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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Feb. 10, 2015

February 23rd, 2015 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-BOne

This week reminded me of saying I heard once, “Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.” There are a wide variety of topics that will probably shape the outcome of this year’s legislative session.

There are a number of ideas about how to provide additional funding for roads and bridges for the state. There has been a menu developed from which we would be able to choose. One item is to increase the fuel tax five cents per gallon this year and add an additional one cent each year thereafter. Another item is to impose large increases for registration of electric cars and hybrids. Yet another item on the menu is to impose a fuel transfer fee on each gallon of fuel including fuel used in agriculture. Since Idaho has some of the lowest vehicle registration fees in the country, (we are told) another proposal is to increase all registration fees for all types of vehicles with even heavier increases for large trucks.

Those are just a few of the ideas that are being tossed around having to do with transportation funding. While meeting with County officials last week, they put in their idea for a share of the gas tax increase to go to local governments for road construction and maintenance.

There are a few folks around here that are pushing for a separate presidential primary to be held in March of each presidential election year. There have been a lot of concerns expressed about the caucus system that is being used by both the Republican and Democratic parties. I’ve been asked by several what I thought of the idea, and I have been quite frank about it. If you think it is hard to get a good turnout at two elections in a year, just imagine how much more difficult it would be to have a large turnout three times in one year. And then there is the cost to consider. Well, at least at this point it’s just an idea.

Another issue that is getting a lot of conversation around this place is the Idaho Education Network. At this point there is so much conflicting information about where we are and what potential solutions might present themselves, that it is difficult to even come up with ideas to fix the problem. So far rather than ideas, the main focus seems to be on damage control. That lends itself to the idea of correcting problems that exist in the way services are contracted for the state. A lot of different numbers have been floating around about what it will take to keep the network operating at least until the end of the school year.

So there you have it, just a few of the ideas that are being tossed around the legislature like pizza. So far a lot of tossing to see what might stick. Ideas are like pizza in another way, some really good and others not so much.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 9

March 10th, 2014 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Ronald Reagan said, “Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.” With some of the things we do I think that we are not really solving much but rather we are trying to correct what we have done or not done in the past. One of those items this week is what we call the annual “Codifiers bill” that corrects small errors in the law that have crept in over time, misspelled words, incorrect references, and stuff like that. What is most interesting is that there is someone whose job it is to read and re-read the law books looking for these things.

Along the lines of trying to solve a problem, I had a little tax bill in the Revenue and Taxation Committee to correct an oversight having to do with the renewable energy producers’ tax exemption. In spite of the Tax Commission having the bill to review for a couple of weeks, thirty seconds before the presentation they explained a problem that needed to be addressed. I guess I should be grateful it happened before the meeting, rather than my being rearranged in front of the committee.

At long last we have begun the process of setting the 2015 budget. It seems like it happens every year in the same way, the smaller budgets first, then the budgets that spend very little General Fund Revenue, and last of all come the big items. One budgetary item of interest to our smaller school districts, at least, is what is called “use it or lose it” money. It is just what it sounds like, if a district could not use the funds for the purpose it was designated, we have provided the flexibility for them to use the money in other ways. That flexibility has been extended for another year with a gradual phase-out in the future. It’s not a real problem solver but a rearrangement that gives some time to adjust.

A bill that would have helped reduce the expenditures for the county medically indigent program and the Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program passed the House easily and then met with an ignominious death in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. It provided that individuals would become responsible for their own medical care by their use of the Idaho Health Exchange and federal subsidies. Here again, it really didn’t solve much but did rearrange who pays in the end. If we do nothing, our local taxpayers will have a much larger share of funding medical care into the future.

And then there is daylight savings time. A House member from Boise introduced a bill that would have kept Idaho on daylight savings time year round. That created quite a firestorm of comments from all over the state. Some want regular time, some want daylight savings time, and the rest don’t see a need to change. It is like cutting a foot from one end of a blanket and sewing it on the opposite end and saying you have a longer blanket. The sponsor asked me to hold the bill. I think President Reagan was right. It is now 10:30 PM. Oh! Wait a minute, its 11:30. My life has just been rearranged, by government of course.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, January 20

January 21st, 2014 by Halli

Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

This time of session is a good time to begin drafting legislation. Sometimes it takes several tries to get a draft in shape for introducing in a committee. A lot of ideas are bouncing around right now to see if there is enough support before testing them in front of a committee. One example was an email I received from someone in Boise this past week wanting to introduce a bill naming the salamander the state reptile. Since they came to the House last year I suggested that they start in the Senate this time around.

