took decisive action on Wednesday morning to prevent abuse of a state law restricting tax funded abortions.

In 2001, the Legislature enacted the Davis/Loertscher Amendment to restrict Medicaid abortion to those involving a threat to the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. However, in 2007 the Department of Health & Welfare maneuvered a rule change will basically created an exception that ate the law:

The way we read their rules implementing the 2001 law, any teenage girl in Idaho would be eligible to have a “free” abortion so long as she could prove that she was 18 or younger at the time the baby was conceived. That rule certainly violates the intent of the key law. But it also compromises the spirit of Idaho’s Parental Consent Law.

Fortunately Health & Welfare Chairman Janice McGeachin and members of the State Affairs Committee have ridden to the rescue of taxpayers and these girls – so susceptible under H&W rules to manipulation by Planned Parenthood & Co. And fortunately Idaho allows for the Legislature to override agency rules which violate the intent of statute.

The House Concurrent Resolution was sent directly to the House floor – which greatly increases the odds that we can get this abusive rule stripped from the playbook before the end of this legislative session.

This may well be the important pro-Life issue of the session. The latest figures available indicate that there are about 300 abortions done in Idaho on girls under 18. No doubt many of those were the direct result of this back-door funding scheme, by which Planned Parenthood could offer troubled girls a “free” abortion to solve all their problems.

As important as the abuse of tax dollars is in this matter – witness the wrenching stories of families impacted by proposed cuts in Medicaid dollars – the most important element of this outrageous rule is the implied sanction of abortion as a morally acceptable choice for girls in crisis. After all – if the taxpayers of Idaho are willing to pay for it, it must be right – right?

We ask for your prayer support as we work to ensure this rule rejection is adopted by the full House and then in the Senate.

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

Richard Larsen: Problems with Public Employee Unions

March 8th, 2011 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Most federal government unions do not include pension and benefits in their collective bargaining. And yet President Obama has the audacity to scold Wisconsin Governor Walker for trying to restrict collective bargaining by his state government employees to wages only, the same as the federal employees. Interesting dichotomy.
The two million federal civilian (non-postal) workers Obama presides over can’t bargain over benefits, and it is the rare exception for federal employee unions’ benefits to be subject to union contracts. The President said in November that federal government employees are required to “make some sacrifices” to the tune of $2 billion this fiscal year, in announcing a two-year wage freeze affecting all federal union members. Yet Governor Walker is somehow the “union-buster” for “restricting” his state unions to collective bargaining at the same level of most federal employees, while being labeled in the most despicable of terms.

One cannot be a student of history without recognizing the tremendous contributions unions made to the emergence of the middle class in early to mid 20th century America. They forced improved working conditions, workweek hours, and compensation levels. But one can’t help but wonder if they’ve outlived their usefulness to the rank-and-file worker, as they have become primarily political entities, with forced union dues used heavily for amassing power in the political arena. Even Bob Chanin, former top lawyer for the National Education Association, admitted that in his farewell speech two years ago. “It’s not about the kids…it’s about power.”

According to Department of Labor statistics, only about 7% of America’s private sector workforce is unionized. In post World War II era, it was nearly 40%. The trend is reversed for public employees, where 60 years ago the unionized segment of the public employees workforce was less than 10%, while it currently is nearly 37%. Logic leads one to surmise that maybe all those “evil corporations” have gotten it right, and are providing pay and benefits at a level that employees are satisfied with. While the same logic might lead us to believe that, following those trends, it is “evil government” that is taking advantage of employees and must be represented by collective bargaining.

I rather suspect it has more to do with the deep pockets of government with a virtually assured continuous revenue stream (taxes), and the political influence those public employee unions can exercise over their employers, our elected officials. Private employers can only go so far until the strong-arm tactics of organized labor bankrupts their companies, as we saw with the U.S. automakers. However, state, local, and national governments can be forced to meet labor demands by increasing the taxes the rest of us pay for their contracts, while holding us hostage to the services they provide. If we fail to pony-up on their demands, teachers, firefighters, and policemen are forced by their union management to walk out on their obligations to us, their real employers.

A New York Times Magazine essay titled “Labor’s Future,” published in 1955, quoted AFL-CIO president George Meany, “The main function of American trade unions is collective bargaining. It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

And in 1940, Arnold Zander, the Wisconsin union organizer who became the first president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, wrote that AFSCME saw “less value in the use of contracts and agreements in public service than . . . in private employment.” Instead of collective bargaining, he argued, “our local unions find promotion and adoption of civil service legislation . . . the more effective way” to serve the interests of government employees. As late as the 1950s, AFSCME considered collective bargaining in the public sector desirable but not essential, and viewed strong civil service laws as the best protection for government workers.

