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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 26

February 26th, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

I received a text the other day from one of my sons reporting what he called the deep thoughts of Caleb Loertscher: “You know if you follow your blinker it tells you where to go.” That is sound advice from a seven-year old and should apply to the legislature.

There has been no end of comment this week about House Bill 536 other wise know as the trespass bill. During debate someone asked the question if the Attorney General had weighed in on the matter. It was pulled back and the AG says it is unconstitutional and now changes will be needed. The real problem is that we have three different types of trespass in law and this was an effort to bring them together. Changes are forthcoming.

Another hot item on the email stream has been House Bill 496 that is one to have the Governor appoint three directors, Corrections, Transportation, and Parks and Recreation. Those three directors are currently appointed by their respective boards and the thought of this bill is to have them appointed by the governor and serve at his pleasure. The email has been about jeopardizing Harriman State Park because of some stipulations of the gift from the Harriman family. The bill is now up for amendment to remove Parks and Recreation director from the bill. As a side note, years ago the transportation director was at the governor’s pleasure and was changed in an effort to remove highways from the political world. And corrections is a very professional assignment . Is it good to make this change? Maybe not. One thing is for sure, Harriman will be safe.

House Bill 591 is another property tax exemption bill concerning new business property of one billion dollars. The mechanics of the legislation are a bit complicated, but the idea is to provide help for new very large companies to get going in Idaho. The law was originally enacted to get a company called Areva to build nuclear related facilities near Idaho Falls. Only problem is that in about a dozen years they have not turned a shovel of dirt. I voted no on this one because my concern is that these types of exemptions tend to shift taxes to other properties including homes, farms and small business. Even the sponsor admitted after the vote that I might be right, and he committed to check it out.

One of my colleagues this week remarked that it felt like the end of the session today. It looks like the Senate will be passing the tax bill we sent them and that is the final piece of the puzzle to make the budget numbers work as we anticipate.

The annual Know Your Government conference put on by U of I and 4H was this week and each year they invite us to breakfast on the last day of their program. Again, this year our own Bear Lake delegation was the largest group at the conference. These young people have great plans for the future.

We have the plan in mind and now it is time to work the plan. I just hope we have the wisdom of my young grandson Caleb and follow our blinker.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 16

February 20th, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

You can never accurately predict how long things are going to take in this place. What looks like a bill that is so harmless and straight forward, seems to take hours and somethings that are complicated in nature just breeze through.

At the end of the week we got all tangled up on the floor of the House about slow movers in the passing lane on the freeway. I am sure you have all been there, and have had the joy of following vehicles for miles on end that just don’t have the horsepower to complete passing. It’s not only annoying but in some cases causes safety problems. The bill seemed simple enough but took very long debate to get it passed. Will it help? I sure hope so.

As I have mentioned previously it is never dull in State Affairs. A large crowd had gathered to participate in the hearing of a bill that prohibits the application of foreign laws in Idaho. It was one of those times when emotions were running high on both sides of the issue. Those are the times when it is handy to have security around, and by the way their presence is enough to settle things down in most cases. It came out of the committee easily, after two hours of very impassioned testimony. Just for the record that was just one of the big deals we dealt with this week.

Medicaid is still on the front burner, with pros and cons in every direction imaginable. It seems like almost every legislator has a different set of concerns. At least now they are looking for answers. Those in high risk pools would be moved to Medicaid while those below 100% of poverty level would be made to qualify for subsidies on the state health exchange. About the only thing that is unclear is how all of this will reflect in the world of health insurance premiums. Does it seem that the topic of health insurance used to be easier than it is now? The bottom line is, and I think everyone around here knows, that people are currently being priced out of the market. And just saying no, does not solve the problem.

Budget setting has begun and that is the signal for getting our work completed. While there are many bills yet to consider, the budget always is center stage. Everything else is a series of fixing stuff. Another thing that we seem to work on a lot here is water. There are still problems with some of the agreements that have been made and fixes for those are in the works.

Looking forward to next week it looks like some long days are in order. That was probably a prediction and given the nature of most predictions don’t get your hopes up. And as for me I am ready for a couple of days at home. The truck is fixed, and I will shortly be on my way.