Rules review continues and as usual there are some with a bit of controversy attached. We had received word that a Racing Commission rule was allowing for betting machines in Historic Racing that were not talked about last year, and being one who likes to see firsthand what is happening, a few of us went down to see what it looked like. It was interesting to see the machines operate. Time is always the judge of some of the things we do here and if this is to help live horse racing it will become apparent soon.

You may have read what the CEC (state employee raises) committee did this week and the recommendation is now being reviewed by the budget committee. The caution, that is expressed every year, is to make sure that one time money is not used for ongoing wage increases. My conversations with budget folks, so far at least, is that the one and one approach (one percent pay line move and one percent merit pay increase) is a number that can be achieved with the revenue projection that been made. None of this discussion has been about teachers but we are fully aware how the state employee raise issue influences the final outcome for teachers. I would expect we will see increases from the state for teachers as well.

The CAT (Catastrophic Healthcare Cost Program) presentation was made in the Budget Committee on Thursday. No conversation about healthcare is complete these days without bringing up the ACA (Obamacare) and how that figures into this budget. While there are a lot of unknowns because of the absence of solid numbers going forward, the other thing that cannot be easily overlooked is Medicaid Expansion or Redesign. Again as I talked to Budget people after the meeting, the resistance is still strong but may be weakening a bit. I cut my weekend short and traveled back to Boise to speak to a group, advocating for expansion. I have spoken to other groups as well these past few months and the title of my presentation is “Medicaid Expansion vs. Status Quo or Be Careful What You Ask For.” These were interesting conversations.

Throughout the discussion about the ACA is the cry for fresh ideas, and there are some that are forthcoming. One of those is community based clinics with a totally private solution, not involving government at all. Bring me the bill, I want to read it.

Helen Keller said, “College is not the place to go for ideas.” And what also proves accurate is that neither is the Legislature. Most of the real good ideas that come to this place come from our constituents. Ideas come and go but I would like to think that only the best ones make the cut.

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

Richard Larsen: Should Our Children Belong to the “Collective”?

April 16th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Just when we think the secular assaults against the nuclear family unit can’t get any worse, we disturbingly learn that they can. Now a host on a minor cable news network claims that we have to get over the idea that our children are ours, and accept the fact that they belong “collectively” to all of us.

Melissa Harris-Perry, a host for a weekend show on scarcely watched MSNBC, was taped in a “lean forward” (euphemism for “lean more left”) promo for the network, said that children don’t belong to their families they belong to the collective.

The host declared, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

The context seems innocuous enough; continue to engage in insanity (doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) by throwing more money toward education. The answer to our educational inadequacies and failings is always more funding, to some. Heaven forbid that we should consider using what resources we have more efficiently and effectively, and focus on teaching content that increases academic performance, instead of all the social engineering, and politically correct indoctrination that is so pervasively “taught” in our public schools.

Some don’t even think her terminology, referring to collective ownership of our kids, in the promo is controversial. The New York Times, and other media and extremist organizations have leapt to her defense. What should not be lost on us is that such entities are ideological compatriots to the host, and are firmly predisposed to the collectivist ideals of the left.

I’m sure the folks over at NAMBLA would rejoice over such a concept of collectivist ownership of our kids! And what about all those unborn children that are never given a chance to take their first breath? Should that not likewise be a grave concern to the collective?

In free societies, as America was originally founded to be, private property ownership is sacrosanct. The second line in our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Lockean Creed, upon which that statement is based, equates private property with pursuit of happiness.

While children are not considered property, and are not “owned,” the responsibility for rearing, teaching, and nurturing them is a private one, owned by the parents who brought them into the world. For those who lack the temporal means to support those children, there are safety nets that allow for community support of such disadvantaged children. Even that, however, does not diminish or transfer the very personal and private responsibility of rearing children to the state, or to the collective.