There is a fundamental problem with unions’ collective bargaining with governmental entities, which invariably results in unions being represented on both sides of the negotiating table. Union demands are voiced by their union leadership, and those demands are echoed by politicians who owe their elected positions to those unions that are bargaining on the other side of the table. That’s what has Wisconsin over a barrel. Not coincidently, the ten states with the most budgetary red ink to reconcile are in the same situation, with organized labor holding the states hostage to their platinum-plated health care and pension programs. Negotiated entitlements and unrestrained spending are breaking the backs of those states’ budgets.

Some who are pro-public-employee union are waking up to this fact. As David Crane, of the California Board of Regents recently wrote, “Collective bargaining in the public sector serves to reduce benefits for citizens and to raise costs for taxpayers.”

If companies cannot control their costs, they fail. If governments cannot control their costs, they tap their perpetual income stream (tax payers) for more. Since support of corporations is voluntary and support of government is compulsory, ethics and fiscal responsibility are on Governor Walker’s side.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 8

March 8th, 2011 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

President Dwight D. Eisenhower said once that,” Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.” And that’s how it is around these halls. It may look easy from a distance but it seldom is.

We crossed the first hurdle last week by passing the first appropriations bill that pays for fire suppression for the past year. It’s normal for us to start with the small budgets and finish with the big stuff. There are a couple of pieces of the puzzle that have to clear hurdles in the legislature before some of those large budgets can be set.

Last week saw the introduction of what we are calling the Medicaid bill. A lot of what is contained in this legislation are corrections that are needed in order to make the budget work this year. I’ve requested that we be furnished with how the changes will affect each program and discuss the number of people that will be involved in those changes. The reductions that are contained in this legislation affect the lives of real people. Those kinds of decisions are never easy.

It’s always good to get home and it was especially good this weekend as Linda and I traveled to Montpelier for the annual Lincoln Day celebration. In addition to the festivities superintendent Luna met with teachers, students, and parents in an effort to explain the education reform bills that are making their way through the legislature. As meetings go I thought it was very productive and was happy for the opportunity to sit and visit with a lot of the concerned parties about this issue. The best comment came from a parent who said that her concern was that there has not been enough emphasis placed on the family’s role in education.

We are always looking for the magic bullet, one that will solve all of our problems. I don’t know about you but my experience tells me there are no magic bullets, at least I have not been able to find many. Some of our problems are too large for the feds or the state or even the communities to solve. Real solutions to education will come best from families.

Sometimes to my own downfall I tend to look at the world in simple terms. Life has become very complicated. President Eisenhower got it right. Very few things are as easy as they seem, especially from a distance.

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Bob Webster: Creation vs. Evolution – Chapter 4

March 7th, 2011 by Halli

Some charts are omitted because of formatting problems. If you would like to have the document in its original form, use the contact form.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three


In this chapter we are at last ready to dive into the heart of the controversy surrounding CREATION-VS-EVOLUTION. As we discussed earlier, the focal point of conflict seems to be the 1 God-day equals 1000 years in the Creation story, as opposed by the millions of years age of the earth declared by evolutionists. The previous chapters presented the scriptural evidences that the CREATION position is literally true.

When originally created, this physical earth was in a TERRESTRIAL status. During those peaceful Garden-of-Eden conditions, there was no aging or death on earth! All living creatures lived endlessly. All land was in one place, and the sea covered the rest of the earth’s surface. The surface of the earth was relatively smooth, mild and peaceful, producing its foliage and food spontaneously for the benefit of all creatures. No form of life harmed, attacked or ate any other, only its foliage or fruit.

Adam and Eve were the first human flesh on earth, although they were not yet mortal. There were no pre-adamite “cave-men” progenitors. These two children of God, Adam and Eve were fully intelligent, yet as innocent as the cattle. All creatures lived in peaceful harmony, without pain, disease or death. Like all other creatures, Adam and Eve were designed with the ability to bring forth offspring after its own kind, but as yet ignorant of and unmotivated about how to do so. Genetic cross-breeding or mutation was impossible, being restricted in its genetic code by limits set by the Creator. Those limits lovingly protect each species and avoid chaos. There are different kinds of flesh for man, beasts, fishes and birds. They did not evolve from one common ancestor, although there were similarities in many of the regeneration processes. Each kind of creature was a specific creation, genetically different from all others.