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

David Ripley: Abortion Lobby Shows Up in Force

February 14th, 2018 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Legislation (SB1243) to expand Idaho’s Informed Consent Law had a formal hearing before the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning. The Abortion Lobby showed up in force to urge the measure’s defeat. One would have thought that Sen. Lori Den Hartog and the Pro-Life Lobby was about to repeal Roe v. Wade.

Instead, the modest legislation would require the State of Idaho to include information about the possibility that women and girls might be able to reverse the effects of RU-486 if they move quickly enough. It would become part of the State’s Informed Consent booklet, which the Abortion Industry must provide to each woman during the 24-hour waiting period.

But somehow this proposal to inform girls about their options is “anti-woman” and an “abuse of government power”. This may strike more casual followers of the abortion debate as rather strange and illogical. But it is part and parcel of the battle.

Planned Parenthood and their fellow-travelers have opposed every single piece of legislation related to informed consent for twenty years. They do not want women to know that there are options. They do not want women to know that there are risks. They do not want women to get the phone numbers of adoption agencies or pro-Life centers which can help them deal with a difficult pregnancy. Yet, somehow, the media continues to refer to them as the “pro-choice” crowd, the “pro-woman” movement.

The truth is, there is no more paternalistic and condescending crowd than the Abortion Lobby.

Monday’s show was stolen, however, by a remarkable young mother named Rebecca. She told committee members of her own experience with the Abortion Pill Reversal process. At the age of 19, she became pregnant for the second time while in an abusive relationship. She turned to Planned Parenthood because she was convinced that her only option was ending the baby’s life by using RU-486. After taking the first pill in the Planned Parenthood office, she left with the second pill in a bag. She began crying as she sat in her car, suddenly panicked over what she had done. She began searching the internet on her phone, desperately seeking any advice or information about whether she could do anything to stop the abortion. And she ran across a website telling her that there were doctors who had developed a protocol for overcoming the effects of the first pill if a mother moved quickly enough.

Rebecca found a doctor to help. And she experienced the miracle of motherhood again. In fact, she brought her son Zechariah to the hearing – who spent most of the three hours sleeping in his mother’s arms. He is a beautiful 3 or 4 year old boy.

Yet the Abortion Lobby was not to be deterred. Despite the fact that living, breathing evidence sat in the front row of the hearing room – speaker after speaker told committee members that there was no science to back up the APR protocol, that it was not possible to reverse a chemical abortion once it had begun. It was just astounding to see the triumph of ideology over fact for so many followers of Planned Parenthood. They have some powerful Kool-Aid over on that side of the room, apparently.

SB 1243 was approved by the Senate committee on a party-line vote and is now pending on the Senate floor.

We commend Sen. Lori Den Hartog and Right to Life of Idaho for bringing the legislation, which we strongly support.

We also want to give thanks for the courage displayed by Rebecca. May the Lord watch over her and bless her children.

Please take a moment to call or email your legislators about this important bill. Hopefully this proposal will lead to more miracle stories in the years to come.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 9

February 12th, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Acceleration as defined by mechanics is, “the time rate of change of velocity with respect to magnitude or direction; the derivative of velocity with respect to time.” This concept has applied to the legislature this week.

Committee work this week has accelerated and more and more time is being devoted there as legislation moves through the process. Two items of great interest around here have been the tax bill and dual waivers. The tax reduction bill moved through the House and now is on its way to the Senate. It was a long debate by the body abundant with procedural votes in an effort to either amend the bill or to divide it into several parts. The bottom line is the bill passed which will mean that income tax rates will go down, of course if it makes it to the governor’s desk. Good news for all taxpayers.

The Medicaid waivers came out of the Health and Welfare Committee and will be up for debate soon. It seems like a double edge sword to me in that on the one hand we could be accelerating the pace of increase in the cost of Medicaid to the State. On the other hand we would be able to provide coverage to those who fall in the so called “coverage gap.” There are mixed opinions on every side of this one. And I haven’t even mentioned how much this will cost.

Several groups were in town this week, Idaho Cattle Association, Nez Perce Tribe, Historical Society, Association of Realtors, Mining Association, Association of Counties, Developmental Disability Network, and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe just to name a few. Meeting with our county officials from our district is always a priority and as always it was good to see them and hear what is happening at home. The Disability Networks presented information from their perspective on The Medicaid waivers and there are things in the waivers that might help these folks.