If all of this sounds familiar, it should. Last year in the midst of the presidential campaign Team Obama posted a slide show on the campaign website, with much fanfare, about the Life of Julia. It revealed the Obama Team dream of governmental (in this context, euphemism for “the collective”) involvement at every stage of life, from birth to death, and how the government would be the nurturing parental surrogate through each stage.

Karl Marx said, “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” Ms. Harris-Perry mirrors this sentiment: the children are not ours, they belong to the collective, and we need to abolish the notion that they are ours. Marx also said, “Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.” The MSNBC host would make Marx proud.

Who has the right to dictate how a child is to be reared? Certainly not the “collective,” and certainly not the government. It’s a private parental, and familial matter. Or at least it should be. The more government encroaches into health care management, social-engineering dictates, and redefinition of fundamental roles in society, the less control parents have over something as fundamental as the rearing of their children.

It is not just the economic aspects of socialistic and fascistic collectivism that must be resisted and repulsed, but perhaps even more significantly, the social and cultural collectivist agenda must be rejected. We have to recognize this steady encroachment for what it is, and that it is clearly antithetical to a free America.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – April 8

April 8th, 2013 by Halli

Rep. Tom Loertsher, R-Bone

Every year we have what we call the “Going Home Bill.” Some years it is about how to balance the budget and this year it was the Education budget. While there were a few other bills that remained to be done in the final few days, this was the one that drew the most attention. This was the week that it took to do about a half of a day’s business due to the slow-down in the Senate the previous week.

History will be a better judge of how well we did this year than trying to evaluate the session at this time. But then why not try anyway? So here is a little run-down of what we did and some of the effects of all of these new laws.

The biggest and most controversial issue by far was the Health Insurance Exchange bill. It consumed the discussion for several weeks and may be the matter on which history will judge us the most critically. You may be asking just what the effects of this process will be? The only honest answer is that we just don’t know yet and won’t know until there are more answers from Washington, D.C. There are so many variables at this point and we are hearing new little unpleasant details almost daily, or so it seems.

Personal Property Tax has to be the number two big deal worked on, again over a several week time frame. At one time it looked like the issue would die altogether and then there was suddenly a bill that came forward from the counties. The process in the bill is cumbersome but should have a positive effect on small businesses.

One noteworthy outcome for the education budget this year is that the general fund increase this year was in excess of eleven percent, which is not bad for a year that general revenues are predicted to come in at an increase of under three percent. Even the minority party supported the budget.
Time will also tell if we should have looked more carefully at Medicaid redesign and the counties’ medically indigent responsibility and the Catastrophic fund. It is sure to be the most talked about issue over the interim.

There is a long list of other things that did not get the attention of the press much or even mentioned for that matter. Federal land management, horse racing purse enhancement, tribal liquor licenses, election law clarifications, and changes to Idaho road law just to mention a few.

It has been a session to remember and now that it has come to a close, the criticism and/or praise is about to commence. And as for me, I had a funny feeling Sunday afternoon in finding myself at home going through the cattle instead of heading back to Boise. I could tell that the Duramax had the same pangs because I had to chain it to the shed to keep it from taking off on its own.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

David Ripley: ICL Testimony Against Obama Exchange

March 9th, 2013 by Halli

By David Ripley

The following testimony was delivered by David Ripley on behalf of Idaho Chooses Life before the House Health & Welfare Committee on March 7th:

MR. CHAIRMAN … MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE…
I RISE TO OPPOSE HB 248.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WITH THE LEGISLATION IS THAT IT IMPLEMENTS OBAMACARE.

THE SO-CALLED “AFFORDABLE CARE ACT” HAS ALREADY BUILT A PILE OF BROKEN PROMISES, GUARANTEED TO GET LARGER AS THE ENTIRE LAW TAKES ROOT. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS HERE WHO CAN ADDRESS MANY OF THOSE ISSUES, PARTICULARLY THE HORRENDOUS FINANCIAL BURDENS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ATTEMPT TO REVAMP AMERICAN SOCIETY AND ITS ECONOMY.

I WILL CONCENTRATE ON THE GRAVE THREAT THIS FEDERAL LEGISLATION POSES TO THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, I WILL JUST SUMMARIZE THE POINTS MADE BY THE BOARD OF IDAHO CHOOSES LIFE IN THE RESOLUTION JUST DISTRIBUTED:
A STATE INSURANCE EXCHANGE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK OF OBAMACARE.

