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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 20, 2017

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I was looking through some old stuff in my desk the other day mostly in an effort to clean it out a bit to have a place to put more current things away. As Linda can attest my filing system is of the “I’m sure it’s here somewhere” variety. It really is not a bad system, it just doesn’t look very good. But the worst part is finding things that are four to five years old that should have been chucked long ago.

Today was a good example. I had someone asking me about a proposal they thought I had received from Legislative Services (bill drafters). I knew I had seen the thing but no matter how hard I looked, it was nowhere to be found, and then I remembered I had seen it in my email.

We have had a number of items this last week that have seemed like they got lost in the filing system somewhere. I can’t remember a time when we have seen so many re-drafts of bills because of unforeseen problems the bills would create. In these cases at this stage of the session we have been able to start over. We are at the traditional mid-point of our time here and corrections will be more difficult.

In the found and lost column this week is the discussion about the coming of the total eclipse on August 21st. A member of JFAC told the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce that there likely would be no funds coming from the state for the event. On a website I saw, I found an ad to sell eclipse viewing glasses for a mere $23.40 for ten sets. And I recall that we have been told repeatedly that there is no safe way to look directly at an eclipse. But then these are certified which begs the question by whom? A friend in good humor asked me, “What would happen if we had an eclipse and no one showed up? Or, what would happen if everyone showed up and the eclipse didn’t? Or, what would happen if the eclipse came and stayed?” Ah, what food for thought!

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things we are discussing that are far more serious that we are spending a lot of time working through the process. Those in the State Affairs Committee are immigration, special elections, Tribal gaming, abortion, desert wine, codifiers corrections, lottery, personal delivery devices, and guns just to name a few.

And then there is the budget, which is the main reason for the session. I have suggested that we could just adopt last year’s budget and go home. After all just how many new laws do you think we need? I think I know what you would say about that. As to the numbers found in the wish lists and what the governor wants the budget to look like, I have this piece of paper that I laid on my desk the other day and it is here somewhere. I’ll have to look through my filing system to find it.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 13, 2017

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

One day this last week I had a member of the press corps stop by to visit with me about a matter or two. He had his handy little digital recorder in his hand. That is a signal around here that they are looking for the “quote of the week.” His final question was, “Why does this session feel so much different than past ones? It seems like a more sluggish start than usual.”The real answer is that every session of the legislature has its own “feel.” It hasn’t seemed to me that it has been bogged down much around here.

I stay about nine miles from the capital and morning traffic is not my idea of a great time. For that reason I arrive at the House quite early every morning to avoid the big rush coming in from Canyon County and West Ada. All is quiet at that time and I get a about an hour or so to read up and do preparation for the day.

During the night calls come in from all over the state, some are interesting, some are rude and some border on threatening. One caller said he knew that I had a problem with how a certain bill was worded but the people of the state didn’t care about the words that are in the proposal they just want it passed. In other words we won’t know what’s in the bill until we pass it. Sound familiar? I think it’s better to know about what’s in it up front rather to have regrets later.

The counties were in town this past week with all six counties in our district being present. They have a lot of questions about what is going on that might affect our part of the state. One current issue that has been brewing for a while is the funding formula for the heath districts. It seems that the two largest districts want a bigger slice of the pie and have introduced legislation to make the change…after they had agreed to work it out by negotiation. In the Treasure Valley there is very little understanding of how things work in our rural counties. We have to remind them on a continuing basis. They have agreed to attempt negotiating the formula without legislative action. We hope it sticks.

Last week I wrote about the tax bill that passed the House. Since that time the weather has changed and the results of a more severe than normal winter are beginning to show up on our streets and highways. In some areas the potholes in the roads are as big as the cars causing tire failures and road closures. In addition, we have several roads closed because of avalanches and avalanche danger. And then there is the washout in the Raft River area and the closure of I 86. The tax bill is being re-thought.

Does it sound like things have been sluggish around this place? Probably not, at least from this vantage point. And at this writing, and to the great relief of the folks in Boise, today’s high temperature was in the sixties. However, it is still only February.

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

David Ripley: Congress Slow Walks De-funding

February 12th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have previously expressed concern about Congress fulfilling its commitment to defund Planned Parenthood. The much anticipated vote on a Reconciliation bill to both defund the Abortion Giant and Repeal ObamaCare seems to be on hold. Rather than cap the pipeline of federal funding, the Congress appears to be shifting responsibility back to the states for action.

This last week, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) introduced a measure to repeal rules Obama punched through at the end of his presidency to protect Planned Parenthood’s tax subsidies. The House Rules Committee will meet next week to consider HJRes 43, which would restore the ability of states receiving Title X monies to direct those funds away from Planned Parenthood.