When first placed on earth in their TERRESTRIAL state, all animal creatures could intercommunicate in a common language. Adam had not been taught any “reckoning of time,” since time was irrelevant; time was endless. Then Satan was allowed by God to enter the scene to provide the opposition necessary to help Adam and Eve exercise their free choice between right and wrong. Satan, filled with hate from his rejection, was determined to destroy the Father’s Plan of Salvation, which now condemned Satan and his angels of misery and hate.

Soon after placing them here, God had carefully instructed Adam and Eve to:
1. Multiply and replenish the earth.
2. Take care of the Garden, and have dominion over all the earth.
3. Not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Using his persuasive skills again, and speaking through the voice of the subtle serpent, Satan presented portions of truth, mingled with deceit and twisted logic, to convince Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Yes, the fruit was an actual fruit, not sex, despite how modern distortions portray it. Eve desired to gain knowledge, and to be as the Gods, knowing good from evil. She especially needed knowledge to keep those first two commandments. She made her choice.

Eve ate deliberately, and found the fruit to be delicious as promised. Quickly, she realized that she alone had eaten, and would be left alone, isolated from both Adam and the Father. She earnestly reasoned with Adam to eat of it also, breaking the third commandment so they might remain together to fulfill the first two, which they could only accomplish together. Adam agreed with this necessity, and also chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. Otherwise, they would have remained separated forever without knowledge, posterity or joy.

Together Adam and Eve reasoned that it was worth the penalty of suffering and even eventual death in order to know good from evil, and to complete their God-given commandments. In their original innocent state, Adam and Eve had no awareness of their sexuality, or how to multiply and replenish the earth, as commanded. But with the change that came into them now, they became mortal and understood.

With this willful breaking of a simple commandment (a law), sin entered the world. This is The Original Sin. Since no sin whatever may remain in or enter God’s presence, Adam and Eve were exiled from their beautiful Garden-of-Eden home near present Independence, Missouri, to a nearby location known as Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Missouri. God prepared their first clothing from animal skins, and taught them by His own voice how to struggle and survive “by the sweat of their brow.” He also taught them the need for a Redeemer, and promised to provide one.

But the consequences of their original sin extended far beyond Adam and Eve themselves. All of the earth and all creations under Adam’s jurisdiction also fell from the blissful TERRESTRIAL state to a lower TELESTIAL state of mortality. All of Creation, organic and inorganic entered mortality together. This is The Fall Of Adam.

It is at this point that the aging process began, leading toward death and decay. Also at this time began the counting of TIME in mortality, for Adam and for all the earth. There also began a new enmity and adversity between creatures, developing into predator-prey food chain relationships. The earth itself became harsh and rough, yielding its resources only with difficulty, particularly for mankind. Some climatic influences became severe and troublesome.

Just as the TERRESTRIAL Garden of Eden state of innocence would have endured endlessly without the Fall of Adam, so also this new TELESTIAL fallen state would have continued forever, unless rescued by the pre-planned effect of a SAVIOR. The SAVIOR would pay the ransom debt of Adam’s original sin, mercifully satisfying the demands of justice.

Justice requires that every sin be paid for by innocent mortal blood. The SAVIOR would make it possible for Adam and all his posterity to be freed from the penalty of an endless death caused by the original sin, and to enjoy the presence o f the Father again. His ATONEMENT would also erase men’s personal sins, upon conditions of personal repentance.

It is because of these religious reasons that the earth is like it is today. Consequently, it is futile to try to understand earth and life under any other explanation or theory. Creation is not a theory; it is fact! Evolution is only a theory (a guess), and a false and unverifiable theory at that! It is worse than false, Evolution is anti-God, anti-truth and anti-salvation! It is Satan’s counterfeit for truth, a counterfeit religion!

Now that the earth had entered mortality, how long will it stay that way? When would the SAVIOR free it from both original and personal sin? When would the anticipated end come, so that God’s children could come home again? As pre-planned by God, mortal earth (after the Fall of Adam) would exist for six God-days of 1000 years each, followed by a seventh day of rest.

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Bob Webster: Creation vs. Evolution, Chapter 3

March 3rd, 2011 by Halli

By Bob Webster

Chapter One

Chapter Two


Before our earth was created, God our Father first planned the process. This was not the first earth ever created, nor the last (Read Moses 1:29-38). The laws governing the creation process have always existed. God employs those laws precisely and righteously. But He was not alone.

Both the Genesis and Abraham accounts reveal that more than one person was involved in the planning . . . Let us create man in our image, (Gen. 1:26) Let us go down . . . and they, that is the Gods organized and formed the heavens and the earth (Ab. 4 & 5).