BURIED WITHIN THE FEDERAL LEGISLATION IS A RIVER OF TAX MONEY TO SUBSIDIZE THE ABORTION INDUSTRY, AS WELL AS ABORTIONS THEMSELVES.

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ALSO CONTAINS PROVISIONS FOR A 15 MEMBER PANEL WITH ENORMOUS POWERS TO RATION HEALTH CARE FOR THE DISABLED, SENIORS AND THOSE DEEMED AN UNWORTHY SOCIAL BURDEN.

THE FEDERALIZATION OF HEALTH CARE POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO CONSCIENCE RIGHTS OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS – AS WELL AS TAXPAYERS, EMPLOYERS AND CHURCHES.THAT BECAME EVIDENT FROM THE OBAMA MANDATE TO PROVIDE “FREE” ABORTIFACIENTS.

WE FEAR IT IS BUT THE BEGINNING OF A WIDE ASSAULT ON THE 1ST AMENDMENT.

WE ALSO SEE AN UNPRECEDENTED THREAT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY BY THE COLLECTION OF MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PERSONAL AND INTIMATE FAMILY DATA. NEITHER THE ACA NOR THE BILL BEFORE YOU PROVIDES ANY REASONABLE SAFEGUARDS TO PROTECT THE RELIGIOUS AND PERSONAL LIBERTIES OF THOSE WHO USE AN EXCHANGE TO PURCHASE INSURANCE — WHETHER BY ENTICEMENT OR UNDER COERCION.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO CLAIM THAT THE ACA IS NOW THE “LAW OF THE LAND” AND THAT WE MUST SUBMIT. IF WE ARE COMPLIANT, PERHAPS OUR NEW FEDERAL MASTERS WILL ALLOW US TO MAKE HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS FROM TIME TO TIME. CURB ONE EXCESS OR ANOTHER.

TO THAT I WOULD ANSWER THAT THE EXISTING MEDICAID PROGRAM OFFERS US ALL THE EVIDENCE WE NEED OF WHAT WE CAN REASONABLY EXPECT AS WILLING SUPPLICANTS IN A “PARTNERSHIP” WITH AN OVERBEARING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

I WOULD ALSO SUBMIT THAT THE ACA IS NOT YET THE LAW OF THE LAND. NOT THIS LAND, ANYWAY. IT WILL NOT BECOME THE LAW OF IDAHO UNTIL AND UNLESS THE IDAHO LEGISLATURE SANCTIONS IT AND LEGITIMIZES IT.

OF COURSE YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF OBAMACARE. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THIS LEGISLATION. YOUR VOTE FOR HB 248 ENABLES IT TO BECOME THE LAW OF IDAHO. YOU WILL THEREBY BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FEDERAL RULES AS THEY EXIST TODAY … AND WHATEVER OUTRAGEOUS THINGS SECRETARY SEBELIUS DECIDES TO IMPOSE UPON IDAHO CITIZENS IN THE MONTHS AND YEARS TO COME.

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, WE ASK THAT YOU REJECT THIS BILL.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 4, 2013

February 4th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

A man by the name of Joel Salatin, in his Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World said “A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches.”

This reminded me of a conversation I had last week with one of the new members of the House about getting a bill ready. The question he asked was just how the idea would come before the body and so I explained how a bill is drafted and how it is brought before a committee and how the process works. You don’t just pick it off a tree.

A bill on Health Insurance Exchanges has been introduced in the Senate and is one that I would recommend every one read. It is Senate Bill 1042. A couple of the interesting parts of it are that it will set up a brand new bureaucracy, and that it would not be overseen by the legislature. One of the things we do not know is if it will comply with the requirements of the Secretary of HHS. I have an abundance of mail on this one and it is good to get the comments. The Farm Bureau has come out in opposition as well as some other grass roots groups. My plan is to go over it with a fine toothed comb.

A bill has come forward that wants to establish a State Water Plan. While at this time it may not have a lot of impact on the Bear River drainage, it certainly could have impact over time. The larger focus seems to be on the Upper Snake and the issues surrounding aquifer recharge. This is another that will take a lot of review and make sure that the details are addressed.