It was interesting to hear from the Coeur d’ Alene tribe and their efforts with a new medical center. They have developed a “one stop shop” for medical services in Benewah County that is impressive. I thought that part of their presentation was better than the mentalist (he called himself an experimenter whatever that is) they had for entertainment.

The Idaho Mining Association event was a chance for all of us to reflect on the contribution mining makes to the economy of the state. It is good to remember that there are only three things that create new wealth, mining, timber and agriculture. Knowing that we have all three in District 32 makes me grateful to live in this great part of Idaho.

On a personal note, I’ll have to put on my mechanics hat before I can get home this weekend. I have to replace the injector pump and as Linda would tell you, I am the original do-it-yourself guy. Dealing with diesel fuel and its pungent odor will be part of the privilege. It reminded me of the time in the distant past when I fueled a diesel car in England. The attendant at the station was taken by surprise that the car I had required diesel fuel. She commented (put on your best English accent), “It’s such filthy stuff you know, and such a nice car too.”

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

David Ripley: Battle for Life is About to be Engaged at the Legislature

February 11th, 2018 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The pro-Life community has an aggressive agenda for this session of the Idaho Legislature. And the battle is about to be engaged.

On Monday morning, the Senate State Affairs is scheduled to take up legislation prepared by Right to Life. SB 1243 is a proposed law which would inform women who begin a chemical abortion that there is a chance to reverse the process – if she moves quickly. The lead Senate sponsor of the bill is Meridian State Senator Lori Den Hartog.

Some of our pro-Life readers may be surprised to learn that it is even possible to save the life of a preborn child once a chemical abortion has started. But, in some cases, it is. The chemical abortion procedure uses two different pills to complete an abortion. This is the RU-486 regime. The first pill kills the baby over the course of hours by depriving the baby of oxygen and nutrients. The second pill (misoprostol) is taken 24-48 hours later, and induces labor to expel the dead baby.

Pro-Life researchers have discovered that the baby can sometimes be saved after the first pill is taken. The basic approach is the same as that used when a mother is at high risk of miscarriage – by using aggressive dosages of the hormone progesterone.

We have learned during the decades of work in the pro-Life field that it is fairly common for women and girls to experience almost immediate regret and grief over the abortion decision. It is almost as if the spiritual veil has been lifted and the profound reality of ending an innocent life sets in. Of course, Planned Parenthood abortionists are quick to tell women that they have no choice once the abortion procedure begins – but that is not always the case.

This is an important piece of legislation and we ask for your prayer support. Not only does it represent a real chance to save some of those babies at high risk – it represents a viable strategy for saving mothers from a lifetime of guilt and remorse.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 2

February 5th, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

This has been a week of transition in the House. For the most part committee work has dominated our time and now more items are moving to the full body for consideration. Committee work has also changed from mostly introducing legislation to the hearing process on bills. New items are still coming as well. Every day someone approaches me with a “brand new” idea for the greatest bill ever.

One of those new ideas (which by the way has been seen several times in the past) was to change the requirement for publication of legal notices in newspapers to online notices. Great idea, except that even in these times, not everyone has internet access. This idea will probably have a rough time around here and rightly so. When we deal with peoples’ lives and livelihoods, public notice needs to be available to all.

Another “great idea” brought forward was, that if a bond or levy election loses at the polls, a similar issue can’t come forward for twelve months. I am sure our schools will have much to say about that one. I have memories of how difficult it was to consolidate those elections to just four dates per year. I can see the e-mail stream pick up a lot on that issue.

Most things that are getting to the full House have been simple things but that is not going to last long. Some heavier things are on the way or will be soon. Science has been a big topic for the education committee. On the tax front, that committee has arrived at a tax bill that may get out of committee next week. Health and Welfare is moving forward with what they are calling the dual waiver proposal which is to authorize the department to apply for the waivers. If either of those waivers are unsuccessful with the feds, the other would not work.

State Affairs is getting an array of stuff from election changes to an article V call for a convention to propose amendments to the constitution. And don’t forget some changes in alcohol licenses. And Have I mentioned Marsy’s Law? There is a full court press on the committee for that one. We still have not seen the final draft on it but we will soon.