While this is a positive trend, it suggests that Congress is far from ready to strip monies from the abortion provider. It seems odd, for example, to go after an underlying rule – which will take weeks to successfully repeal – rather than the whole program.

It also suggests that Congressional leaders may be trying to shift the battle with Planned Parenthood from Washington, D.C. to the various states.

Hopefully, we are misreading the dynamic at work.

The simple fact is, Congress has created the behemoth which is Planned Parenthood through its decades-long steady subsidy of millions in tax dollars. Particularly in light of the corrupted federal court system now oppressing America – containing Planned Parenthood’s toxic effect on American culture will require genuine, courageous leadership from the U.S. Congress.

Let us pray they find the will to act.

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: President Prepares to Restore Religious Liberty

February 8th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Various media outlets have obtained a draft of a proposed Executive Order being prepared for President Trump’s signature. Liberals in the media, Abortion Industry and homosexual agitators are, predictably, “outraged”. They claim he is on some dangerous, radical mission to persecute them. But the simple truth, as with so much of the Trump agenda, is to restore a respect for fundamental American principles, law and culture.

Reportedly, the draft EO insists that the federal government and its agencies adhere to Supreme Court decisions and statutes which safeguard the religious liberties of American citizens. The only thing radical about this action is the focus it puts on the Obama government, which waged all-out war on the First Amendment and the religious beliefs of many millions.

For example, it was the Obama Administration which repeatedly forced Little Sisters of the Poor to mortgage its very existence by waging expensive lawsuits to defend its right not to pay for, or otherwise subsidize, abortion through bizarre ObamaCare regulations. And, in fact, Trump’s Executive Order specifically instructs the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health & Human Services to provide proper relief to this order of Christian nuns.

The Order would further order all federal agencies to protect the religious liberties of federal employees, and would stop the government from discriminating against private Christian charities because they uphold traditional beliefs in the sanctity of Life and Marriage.

News reports suggest that Trump’s action will provide comprehensive protections to religious practice and restore much of what Obama tried to destroy. It is a moment to be celebrated, not only because of it marks a recovery of religious freedom, but a recovery of Constitutional government.

But be prepared for more protests, car burnings and frivolous lawsuits.

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

David Ripley: Time to be Concerned

February 8th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

After an amazing start on the pro-Life agenda, there are reports indicating that the new Republican government may be having trouble finding the will to defund Planned Parenthood. The problem lies not with the White House, but with the Congress.

There were hopes that the Congress would defund Planned Parenthood last week, after staging an historic vote to do so last year. That previous attempt was vetoed by Barack Obama, who went down swinging for his comrades in the Abortion Industry. With a new pro-Life president in charge of the government, hopes remain high among pro-Lifers that the evil partnership between American taxpayers and the nation’s largest abortion chain will finally end.

The plan was to use the Reconciliation procedure to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal ObamaCare in one fell swoop. This mechanism means that Congress can move legislation with simple majorities in both the House and Senate.

Unfortunately, a number of Republicans have become anxious about repealing ObamaCare as there is not yet consensus about how the Republicans will reconstruct the health care insurance market place. In fact, one report indicated that Speaker Ryan may hold the reconciliation vote until the spring and summer.

That means the money pump is still running, transferring the nation’s treasure to Planned Parenthood’s bank account.

Utah Senator Mike Lee issued a statement yesterday, urging Congress to take action on defunding Planned Parenthood. He rightly called the continued tax subsidies of Planned Parenthood a “stain” on our nation’s great history.

We ask for your prayers on behalf of the Congress. May our nation’s leaders find the courage and resolve to end this gross injustice.

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

David Ripley: President Trump Off to a Terrific Beginning

February 3rd, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

President Trump issued an Executive Order yesterday which puts America back where it should be: A light to the world. He has restored the Mexico City Policy, first articulated by President Ronald Reagan.

This policy forbids the use of American tax dollars to export abortion to other nations. Specifically, it forbids giving foreign aid dollars to organizations (e.g., Planned Parenthood International) which use that money to perform and promote abortions in other nations. It is a policy which has proven to be a central dispute between Democrat and Republican administrations ever since.

One of Obama’s first actions as the new president was to restore funding for PPI, and its evil support of abortion and oppressive practices like the one-child policy still destroying families and women in China.

President Trump’s action – and the clear priority he placed on getting America’s moral compass re-calibrated – is a tremendous encouragement to the conservative citizens. It serves as a down-payment against our hopes for a new regime in America – one in which the vulnerable are protected and valued.

Thank you, Mr. President!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: America’s Long Winter Comes to an End

January 24th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

America has endured a long, cold winter. Some eight years long. But, by the grace of God, we have survived and there is promise of a vibrant spring.