JFAC is going through the budget hearings and they are going to set some of the budgets that will have to do with last year’s matters. One of those is the so called “Use it or lose it” dollars for the school districts. It would be my best guess that those moneys will be protected. We are hoping to see some technology funding for infrastructure be made available to schools as well.

All is quiet on the Medicaid front for now but that may change as we begin discussing the pros and cons of expansion. I have a bill for that mix that will probably ignite things on that front. More on that later.

Brian Brett is quoted as saying, “Farming is a profession of hope.” And I suppose you could say that about what we do around this place. We hope we get it right, we hope we do no harm, we hope we don’t cause unintended consequences, we hope…

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Students or Special Interests? What’s Our Top Priority?

October 29th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Insanity is often defined as the process of doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. While sanity may not be in question, logic certainly is as it relates to opposition to the education reform Propositions on the ballot in November.

In the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, the U.S. came in with an international ranking of 49. Compared against international scores, Massachusetts would be #17, and Idaho would be #71. Education Secretary Arne Duncan exclaimed after seeing the results, “For me, it’s a massive wake-up call.”

And considering how Idaho fared against the rest of the world, or even the other states, our wake-up call should be even greater. In light of this data, maintaining the status quo, just doing the same thing we’ve been doing, is perhaps insanity. What’s frightening is the fact that it’s our children’s educational future and their potential as productive members of society that weighs in the balance.

As a state we’re doing well with a 92% graduation rate from high school. But less than half of those are matriculating to college, and only 38% of those students return for their second year of college. That means of 100 Idaho high school graduates, only 16 are in college just a year after graduation. Of those that do go to college, 41% require remediation. This is woeful preparation for our young people, and research shows we are essentially relegating them to lower income jobs in perpetuity. This is unacceptable.

Idahoans can start addressing this unsatisfactory status quo by voting “Yes” on all three education reform Propositions. The Wall Street Journal called Students Come First “the nation’s most sweeping education reform.”

In 1983 I served on the Commission for Excellence in Public Education. We thought, as a commission, that augmenting core curriculum, increasing credit requirements in core subjects, raising the grading requirements, and setting attendance mandates, that we were paving the way for significant improvement in Idaho. Those changes made a difference, but came nowhere near what the benefits will be if these three Propositions are approved, as I detailed in my column last week.

Most inscrutable was the action taken by our Pocatello School Board this week. Not only did they unanimously refuse to endorse the Propositions, but they offered as justification that Students Come First “does nothing to address cost increases local districts would be forced to absorb…erodes the decision-making duties of locally-elected boards and puts these into the hands of the state’s Department of Education,” and it removes the ability for local school boards to “allocate their resources.” This rationale is fallacious and not supportable by fact.

By contrast, Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA), representing over 560 locally elected school board members and over 250 charter school board members, fully supports and endorses Proposition 1. Their reasons are in direct opposition to those cited by our local school board. The ISBA explains that, “The changes in the education reform law affected by Proposition 1 have restored those local school board responsibilities back where they belong. Idaho school boards are better because of these education reform laws, and we can’t imagine going backwards. Help us do our job effectively. We encourage Idahoans to vote for local governance and vote YES.”

It should be noted as well that the Idaho Education Alliance has endorsed Proposition 2, which is the pay-for-performance component of Students Come First. Proposition 3 reads like it could be straight out of the Secretary of Education’s “Digital Transformation” program.

The Pocatello School Board also claimed the propositions are unfunded from the state. This is factually erroneous. Rep. Mack Shirley, Vice-Chairman of the House Education Committee, who is himself a former teacher, principal, and instructor at the college level points out, “Claims from the opposition that these propositions are unfunded mandates and will raise taxes are false. These laws are in state statutes; the funding sources are already provided without any increased burden upon the taxpayer. The charges that technology will replace teachers are not true. Computers will assist teachers, not replace them. Teachers will remain in the classroom with more instructional tools and improved compensational opportunities over the present system. Voting these propositions down would, in my opinion, be a serious setback.”

Our local school board is intended to represent the interests of the citizens and taxpayers they serve. It would appear, based on the hard facts, that they have rather become a mouthpiece for the special interests opposing the measures, abdicating their primary function of representing district patrons.