I get asked frequently, especially from new members, just how do you keep up? Believe me when you get a broad array of subjects to deal with, and huge numbers of e-mails, it does seem a bit daunting. My best advice is to do your homework and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Chances are you’ll get some help. After all, everyone around this place at least has an opinion.

We have gotten some lessons this week on procedure, which was welcome. You may ask, why are we so stuck on procedure? If we don’t do it right, and by the rules, whatever we do is not valid. We have even had some training for committee chairs and no matter how long we may have done this around this place there are things to learn.

Even though there has been a transition occurring, more is on the way. It will soon be more difficult to introduce something new and longer calendars will at least shift us to a higher gear. The train has left the station for sure and the next step will be home to live with what we have created.

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

David Ripley: Risch and Crapo Support Abortion Ban

January 31st, 2018 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho’s two pro-Life senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, voted this week for legislation that would ban abortions across America after a baby has reached 20 weeks’ gestation. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats used the filibuster rule to block the legislation. It has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The defeat leaves America as one of only 7 countries in the world that allow abortions so late in the pregnancy, regardless of the rationale. We belong to an elite club with the likes of North Korea, Vietnam and China.

President Trump issued a statement lamenting the set-back:

“We must defend those who cannot defend themselves. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish and protect life. Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.”

No doubt we need to get more pro-Life Republicans elected later this year to the U.S. Senate. But we also need to press our legislators to fix the ridiculous filibuster rule which has produced so much gridlock. The nation simply cannot afford to be held hostage to a militant minority.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, Jan. 27

January 31st, 2018 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

As the third week of this legislative session draws to a close, I’ve gotten a lot of comments on how much different this session seems to be from last year. I will admit that there seems to be a little more urgency than normal.

We had what I like to refer to as our first “fur fight” on the House floor this week. Because Idaho does not have a revenue code for income tax, we have historically conformed with the federal code. Doing so makes things much easier and simplifies Idaho’s tax forms. After a brief protest debate on something not really related to taxes, the bill passed and was sent to the Senate.

Speaking of taxes, the above-mentioned tax conformity is driving an income tax reduction bill. If we do not address that issue it would cause an automatic tax increase to all income tax filers. If that sounds a little complicated, you would be correct. It only makes sense to ensure that federal changes do not create a wind fall for the state. The exact amounts are changing from day to day but will be firmed up so we can set our budgets.

This has been education week for the joint budget committee (JFAC) and they have been listening to the wish lists of every level of education. With that comes the chance to visit with the University presidents. Three of them have announced their retirement and it is a bit unusual to have that happen all at once. One thing they all have in common is that they have great feelings for Idaho. At least one of them is remaining here after retirement. He said that Idaho has become home.

The water user’s association was in town for their annual meetings and conversations are always interesting with them. There doesn’t seem to be anything ag likes to talk about more than water, unless it is the weather. Since one depends on the other, the two subjects get equal billing. As I talked with some they have been all smiles about water abundance in the reservoirs until snowpack is mentioned and the brows furrow some. All of that notwithstanding in general they are optimistic. One thing in the realm of water that is coming up more frequently is the need for water in the municipalities. One person told me that doing more aquifer recharge is indicated and in the next breath said that he wished farmers would return to the good old days of flood irrigating. Now that is a topic that would take a few pages to cover.

We are seeing a lot of legislation being introduced and the State Affairs Committee is ground zero for some of the things that will be controversial, at least it seems that way. I have put the committee on notice that our meetings are bound to become longer in the coming two weeks. Even though the meetings may be longer they will in the words of one committee member, “not be boring. It is something new every day.”

We are trying a new timetable this year and that may be the biggest reason for the urgency. History tells us that when we hurry, the bigger the hurry the bigger the mistakes. One of our newly appointed members is about to sponsor her first bill on the floor of the House. She told me that she was concerned about making a mistake. I told her not to worry much about that because chances are somebody around here already made that mistake.

