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David Ripley: Thank You, Governor Otter

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Thank You Governor Otter
Posted: 08 Apr 2015 04:30 AM PDT
Governor Butch Otter signed HB 154 this week – our legislation to better regulate chemical abortions in the state.

We are grateful for his continued support of the pro-Life movement, his defense of those most vulnerable babies in the womb. Governor Otter has created a tremendous pro-Life legacy.

Thank you Butch.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, 6 April

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I started to look a little bit ragged around the edges so I went to Great Clips and checked in to get a haircut. As the hair cutter began she said to me, “You’re from eastern Idaho aren’t you?” I responded, “Yes. How do you know that?” She said, “Oh I remember you, you’re not a Senator.”I complimented her on her fine memory and then she said, “I could never do a job like that because no matter what you do someone doesn’t like you for it.” I asked her if she watched the news and kept track of what was going on at the Statehouse. She said she never watches the news as it’s too depressing. She may be onto something there.

It was quite an eventful week as the House did its business and tried to move us closer to the end of the session. One of the transportation bills that was sent to the Senate had an interesting fate as it arrived there. They had a hurry-up meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee and sent the bill to the floor without recommendation. After a brief caucus they convened on the floor and immediately sent the transportation bill back to committee and tabled it from the floor of the Senate. I think everybody in the place was rather stunned that there was never a vote taken and was summarily killed without discussion.

So I guess it’s back to the drawing board for the transportation issue. More importantly, until the issue is either put to bed for the session or some type of bill passed, the transportation budget cannot be set. A friend of mine commented that they must be undecided about whether to spend $550 million on roads next year or $650 million. At any rate it looks like it will be a matter of who flinches first.

Also during the week there was another long House State Affairs Committee meeting on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the treatment of patients, especially children, with intractable seizure disorders. CBD comes from a variety of the cannabis family that has virtually no THC (less than 3/10 of a percent) and has no hallucinogenic properties. It also has high levels of CBD which is the ingredient that seems to help with reducing the seizures. The committee initially kept the bill in committee on a tie vote and then the next day had second thoughts and sent it to the floor. It was a heart wrenching hearing, especially listening to the parents of young children who have continual seizures with no means of stopping them with any conventional medicines.

House and Senate leadership decided that it would be a good idea for us all to go home for Good Friday and return on Monday. It’s that time of session when tempers tend to flare a bit and we start saying and doing things that are not the best for anyone. So if the plan works at least we might calm down some nerves and get on to the end of the session.

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

David Ripley: Good for Them…

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

I had the opportunity to be in the House State Affairs committee hearing on SB 1146, legislation sponsored by Sen. Curt McKenzie to help families dealing with severe epilepsy in chilren. It was some of the most heart-breaking testimony I have ever seen during my time working the Idaho Legislature.

McKenzie’s bill would provide some legal protections to parents who treat seizures with an oil extracted from the cannabis plant. Parents testifying argued that other medical treatments had proven ineffective at arresting seizures, which can last for hours.

On the first pass through, the legislation died on a tied-vote, largely upon fears that this bill would open the door for legalizing marijuana in the state of Idaho. Such fears seem greatly misplaced, as this oil has no psychotropic side-effects. That sets it apart from the masquerade of “medical marijuana” – which has already created huge problems for states like Colorado and Oregon.

To blindly ban any by-product of a plant, simply because there are illegitimate and even evil uses to which that same plant or herb might be put, strikes me as unreasonable. After all, we read in Genesis that God gave mankind dominion over such matters for his care and well-being:

“The God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and

every tree that has fruit with seed in it….God saw all that he had made, and it was very

good.” (Genesis 1:29, 31).

Fortunately for the families suffering with this heart-rending situation, the State Affairs Committee reversed itself later this week. We commend those legislators who changed their votes: It was the compassionate and life-affirming thing to do.

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

Richard Larsen: Destructive Effects of Multiculturalism

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

America has a rich history as a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, and religion. Those who have come here over the past couple hundred years have sought a better life through the freedoms and liberties assured by our Constitution and the free enterprise system that fosters their “pursuit of happiness.” They’ve brought their culture, customs, and language with them, but they became Americans: learned English, learned our customs and conventions, and became encultured into the American way.

America is great in large part because of the diversity of our people, and the richness of our cultural elements brought here. But multiculturalism has become much more than that, and is now more destructive than ameliorative, to American culture.

Multicultural wordleIf the goal of multiculturalism was followed, which was to primarily facilitate the understanding and respect of other cultures, it would contribute, even add “seasoning” to our melting pot by encouraging our young people to compare and contrast, and then eclectically assimilate the best of all cultures. Instead, it has become an assailant to diminish Western values and advance ideologies distinctly anti-American. It has evolved, or devolved, to an illogical extreme that in academic and educational circles, attempts to vitiate the strengths and advances of Western civilization and promotes other cultures as preferable cultural paragons, regardless of their shortcomings.

Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University has said, “What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.”

