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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: The Battle to De-fund Planned Parenthood Begins

January 14th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The new Republican Congress has begun work to make good on a critical pro-Life agenda item: Ending the coerced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. It is our understanding that language is included in the current “reconciliation” bill which will end Planned Parenthood’s outrageous access to the U.S. Treasury. This is the same bill which will obliterate ObamaCare.

The defunding language cannot get to President Trump’s desk too quickly.

Approximately 40% of the abortion giant’s funding comes from taxpayers – now something like $550 million each year. It is that massive subsidy which has allowed Planned Parenthood to have such a devastating effect on the nation’s culture and the lives of millions of vulnerable women and girls.

Already the organization is brandishing sabers in the media, trying to persuade Americans that Republicans are waging a “war on women”. PP President Cecile Richards, still recovering from the loss of her White House desk next to Hillary Clinton, recently appeared on the Comedy Central channel. She argued that the end of public funding for Planned Parenthood is really “an end of access to care for a lot of folks in this country”. Pure balderdash.

The truth is, Republicans are likely to increase funding for women’s health care – but they are going to insist that public dollars are spent with legitimate health care providers. You know, the kind of professionals who put the patient – not their abortion ideology – first.

Short of overturning Roe v. Wade itself – the current defunding effort in Congress is the greatest single blow we can strike for Life. It will result in the saving of hundreds of thousands of preborn children. You can be sure that the enemy is well aware of the stakes, and will wage both political and spiritual warfare, at levels rarely seen, to protect the revenue stream of Planned Parenthood’s death machine.

Pro-Lifers must be in earnest prayer for the success of this effort.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | 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 »

David Ripley: Common Core’s Social Agenda

June 6th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Socialization: A process by which the Left creates new standards of moral order.

Opponents of the common core agenda, which includes a nationalization of public education, have long feared that a major component of the elite’s agenda to “reform” education had nothing to do with developing basic intellectual skills. A good part of that concern is the result of the tremendous secrecy which surrounds the common core testing – to the point where parents and even teachers are prohibited from seeing questions. Such an approach to testing defies the logic of testing.

Yet here we are, in a land where private contractors working for bureaucrats in Washington are redefining “education” and “learning” without public oversight.

The worst fears were confirmed this last week when a student taking a biology exam sent a photo of the question home to his parents over his smartphone. The question was a blatant attempt to normalize abortion:

“John and his sister Brittany are high school students in a small town. Their mother Jill is 40 years old and has learned that she is pregnant with a child. Genetic testing has indicated that the child has Down’s Syndrome. Their family doctor has recommended that Jill have an abortion. John and Brittany’s mother and father have called the family together to discuss their options. Which of the following statements describes how the family should make this decision?”

The high school biology students were presented with four multiple choice answers – none of which included the option of choosing to give this preborn child life.

The student’s parents were outraged, of course, and contacted school officials. And they, of course, pled ignorance as to the content of the test questions.

It is important to note that this exam was not in Stockton or Newark. It took place in neighboring Utah – a well known bastion of conservative religious values.

Here is the original story from the Salt Lake Tribune:

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

David Ripley: Congressional Panel Continues to Press on Organ Harvesting Scandal

June 6th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The House Select Investigative Committee released more findings of its research into the gruesome partnership between Planned Parenthood and companies trafficking in aborted baby parts.

Led by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the Congressional committee announced this week that it had uncovered serious violations of patient privacy and collusion to deceive women undergoing abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics. Given the sordid nature of the business, it is impossible for women and girls to avoid being treated like a commodity as organ harvesting companies hunt to buy valuable organs and tissue for resale.

The committee found that companies like Stem Express gain illegal access to patient files as they look for the best candidates to fill orders from their partners in universities and the pharmaceutical industry. Medical history, blood type, economic status and genetic information can all add special value to the tissue harvested from aborted babies. Such violation of privacy is illegal under HIPPA, and a gross abuse of those vulnerable women ensnared by Planned Parenthood.

But it gets worse as Stem Express goes in for the sale on the woman sitting in the lobby. The committee also found evidence of manipulation and even coercion of those mothers by the trolls looking for quick cash from the resale of their dead babies. And, as we have long suspected, the consent process used by these companies and Planned Parenthood is wholly inadequate and misleading.

We commend the work of Blackburn and her colleagues. It is imperative that they resist the politics of congressional Democrats – who have been turning up the heat to end the investigation into this national scandal. They must continue to move through this sewer and bring their findings before the full Congress for appropriate action: We must make harvesting and trafficking in aborted baby parts illegal in America.

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

David Ripley: Zollinger for House in Idaho Falls

May 14th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho Chooses Life strongly endorses Bryan Zollinger for the Idaho House in District 33 (Idaho Falls).

This seat has opened up because of the retirement of Rep. Linden Bateman. The loss of Bateman is a tremendous blow to the pro-Life movement, as the good representative was one of the strongest, most determined champions of preborn children in public office. It is unlikely he will ever be truly replaced.

That said, Bateman’s legacy is at stake in this race.

We sent both GOP candidates detailed surveys on their views regarding critical life issues. Only Mr. Zollinger responded. His answers inspire confidence that we can trust to carry Linden’s mantle forward.