Numerous other passages confirm that Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah of the Old Testament, Mine Only Begotten, The Son of God, etc. created the earth under the direction of God the Father (TG: JESUS CHRIST – CREATOR).

In brief, God is the Father of the spirits of all men and women. Man’s spirit body looks like and conforms to the shape of God’s physical body. God gathered His spirit children and explained His plan to them (us). On an earth, which He would create specifically for them, they would receive their essential physical bodies, similar to His, with which to gain experience, and to prove themselves by obedience to His commandments. By following His guidance on earth, each could progress back into His presence, the ultimate existence. It was also made clear that all memory of pre-earth life would be gone on earth, which would make the test of faith and obedience fair and complete. Each must act and choose for himself. Freedom of choice (agency) is as essential a principle of life as a physical body. It’s a celestial law!

God knew that disobedience (sin) would prevent His children from qualifying to return to His presence. God explained a marvelous arrangement to overcome that lost and helpless condition. It would require a sinless person on earth to earth to sacrifice his own blood to atone (repay) for the sins of all the others, since only innocent blood can atone for sin – another celestial law. A SAVIOR was necessary – a sinless one who would voluntarily suffer out of pure love for his brothers and sisters, in total obedience to our Heavenly Father. To him would God grant the power to then return to life permanently, and to make it possible for all men likewise to resurrect into everlasting life.

The Firstborn Son of all of God’s spirit children, Jehovah, volunteered, committing himself completely to God’s will, and honoring the righteousness of His plan to bless His children. God was pleased.

But another great and persuasive spirit son, Lucifer, foreseeing the difficulties and hardships of earth life, presented an alternative plan. In his scheme, no one should have to risk being lost; all could be saved, by requiring everyone to be tightly controlled – forced to obey – without agency. His true objective, however, was to receive the credit and glory for himself, attempting to accomplish something that not even God could guarantee. Shouldn’t that make him greater than God?

And therefore shouldn’t he deserve to sit on God’s throne instead? Many of the spirits liked the idea of guaranteed security and salvation, as opposed to the personal risks and responsibilities of freedom of choice. (You may recognize that this same contest between our own guaranteed security and calculated risk is a major issue between competing political viewpoints governing socio-economic programs on earth).

Full of vanity and deceit, and possessed with a lust to obtain power and glory without earning it according to eternal laws, this spirit sought a shortcut to the power and glory he desired. His plan would eliminate every individual’s right and responsibility to choose for himself willingly, without external compulsion. However, God said, “I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and at that day many followed after him “ (Read Ab. 3:24-28; Moses 4:1-4; TG: COUNCIL IN HEAVEN, SATAN).

With Jehovah accepted and his plan rejected, Lucifer rebelled. But so influential was his debate, and so persuasive was his personality and presentation that it divided the spirits, creating a war in heaven. He became Satan, the Father of Lies, and was cast out of heaven to earth, along with the rebellious one third of the spirit children of God. They became the Devil and his angels, who lost their opportunity forever to have a physical body, and to enjoy its blessings. Instead of progressing, they work continually to influence men on earth to not obey God’s plan of happiness and salvation. They seek to make all men miserable, like themselves.

What does this have to do with CREATION – VS – EVOLUTION? It is essential to understand the true reasons why earth was created, why conditions exist as they are, and how long earth will last in each of its various situations. This is the ultimate reality. This is TRUTH. This is not a children’s fairy tale. This is the real thing! (Remember to study each of the topics in the TOPICAL GUIDE in the back of the LDS KING JAMES BIBLE. TG: SATAN, FALL OF MAN, WAR IN HEAVEN, COUNCIL IN HEAVEN, CREATION. Don’t skip these, or you will miss the most important points!)

Just as all children of God were created first as spirits in heaven prior to coming to a physical earth body, so also were all living things, and even the earth itself, created first as spirit beings, made of a more refined spirit matter. The same sequence of actions used in the spirit creation was then repeated for the physical (temporal) creation of the earth and its life forms. The overall “master plan” or agenda for earth’s existence was to include several stages:
1. Spirit creation in heaven: 6 days plus a day of rest.
2. Physical creation: 6 days of 1000 earth years each, plus one day of rest – a total of 7000 years.
3. The Fall of Adam, initiating both death and the start of the counting of earth’s temporal time in mortality.
4. Mortality: 6 days of 1000 earth years each (We are now approaching the end of the 6th day). The Savior’s atonement came in the meridian (middle) of this overall earth time schedule
5. The Millennium: The 7th day of 1000 years of peace, with Christ/Jehovah the Savior reigning personally on earth, while Satan and his angels will be bound, and rendered even more ineffective by man’s righteousness.
6. Satan will be loosed again to propagate evil for “a brief time.”(1000 years?)
7. Final Judgement of men, and assignment to appropriate kingdoms of glory.
8. Changing of Earth into a celestial globe like God’s home, to be the home for those who kept God’s commandments, and learned to live righteous, obedient lives. Among these are candidates for Godhood.