The Pocatello School District obviously sees the merits of Proposition 3, for they were one of the first to apply for the mobile technology for students. And if they truly believe they’re giving up local control, they ought to read the actual propositions, rather than the talking points provided by the special interest groups opposing them. With Students Come First, they get more local control than ever before.

Taxpayers have nothing to fear, for the Propositions are fully funded by statute. Good teachers have nothing to fear for the entire educational apparatus is dependent on their talents and dedication, and they will be better compensated for their excellence. School boards have nothing to fear for they are afforded immense new flexibility and control at the local level. And students have everything to gain. The only losers are the unions that are bankrolling the anti-Students Come First propaganda, and they lose power and leverage, which is itself conducive to improved flexibility and educational excellence.

If we put students first, ahead of all other special and self-interests, we defy the status quo, and our vote on the Propositions will be Yes, Yes, and Yes.

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Posted in Education, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Pocatello Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Inside the Gate

June 8th, 2012 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

In a preview of Obama’s plan for every public school in the country, the Los Angeles School District announced that it was moving past a “partnership” with Planned Parenthood. It is apparently too inconvenient to transport kids to the Abortion, Inc. offices. Now they will operate a sex clinic right inside Roosevelt High School.

The LA Times reports that the new arrangement will begin in the fall. Planned Parenthood will offer “counseling”, test for STDs, and provide free birth control. The story doesn’t indicate whether kids can get free abortions in between geometry and social studies, but it is fair to assume that such services will be made available one way or another.

Some of our more liberal friends may be disturbed that we are laying this at the feet of Barack Obama.

Such complaints would involve nothing more than deception. The health care take-over planned by Obama and Nancy Pelosi has many elements of evil – and one that has received precious little attention is their plan to extend Planned Parenthood’s reach into public schools by establishing school-based clinics. The moral, emotional and physical destruction of America’s youth which will certainly follow such a development is difficult to exaggerate.

The insane liberals running the schools in Los Angeles are merely jumping the gun on Obama’s big plans for the entire nation.

Defeat of Obama’s scheme to impose a new social order on America must happen. Hopefully we receive good news from the Supreme Court later this month. If not, conservatives of all stripes must unite this fall to ensure that Obama is turned out of the Oval Office.

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

Richard Larsen: Enduring Wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

So many things have changed since Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tragic and premature death. The country that was divided mostly along racial lines that he sought to heal and palliate is now divided more by ideology. His cardinal wisdom and teachings endure, can be universally applied, and appertain as much today as then.

King was a highly principled man, driven by self-evident truths and fundamental values. He referred often to those values. “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” Some of those values were the very principles upon which the nation was founded, that he found lacking in their application to all Americans equally. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

He was an ardent advocate of freedom and individual liberty. While his teachings were framed in a culture of racism and racial discord, they apply universally to all Americans in the quest for individual liberty. As he said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Certainly those are wise words of encouragement to those of us who object to the usurpation of individual freedom by a government seeking to micromanage its citizens.

He continued, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” Individual and universal freedom was fundamental to him, without regard to ethnicity, and he advocated freedom, as opposed to government programs that diminish it.

On another occasion he said, “I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.”

He taught, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” He worked hard, understood how hard work develops character, and likely would not be a proponent of our welfare state, which in effect relinquishes personal responsibility and accountability to the state.

He likely would have consternation for those who engage in identity politics that are so pervasive today, where politicians sell out to special interests for votes, rather than doing what’s best for the nation. For as he said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” And as if to underscore this notion, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Edmund Burke, considered the father to conservatism, said, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” King echoed that sentiment, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

I think Martin Luther King would have concurred with Morgan Freeman, who was interviewed a few years ago in a “60 Minutes” segment with Mike Wallace. Wallace started out, “Black History Month, you find…”, Freeman interjected, “Ridiculous.”

WALLACE: Why?
FREEMAN: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?
WALLACE: Come on.
FREEMAN: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me.
WALLACE: I’m Jewish.
FREEMAN: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month?
WALLACE: There isn’t one.
FREEMAN: Why not? Do you want one?
WALLACE: No, no.
FREEMAN: I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.
WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until…?
FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, ‘I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ Hear what I’m saying?”

Freeman, in that brief exchange, echoed MLK’s conviction, that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” For your enduring wisdom, we honor you, Martin Luther King, and your work. May we embody and perpetuate the truths you taught.

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