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

David Ripley: Jane Roe’s Daughter Lives

January 16th, 2018 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Guest Opinion by Casey Mattox

There is a 48-year-old woman, born in Texas, who should be dead right now. In fact, she should have never been born. Forty-three years ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Texas law that prevented Jane Roe from ending the life of her unborn daughter was unconstitutional. But by the time the Supreme Court issued its decision in 1973, she had already been born and adopted by a family—likely not knowing that all that ink spilled in Roe v. Wade was about her.

Norma McCorvey was “Jane Roe.” She claimed then that her pregnancy was the result of a rape, although she became outspokenly pro-life and publicly admitted that this, and virtually every fact on which her case was built, was a lie. Both McCorvey and Sandra Cano, the Doe of Doe v. Bolton—Roe’s companion case from Georgia decided the same day—became outspoken pro-life advocates who swore that their cases were built on lies.

But before the Supreme Court could decide whether McCorvey did have a constitutional right to end her unborn daughter’s life, it had to overcome a procedural obstacle that slowed down the process—a delay that factored into whether her daughter would ever have a family.

Because of that delay, McCorvey had already had the child by the time the Supreme Court issued its decision in January 1973. She had been adopted into a Texas home, perhaps somewhere in the Dallas area where McCorvey lived. The court nevertheless said that McCorvey’s case was not moot since her circumstances were “capable of repetition” because courts would never be able to decide the question during the time of a woman’s pregnancy.

Procedural history is never the exciting part of a lawsuit. But for McCorvey’s unborn daughter, the dry complexity of legal procedure is the reason she exists today. Fortunately for a three-year old girl, “the wheels of justice grind slowly,” and by the time the court issued its decision, a Texas family had adopted her. If the courts could have moved more quickly, she (and her family) would have never had that chance.

It is unknown to me whether the adoptive family ever even knew that their daughter was the supposedly unwanted child who was the subject of Roe. As far as we know, they raised her not knowing who she was and certainly never telling her.

This week many are talking about the more than 60 million people whose lives have been brutally ended by abortion. And rightly so. The numbers are staggering. Imagine the average attendance at every NFL, NBA, and NHL game – gone. Eliminated. The population of the 18 states in the area from Arkansas and Wisconsin in the East to Idaho and Nevada in the west: gone. More than either the Hispanic or the African American population of the U.S.

It’s horrific. But it’s also personal. And today somewhere, maybe still in Texas, there lives a 48-year-old woman, perhaps with a family and a career of her own, with beautiful children that she loves dearly. Perhaps with a husband and family that can’t imagine life without her. The 58 million other babies deserved that same chance at life. Like McCorvey’s daughter, they were all created in the image of a loving God and would have been loved and wanted by someone. That’s why we fight. That’s #WhyWeMarch.

LifeNews Note: Casey Mattox is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @CaseyMattox

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

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Appropriates MLK Holiday

January 16th, 2018 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

We have been informed that Idaho Planned Parenthood took advantage of the Martin Luther King Holiday to organize teenagers to lobby their legislators at the State Capitol on Monday. The call it “Teen Lobby Day”.

We don’t yet have information about how many legislators actually held meetings with these young people, but our understanding is that it was a pretty aggressive effort.

We’re more interested in the underlying moral and social questions associated with using minors to push Planned Parenthood’s perverse sexual agenda. Let’s start with the proposition that it is illegal for young people under the age of 17 to engage in sexual conduct; by legal definition and long-standing social custom, such persons are not capable of giving valid consent to sexual activity – even with a peer.

Yet Planned Parenthood would present these children as authorities to Idaho’s policy makers on matters of sexual behavior and its consequences. They advocate for access to free contraception, STD testing and abortion services. At a most basic level, this is an outrageous abuse of these young people.

This is but a most recent example of the pernicious affect Planned Parenthood is having on our culture and the lives of our children. By manipulating teenagers into becoming their free lobbyists, they send a powerful message to young people across Idaho which demeans the law and moral standards: Planned Parenthood makes it clear that they think teenagers have every right to engage in sexual activity – indeed, that such behavior is “normal” and should be accepted as such even by the icons of our state government.

And, furthermore, Planned Parenthood demeans those teenagers by taking advantage of them to enculturate them into a dangerous lifestyle and ensnaring them in the work of a most evil organization. Looks like grooming and victimization to us.

And how ironic that Planned Parenthood should engage in such a shameful practice on the day set aside to mark King’s fight for a better social order.

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

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