MulticulturalismRoger Kimball of the New Criterion has written, “Wherever the imperatives of multiculturalism have touched the curriculum, they have left broad swaths of anti-Western attitudinizing competing for attention with quite astonishing historical blindness.” Multiculturalism has led to the historical revisionism that paints Christopher Columbus as a nefarious European who initiated the transformation of a supposed paradisiacal Western hemisphere into the evil, corrupt America of today.

It is multiculturalism that precludes Shakespeare from being studied by many university literature and English majors, because he was a “sexist and racist white man.” It is also the underlying principle engaged in revising history, including the historical roots of our contemporary observance of Thanksgiving and acknowledgement of the Christian principles prevalent at the time of our founding. Multiculturalism, in it’s extreme, is at the root of the removal of any references to Christ in the public square and public schools, even at the time we celebrate His birthday, for one characteristic of the movement is distinctly anti-Christian.

As convoluted as it may seem, Al Gore was perhaps correct when in the 2000 Presidential campaign he defined E Pluribus Unum as out of one, many, instead of the other way around. Multiculturalism in its extreme form seeks to divide rather than unify as Jefferson and Franklin intended, as emblazoned on the official Seal of the U.S.

A poll by the Pew Research Center a few years ago indicated that only 55% of Hispanics, living either legally or illegally in this country, consider themselves Americans. Another poll of Muslims in Los Angeles County indicated that only 10% of them consider themselves to be Americans. It seems the hyphenation of Americans is another social and cultural divider, rather than a unifier. A hyphenated American is just another symptom of political correctness.

Multiculturalism in its extreme weakens community bonds and reduces the motivation for new immigrants to participate in the common culture, the shared history and the common language of America: English.

The American concepts of freedom of expression, religion, human rights, liberty and democracy are distinctively Western values. As historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has said, “These are European ideas, not Asian, nor African, nor Middle-Eastern ideas, except by adoption. There is surely no reason for Western civilization to have guilt trips laid on it by champions of cultures based on despotism, superstition, tribalism, and fanaticism.”

The pejorative aspects of multiculturalism have contributed alarmingly to a Balkanization of America, where differences are the focus instead of common values and ideals. Where culture and ethnicity divide us, rather than adding seasoning to our melting pot to enrich the entire culture.

President Theodore Roosevelt put the concepts of multiculturalism in perhaps the best context, although it was of course not known as such in 1907. He declared, “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

As long as multiculturalism is an end in and of itself, or worse, as a means to continue to diminish western values and our history, and divide and weaken our country, we will continue to decline as a culture, losing those distinctively American traits that once made the nation unique. As it diminishes our value system, erodes our cultural strengths, and rewrites our history, the very meaning of what it means to be an American is perhaps forever changed.

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

David Ripley: Idaho Gives Final Approval to Chemical Abortion Restrictions

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho House gave final legislative approval to HB 154, our legislation to restrict the practices of Planned Parenthood in dispensing this deadly drug. It should reach the Governor’s desk in a day or two.

The Abortion Industry fought this legislation strenuously – because it greatly interferes with their agenda of expanding abortion access across the state by circumventing the FDA regulations surrounding the use of RU-486. Throughout the public debate, Planned Parenthood has denied that our legislation involved any legitimate concern over a woman’s health. Instead, they tried to argue that they could be trusted to self-regulate.

The likes of Kermit Gosnell shows us what happens when government abdicates its responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of women and girls who submit themselves to an abortion.

Planned Parenthood is certainly motivated by convenience and profits in its drive to create a “remote control” abortion access system across the nation. But they are also driven by ideology.

They are attracted to using RU-486 over surgical abortions because it advances the notion that abortion is nothing more than treating a headache with aspirin. That is why they fought so hard over the terminology of chemical abortions – preferring that the media call them “medication abortions” instead.

Even their language is designed to deceive women and girls.

We are grateful to leaders like Rep. Tom Loertscher and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll who stood tall this session to help us gain an important legislative victory.

And we are grateful to you, our readers and supporters for your prayers and participation in demonstrating that Idaho does, indeed, choose life.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 30

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Legislators receive all types of calls from constituents needing help with problems that they encounter with government. I received such a call over the weekend concerning a property valuation issue. I was asked if I could have my staff write up something for him. I was quick to inform him that he was talking to my entire staff. Sometimes that is the limiting factor around this place especially at this time of session when things are coming at us so rapidly. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating for a larger staff. That notwithstanding, it makes us stay on our toes as things come so quickly.

There has been an agreement reached on education issues. Instead of the $91 million of new money the amount agreed on was $125 million. About a fourth of that money goes to career ladder development. Other parts of the budget will allow for more spending flexibility for districts. That is one of the things the local school districts have wanted for a long time.

There is still a lot of finger-pointing going on with regard to the Idaho Education Network. In the meantime local schools will be able to have their own contracts and the ability to provide Internet access at a much reduced cost. The legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluation released their report of the data collection system that was supposed to be of such great value to our schools. At the time, many of us here were skeptical that the program would do what it was intended to do and the evaluation made that very determination.

The other big issue that still does not have resolution is for increases in transportation funding. I’ve been making some inquiries about how much money we spend on roads each year in the state of Idaho. Another interesting little tidbit that came along this last week was how the GARVEE bonds that we used for major projects over the last few years is coming back to haunt us. We are now spending an awful lot of money on servicing that debt which prevents us from being able to have enough money to keep up with our maintenance projects.

