By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone
At the end of three weeks it probably looks to the casual observer that there is not much going on around here. There has been very little legislation that has come before the full house as of yet, but that may be a little bit deceiving. There is a lot of work going on in the committees and legislation is finding its way through the process.
The House State Affairs Committee is known for its handling of quite controversial issues. The Capitol Mall rules were not an exception to that. The hearing we held had several including the ACLU alleging that the rules violated their First Amendment rights. The committee did see some other potential problems and held them over for further review. It has been interesting to see that Idaho is probably the only state that has given these protesters a forum, and other states and cities have merely swept the occupy folks aside. We have been more than fair in listening to their complaints.
As part of the hearing, a video was shown of a gun toting individual rifling through legislators’ desks, photographing items on the desks, and going through garbage cans. That raised eyebrows and security procedures are being looked into. While that may not seem so important, it only becomes so if there happened to be something of a very personal nature or something of value that could be stolen. My advice to colleagues is to be careful of what you leave out for all to see. As we say at home, clean it up and put it away.
I have been receiving a lot of e-mails from our district on gun rights legislation. I see nothing at all on the horizon that anyone here will introduce to restrict the ownership of firearms. There is no doubt about how our people think on this issue. I have never seen a time when people are as worried as they are at this time about being able to have a means to protect their homes and families.
The health insurance exchange ideas are starting to mature a bit and all of the heavy hitters are weighing in. Governor Otter sent out a white paper indicating his reasons for supporting the proposal. A coalition sends out materials daily that seems to be the who’s who of the insurance industry agreeing with the Governor. Those who are opposed, some grass roots folks, have been giving their views as well. Most of my mail is opposed.
And now a word about the Boise Ice storm that extended all the way to Glenns Ferry. It was not an easy drive to the capital that morning. I commented to one of the lobbyists that the most dangerous part of the trip was from the parking lot to the building. “No kidding,” he said. He was crossing the street and fell in the crosswalk and could not get back on his feet because it was so slick. And then the light changed and there he was in the middle of the street. Where is a video camera when you need it?
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