Barack Obama has been relentless in his assault on America’s core values and conventions. He has rigidly pushed abortion, sexual perversion and illegal immigration. Obama has seriously damaged a once-premier health care system. He has freed drug lords, terrorists and traitors from prison – while fostering wide-spread hostility toward law enforcement. He has expanded the capricious power of the presidency while undermining the public’s appreciation for the rule of law. He has attacked free enterprise while greatly expanding dependency upon government. He has imported Muslim terrorists while turning his back on Christians around the world who are fighting for their very lives.

Like a very bad winter, the snow storms and cold snaps have continued to come. Americans have been shoveling, sanding and huddling around wood stoves praying for spring. Scraping the ice and snow off roofs, hoping we won’t see water spots in the ceiling. Eight very long years.

Obama has assaulted our Jewish friends in Israel while making nefarious deals with our Iranian enemies. He has refused to address the mounting violence and hopelessness of America’s greatest cities, while insisting that those Americans still pulling the cart accept greater responsibility. He has encouraged ignorance of, and contempt for, the Constitution.

Freezing rain, followed by subzero temperatures. Slick roads for the morning commute. Long nights of fatigue, afternoons of seething incredulity that another snowstorm has arrived.

Yet, today, America marks a time of renewal. The Republic has somehow survived the worst that Obama and his anarchist streetwalkers have thrown at Her. Winter has come to an end as Obama flies off to play more golf in Palm Springs.

President Trump and Vice-President Pence have a daunting job before them. Rebuilding the Constitution’s institutions and restoring America’s core values to government will take time. Surely they will make mistakes and good-hearted Americans must be willing to forgive and lend them a hand. But spring has finally arrived. Hope has returned to the land.

That proud, tattered flag still stands.

Thank you Lord.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Historic Election Night for Pro-Life America

November 9th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The decisive victory by Donald Trump yesterday was, for those with the eyes to see, an historic gift of mercy to the nation by a loving God. By His grace, we did not get the government we deserve, but one which can foster an environment in which virtue can grow. A major issue in this campaign was abortion, as evidenced by the $30 million Planned Parenthood invested in Hillary Clinton.

Thankfully, the nation rejected Clinton’s corruption and deadly radicalism.

The results of Tuesday’s election present the Republican Party with a new lease on life, and an historic opportunity to protect preborn children. They must begin by ending the coercive partnership with the evil empire that is Planned Parenthood.

The pro-Life movement saw important victories in Idaho as well. Democrat House Leader John Rusche was defeated in Lewiston, after building a “perfect” record of support for Planned Parenthood and its agenda. Idaho Chooses Life made a concerted effort in this district, and we are pleased that Rusche will no longer be there to obstruct the advance of protections for Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens.

We are happy to report that Thyra Stevenson won a strong victory in the other Lewiston House seat. Her return to the Legislature is a boon to the pro-Life movement and sensible government.

Democrat Senator Dan Schmidt (Moscow) was also defeated in Moscow. He is another Democrat who voted regularly against pro-Life bills in the Legislature.

And pro-Life Representative Lynn Luker (Boise) won another term yesterday, following an all-out assault by the Idaho Democrat Party to extend their influence into the last Boise City district represented by Republicans in the Legislature.

Thankfully, Democrat Deborah Silver was defeated last night in her effort to unseat Sen. Lee Heider (Twin Falls). Ms. Silver is a Board Member of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest, which runs the abortion clinics in Alaska, Washington and Idaho.

In Ada County, pro-Life Republican Rick Visser won a rather surprising victory over liberal Democrat TJ Thomson in the contest to fill an open seat on the County Commission. Democrats invested something north of $130,000 into Thomson’s campaign, hoping to use him as a wedge in building a county-wide base of operations. No doubt Trump’s strong victory in Idaho helped Visser overcome his serious financial disadvantages.

There was one serious setback yesterday: Sen. Curt McKenzie, our endorsed candidate for the Idaho Supreme Court was defeated by Robyn Brody. She enjoyed the backing of the Idaho Trial Lawyers, who invested several hundred thousand dollars into her campaign. We will now have to await future events to see what kind of impact Ms. Brody will have on the high court.

All in all, there is a boatload of blessings in this year’s general election.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

Layne Bangerter: Defending Religious Liberties

October 31st, 2016 by Halli

by Layne Bangerter

As a Latter Day Saint with deep connections with people of other faiths, I share the common goal of bringing others closer to Christ. We live in a Country that permits us to exercise our faith and teach our doctrine to others. The opportunity to serve my fellow men and women is a privilege and right. This very freedom has been increasingly under attack by politicians and our current Executive Branch.