By contrast, David Smith did not bother to respond. While that means we have no specific information about this views – experience teaches us that Mr. Smith will likely be no defender of babies in the womb. Even if he has vague pro-Life views, his failure to answer specific questions for voters in District 33 has to mean that the Life issue(s) holds no priority for him.

We urge the good people of Idaho Falls to send a strong pro-Life legislator to Boise: We ask for your support of Bryan Zollinger on Tuesday.

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

David Ripley: We Need Moyle Back in the House

May 14th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Rep. Mike Moyle has earned our endorsement for re-election to a 10th term in the Idaho House.

Since his first days in the Legislature, Moyle has been a leader on questions of tax policy and economic development. That natural leadership was recognized by his colleagues early on, explaining his many terms as Majority Leader. It is a heavy burden and no one works harder than Moyle to serve Idaho.Moyle, Denney and Fulcher; 0308

But it is his compassion and leadership on family issues – particularly the defense of preborn children – which has earned our highest respect and gratitude. Regardless of the day or craziness of the legislative calendar, Moyle always makes time to help advance the cause of the Life. It was this kind of leadership which led us to give him our “Friend for Life Award” in 2009.

Moyle is being challenged by a moderate Republican – Michael Greenway – in next week’s primary.

We have been told by voters in the District that Greenway has confessed to being “pro-choice” on abortion. That explains why he refused to respond to our questionnaire. That value system disqualifies Greenway to serve in the Legislature. Pure and simple.

We pray that the Republican voters of Star and Eagle see fit to return Mike Moyle to the Legislature. The simple fact is that we need him there.

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

David Ripley: McKenzie for Supreme Court

May 9th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Board of Idaho Chooses Life has voted to endorse Sen. Curt McKenzie for the open seat on the Idaho Supreme Court, now held by retiring Justice Jim Jones.

McKenzie has a 100% pro-Life record over his 7 terms in the Idaho Senate. He has sponsored and co-sponsored pro-Life legislation, including a measure which prohibits the State Insurance Exchange from using tax dollars to pay for abortions.

Sen. McKenzie earned our Friend for Life Award in 2012.

In addition to his pro-Life values, McKenzie brings a proven record of defending the religious liberties of Idahoans. One of his most important tests came in the fight to establish a state insurance exchange. We asked legislators to amend the bill by including language to protect Idaho’s employers from being forced to provide insurance coverage under ObamaCare that violated their religious beliefs. This measure would have stopped the state from helping Obama force Christian employers into paying for abortion-causing drugs like Ella and “Emergency Contraception”. McKenzie was one of only 11 senators to vote for our Religious Liberty Amendment in 2013.

There is no doubt that the most important qualification for any judicial candidate is a proven adherence to the principles and values which gave rise to a republican form of government in America. The Constitution is a clear and precise defense of our liberties and a systematic limitation on the powers of government. We are being destroyed by judges who believe they are part of a new high priesthood with the power to rewrite the Constitution to suit their particular social agenda and vision for a “better” society.

In contrast, we believe that Curt McKenzie respects the proper limitations of the judiciary, and will vigorously apply the Constitution as plainly written to cases which come before the Court.

We have a huge responsibility this month. Idaho’s Constitution provides the voters of this state with a powerful check on judicial arrogance: Our ballot.

We urge pro-Life voters to support Curt McKenzie in the May 17th Primary Election. And please urge your neighbors and friends at church to do the same.

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

David Ripley: Otter Signs Landmark Pro-Life Bill

April 9th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Governor Otter signed SB1404 into law today. This landmark legislation, known as the Idaho Unborn Infants Dignity Act, makes a huge step forward in affirming the value of the preborn child.

The new law makes it illegal to harvest organs and body parts from aborted babies. It also makes it illegal to conduct medical experiments using tissue harvested from babies killed by abortion.

Another feature of the legislation creates a death certificate for babies lost to miscarriage. Many grieving parents testified before the Legislation, asking for this important recognition of their child. And the new law makes it clear that parents have the right to direct the final disposition of babies lost to miscarriage and abortion.

There are many people to thank for this great pro-Life victory. Let’s begin with the lead sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Cliff Bayer and Rep. Brent Crane. Both of these men signed up early in the wake of the horrible revelations regarding Planned Parenthood’s nasty side business of trading baby parts for Lamborghinis. We had dozens of co-sponsors as well. Idaho is well-served by such citizens willing to accept the responsibility of serving their neighbors at the Capitol.

The leadership of the Legislature in both chambers was very helpful and supportive of this effort. We are especially grateful for the support of Sens. Bart Davis and Todd Lakey. Sen. Lakey in particular devoted tremendous time to making this effort successful. Special thanks are due as well to Chairman Loertscher for his leadership and wisdom, and we are thankful to Chairman McKenzie for giving us ample time before the Senate State Affairs panel.

We must also acknowledge the role played by Americans United for Life. The basic blueprint for this legislation was developed by this tremendous organization last fall, and they continue to play a vital role in rebuilding a wall of protection around the preborn child.

Idaho is blessed to have a pro-Life governor and legislature. This legislation is a strong statement of principle and decency at a time when the nation desperately needs such leadership. Hopefully the Idaho Unborn Infants Dignity Act can be used in other states as a model response to the on-going horrors of an unbridled abortion industry.

There were times in this legislative struggle when the odds seemed long, but the Lord helped us overcome the obstacles in our path. Ultimately, this victory belongs to Him.

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

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