How refreshing the truth is! How grateful we are to God for providing this knowledge. It gives us hope of eternal life, and kindles our love for God our Father, and for our elder brother Jesus the Christ, the Creator and Savior.
Finally we are now better prepared to examine some of the details of those 1000-year ?God days of the physical creation of earth, and then to determine in Chapter Four, an answer to that anxious question, HOW OLD IS THE EARTH?

(Please use the contact link to email for the full text and diagrams.)

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts | No Comments »

David Ripley: Strange Behavior of Idaho AARP

March 2nd, 2011 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The House State Affairs Committee approved an amendment to the Conscience Protection Law on Tuesday morning. Sponsored by Rep. Julie Ellsworth of Boise, the amendment resolves a potential conflict between the Conscience Law and the Natural Death Act. The latter is that part of Idaho law which provides for Living Wills and Advanced Directives.
Idaho Chooses Life did not oppose the change to the Conscience Law because we recognize that a lot of fears have been engendered among Idaho seniors that their Living Wills are no longer valid.

That fear, of course, is the direct result of bad information coming from AARP – the ostensible advocate for Idaho seniors.

In fact, despite the concession, AARP showed up to oppose the Ellsworth Amendment – which makes it explicit that a physician with conscience objections in an end-of-life situation has to abide by the provisions of the Natural Death Act. One would think that AARP might have declared a victory of sorts and gone home.

Instead, they took the curious position that the change does not go far enough. In fact, it would appear that their ultimate position is to strip all health care professionals of any conscience protections whatsoever. One of their witnesses argued that a doctor or nurse with conscience concerns ought to leave the profession.

Apparently these liberal activists believe that the Bill of Rights was written just for them, a very special present to their generation from James Madison & Co. (Or, to be more precise, a gift for only the “enlightened” members of their generation).

Setting aside that contorted view of the social compact, one is tempted to view AARP’s continued campaign as little more than a cynical effort to raise money for their organization by causing needless anxiety among Idaho’s seniors.

That is just not right.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – 2 March

March 2nd, 2011 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I’ll bet you’ve seen the posters around some businesses that come from a website called I’ve rather enjoyed some of the sayings over the years and one that I ran across this last week has to do with what is happening right now in the legislature. The one I am talking about is a picture of a tornado and the title of it is Change. It goes like this. “When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles.” What we are experiencing here with the debate on education is certainly not trivial, but as we know the little details of things seem to become projectiles at some time or other.

We as human beings tend to resist change with everything we have. It may be just because we have some fear of the unknown or that we just have a hard time getting our arms around a new concept. There is a lot of resistance around this place mostly from outside, from various groups that hate to see change occur in the way we educate students. I suppose I’m one of those who likes to be an innovator and I can’t blame Superintendent Luna for trying to bring about change. New methods are worth exploring and if all of the dire reports about how we are doing in education in Idaho have any validity, we definitely do need to do something. I’m just not sure that this plan is the something we need to do. Everywhere I went over the weekend I was asked about the “Luna” plan.

At the first of the week we had the young 4-H kids from our area come for the annual Know Your Government conference. It was a pleasure to sit with kids from our area and one of the first things they asked about was the new plan for education. I turned the tables on them and asked what they thought of Superintendent Luna’s program. To a person they said that they didn’t like the idea and had some concrete reasons why they didn’t think it was good. I told him that I thought they were very fortunate to live in the times they do, when they have access to so much information and the ability to learn so much from the resources they have. I asked them if they would be willing to help in the design of the next generation of learning in the classroom. They indicated a willingness to do so. I am impressed with the quality of kids that we have and that they are able to figure out ways of doing things that we in the older generation haven’t dreamed of.

There is one thing that I know for sure and that is that I do not have all the answers. What I would like to see us do at this point is to take a deep breath, step back and try to get buy-in over this next year into programs that teachers, administrators, students, and parents can help implement. I really think that’s the only way that education reform can happen with any degree of success.

Several years ago while meeting with teachers, I told them that I would be willing to meet with them anytime to discuss education and some of the problems that they face. That invitation is still extended. All good ideas take time to develop and to implement correctly. We mandate too much from the legislature, demanding things that do not improve education that just cost money. We need to stop mandating and this is the right year to start.

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

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