We’re being told that the Mormons are in a dilemma; they feel that they must choose between their moral compass as opposed to the decision of who is better fit to run our country. While the candidacy of Donald Trump might have pushed some Mormons to pause their support; the fact remains that he, along with Mike Pence, is the only valid candidate who will fight for our religious freedoms and uphold The Constitution.

I know Donald Trump, who can be summed up in just one word: Freedom.

America has never been in as dire position as it is now with our Constitutional rights and liberties under barrage from the current leadership in Washington DC. Democrats have continuously pushed through policies that lead our great nation further away from the principles on which it was founded. Americans are caught in the battle to retain our freedoms.

Recently the LDS Church presented a letter, signed with other faiths, to President Obama, with regard to the report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” Donald Trump stands by and endorses the aforementioned letter and will defend these policies as he has defended the core principle of the First Amendment – the “free exercise” of religion. In a Florida Rally, he stated “Without Religious Liberty, You don’t have liberty.” This is a powerful statement of solidarity aligned with our Christian values.

The report, which was submitted to the United States Coalition of Civil Rights in September of this year, has alarmed many with how harshly it condemned our modern day religious liberties. In the Report Democrat Martin R. Castro, appointed “USCCR” chairman by president Obama, makes the statement:

“The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

He goes on to threaten our modern day practices by adding: “Today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality.”

With the threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency, comes the loss of religious freedoms as we know it. A recent article by The Washington Post reveals Clintons feelings toward what many of us hold so dear. “Hillary Clinton made a stunning declaration of war on religious Americans. Speaking to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, Clinton declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

The overwhelming media bias has shown it’s willingness to support a Clinton presidency which will allow our rights and privileges to be stripped away. As a Latter Day Saint, it is my obligation to stand with other faiths in promoting our ideals and values and I have done so as a citizen and as an ecclesiastical leader. I have found that I do not stand alone in these convictions. My fellow Christians have stood strong by my side. The Evangelical leadership and their patrons are supporting the Trump presidency in historical numbers. We are now being watched by all denominations to see if we stand as strongly to defend religious liberties as other Christians. We are now down to one choice if we are to retain our religious liberties and that is by supporting the Trump Presidency and his associated policies and resolve to defend us. I know the love he has for this country, his desire for America to become prosperous again; to become safe again; and to become united again. Donald Trump’s message is the great message of our time.

Society has been consumed by an overwhelming need to judge and condemn others for their past. I believe it is the path that we are currently on and the future ideals that we strive toward that sing the true character of a person. Human redemption and forgiveness is of the utmost importance.

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”

-Robert Muller

Layne Bangerter

-Layne Bangerter is an LDS bishop in Idaho and serves as a senior policy advisor for Trump/Pence Campaign.

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

David Ripley: Will the American People Put the Clinton Crime Syndicate Out of Business?

October 31st, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The startling news that the FBI has reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s “Email Scandal” just days before the presidential election is only the latest evidence of the rampant corruption which follows Bill and Hillary Clinton like Pig-Pen’s cloud of dirt. Any American older than about 40 has spent a lifetime reading and hearing about the sordid private lives and financial schemes of the Clinton Crime Family.

That corruption is rooted, we believe, in the deepening evil that Hillary has embraced over her public career in the form of legalized abortion. Back in the days when she was only the First Lady, Hillary still carried a sense that abortion was not a good option for women. While she defended the “need” for legal abortions, Mrs. Clinton always made a point that it should be rare; that it was regrettable.

But the Hillary campaigning for the presidency today no longer has any sense of shame or regret over abortion. Now she openly demands that abortion be celebrated. She insists that those Christian denominations which still believe God and His Holy Writ need to be “reformed” and even undermined by Democrat political operatives. The Hillary walking into the Oval Office will not only insist that abortion on demand is legal – but that it be free to women and girls here and abroad. And she brazenly lifts up Planned Parenthood as an “heroic” organization, entitled to unlimited taxpayer support.

When you can casually justify the slaughter of millions, what is a little graft? When you can publicly embrace Planned Parenthood as “heroic” – what is a lot of lying? Her moral descent is painfully obvious.

Locally, it is well past time for Idaho Republicans like Mike Kingsley (Lewiston) and Rep. Lynn Luker (Boise) to go on offense: They need to confront their Democrat opponents with the horrifying list of Clinton’s crimes. They need to ask Rep. Rusche and Steve Berch whether they still support their Democrat nominee. The voters in those swing districts have a right to know.

On a broader front, it seems clear that no justice will come from Washington, D.C. The Clinton Crime Family can only be put out of business by the American people. We must insist upon a basic standard of integrity and at least some measure of virtue in our elected officials.

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

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