The bill that will be before us early in the week would increase the sales tax to 7 cents, remove sales tax on food, eliminate the grocery tax credit, increase the fuel tax by 7 cents, increase registration fees and cut income tax rates. Bottom line is over $100 new money for transportation. Complicated is not an adequate word to describe this one.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to best describe this past week of this legislative session. It reminds me a little of the last time we worked the cattle before putting them where the sheds are for the calving season. There’s always a few of those critters get off by themselves and don’t want to come anywhere near the corral. It takes longer to round up the last half-dozen than it does to gather the rest of the herd. Rounding up those last couple of issues this year has consumed a lot of time. And just like the cattle, we’re all running off in different directions. Hang on your hats, the rodeo isn’t over yet.

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

Richard Larsen: Be Informed and Watch Government “Like a Hawk”!

April 19th, 2015 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It’s inevitable that citizens would often feel frustrated with their elected officials. After all, it’s impossible to please all the people all of the time, and if they are, they likely aren’t doing their job. But there is one thing that likely is felt universally by constituents, of all ideological persuasions; our elected officials work for us, represent us and our interests, and they should never forget their role of serving in our behalf.

Every once in a while something in our popular culture will capture such universally felt sentiments. Such was the case several years ago with a movie titled Protocol, starring Goldie Hawn (mother to actress Kate Hudson).

In the film, Hawn plays the role of a loveable, yet somewhat ditzy waitress in D.C., who happens to save the life of a visiting Emir from the Middle East. For her heroism, the State Department rewards her with a job serving in the Protocol Division, and then initiates a scheme to marry her off to the Emir whose life she’d saved, in exchange for a new military base to be constructed in the Emir’s country.

When the plan unravels and comes to light, Sunny (Hawn’s character) is hauled before a congressional committee to answer to her involvement in the scheme that has been affectionately dubbed “Sunnygate.” Her response is classic, and reminds us all of some of our responsibilities as American citizens.

As the committee chairman begins the hearing, he declares his intent to find out who was responsible. Sunny responds, “I’m responsible!” She then explained why. “You want to know something? Before I worked for the government, I’d never read the Constitution. I didn’t even begin to know how things worked. I didn’t read the newspaper, except to look up my horoscope. And I never read the Declaration of Independence. But I knew they had, the ones we’re talking about, the experts, they read it. They just forgot what it was about. That it’s about ‘We, the People.’ And that’s ME. I’m ‘We, the People.’ And you’re ‘We, the People.’ And we’re all ‘We, the People,’ all of us.”

“So when they sell me that ten cent diamond ring or down the river or to some guy who wears a lot of medals, then that means they’re selling ALL of us, all of ‘We the People.’ And when YOU guys spend another pile of money and when you give away or sell all those guns and tanks, and every time you invite another foreign big shot to the White House and hug and kiss him and give him presents, it has a direct effect on ‘We the People’s’ lives.”

“So if we don’t, I mean if I don’t know what you’re up to, and if I don’t holler and scream when I think you’re doing it wrong, and if I just mind my own business and don’t vote or care, then I just get what I deserve. So now that I’m a private citizen again, you’re going to have to watch out for me. ‘Cause I’m going to be watching all of you. Like a hawk.”

There are some notable principles embedded in that inspiring response. First, was the concept of personal responsibility. How often do we see people, whether in public life or in their personal lives, not take responsibility for their actions, or their refusal to stand up against those who ultimately are culpable? It’s becoming as uncommon as common sense. Someone, or something, else is always to blame for poor decisions, bad plans, and/or ill-spoken words. And regrettably it seems most obvious in the realms of government, where all too few feel they’re accountable to the electorate for their actions.

Next Sunny reminded us that, as citizens, it’s our responsibility to be knowledgeable and proactive citizens. If we let our elected officials get away with things that are unconstitutional or illegal, we’re at least partly to blame. After all, collectively, we are the ones who put them in their position of responsibility, and they are, or at least should be, accountable to us.

That’s one of the beauties of the American governance model, is we hire them to protect us and our interests, and our rights as citizens. If we’re not proactive, they can increasingly feel like they’re accountable to no one, least of all us. When they start feeling entitled to their perks of office, and taking us, their employers, for granted, they’ve outlived their usefulness and it’s time to retire them.

Such a level of pro-activity will only be efficacious if we’re knowledgeable of our founding documents to know the proper role of governance, and if we keep ourselves apprised of what our government attempts to do for, and to, us. Too many of us are illiterate when it comes to our founding documents, and don’t bother to keep informed of what those in government are doing. I think this is what Winston Churchill was referring to when he said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

I think FDR would have approved of Sunny’s response to the congressional panel, for FDR himself said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

It’s unusual to garner anything substantive from movies, and so something like Goldie Hawn’s eloquent speech before a congressional committee stands out rather starkly. Although she’s a fictional character, Sunny represents what should be the best in all of us, as citizens, as we educate ourselves, keep informed, and watch our elected officials “like a hawk!”

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

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