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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, February 10

February 11th, 2014 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Probably the last thing that a legislator would have been thinking about at the beginning of this last week, took place as the week began. All things were on high alert as protesters attempted to blockade the entrance to the Senate. The security personnel in the capitol aided by the State Police stepped up to the plate and contained the situation. There have been protests staged in the capitol in the past, however not of this magnitude.

It was the week for the Farm Bureau to be in town, and in talking with them about their concerns, I’ll bet you can guess what their biggest concern is– – water. Of course that is not all we talked about because there are so many things that can happen during each legislative session that affect agriculture. It’s always good to see people from home and to talk with him about the issues. One piece of legislation that should be particularly of benefit to Idaho agriculture is to gain some flexibility with EPA regulations that are coming down from the feds. It will be a long process for Idaho to take control of these issues through our DEQ, but it is thought at least, that this will be of great help to agriculture in the long run.

This was also Association of Counties week at the capitol. There were commissioners from most of our counties and we had a chance to discuss local issues. Those discussions included personal property tax, repeal of the medically indigent law and the catastrophic fund, and interestingly enough our rural counties are very much concerned about the public defender commission that the governor talked about during the state of the state. The counties in District 32 are telling us that they are reluctant to participate in such program because it will cost our local taxpayers so much more than is currently being demanded. The model that seems to work for our rural counties is the one where they contract for public defender services.

Medicaid expansion suffered a blow this last week as the House Health and Welfare Committee declined to introduce (print) a measure to implement what the Department is calling Medicaid Redesign. There have been some small groups of legislators meeting to discuss healthcare issues in the state but they have not been successful in coming up with any type of a workable solution. I don’t think there is anyone here who disagrees with the idea that we have to get something done with this issue. It just doesn’t seem to be this year. I find it even more interesting that not very many in the legislature want to even talk about the Medicaid. It is also interesting that a bill has been introduced to reinstate adult dental services, which was one of the programs that was eliminated during the economic downturn. So I guess in our own way, piece by piece, Medicaid will be expanded anyway.

Prior to a big meeting that the State Affairs Committee was having mid week, that we knew would be well attended with possible security concerns, two Idaho State Police officers stopped by to visit before the meeting. I am very impressed with their professionalism and I know all members of the legislature will attest to that fact. They have our profound gratitude for their service.

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

Andi Elliott: Shocking Lack of Animal Cruelty Laws in Idaho

February 6th, 2014 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Our animal cruelty laws in Idaho are a sham and too many law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to those we have. Our legislators in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Agriculture have designed the system so that production animals may even be treated more horrendously than companion animals. We certainly wouldn’t want our farmer/rancher legislators being held accountable for cruel practices.

Now the Idaho Dairy Industry headed by Idaho’s largest dairy, Bettencourt, is today introducing an “Ag Gag” bill designed to keep people from filming acts of animal cruelty on farms. It even goes so far as to make it a first time felony by merely filling out an application for employment for the purposes of doing such. But animal cruelty itself requires three convictions before it becomes a felony.

In 2012 Bettencourt employees were charged with the most egregious animal cruelty. The video is sickening. Needless and wanton acts of animal cruelty on cows that were confined in milking stalls. One employee spent 102 days in jail; others fled, I’m told. Bettencourt Dairy owner says, “I love my animals and I’ve been in the dairy business since I was a kid. Animal care is a number one issue in our facilities.” Really, then why support an Ag Gag Law? What do you have to hide?

Bettencourt is a supplier of milk for Kraft which makes cheese for Wendy’s, MacDonald’s, etc. Call you reps and the companies and tell them “No institutionalized animal cruelty in Idaho!”

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Posted in General, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Utility Company Mailing List

December 13th, 2013 by Halli

by Andi Elliott

OK, I have to ask…how many of us would use Rigby’s utility bill mailing list to send out a personal letter even if it were available to us?

And is it even ethical to do so? Please tell me that City Attorney Rob Dunn footed the bill for this mailing. Is there proof that he did so or is this something else that taxpayers unwittingly paid for? The City of Rigby has slightly over 4000 residents and 994 families as of the last census. That’s a lot of families and a whopping postal bill.

I bet the Jefferson Star or the Post Register would have printed his letter at no charge with much greater exposure too…but then most of their audience couldn’t vote in the Rigby elections. Or, wonder why Dunn didn’t send out his public plea in the regular utility bill mailings and save postage. Oh, that’s right. He couldn’t wait that long. The city elections were right around the corner and if Sites and team had won, they promised to investigate city shenanigans. It’s becoming clear now.

You know if Dunn conducted business above board and in full public view he wouldn’t have felt as if he had to personally contact each utility customer saying “Don’t make me an issue in the election”. It’s a good thing he isn’t City Attorney in Idaho Falls…then he’d have to have contacted nearly 21,000 households. Now there’s a whopping postal bill!

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Baloney

July 21st, 2013 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Like many of you, I consider the George Zimmerman trial a witch hunt and an absolute sham…a judicial and political travesty of justice. The failure of the prosecutor to look at the evidence objectively is unconscionable. It is their duty to see that justice is done. Period. Not to manipulate, distort, promulgate lies, withhold evidence, and twist the case into something it never was. Their sworn duty is to see that justice is carried out…not to prove only guilt but also to prove innocence.

And these are the very reasons that I can identify with Zimmerman having just experienced many of the same tactics at the hands of the Jefferson County Sheriff and the Prosecutor albeit on a much less serious level. And five days after having been notified of my acquittal, the prosecutor tells me that this is the way the justice system is suppose to work.

Hogwash! How disingenuous after two years of repeated lies, waiting months for Discovery that proved they had the wrong person, unethical behavior by the Sheriff’s department, obfuscation, objections, and deliberately drawing out the process as long as possible. However, the delay proved to be very useful for my defense as it became difficult to remember lies told so long ago.

Jefferson County taxpayers…you have just spent two years of taxpayer money on a misdemeanor trespassing case that was nothing short of a trumped up vendetta. The files are available for your inspection should you have doubts about my complaints. Five full days of trial strung out over 17 months. Murder cases are tried in less time than that.

And is it too much to ask that the evidence be examined BEFORE charges are filed so a whole court day is not wasted covering up your malfeasance? I’m guessing that the plan was for me to cry “uncle” but instead I say “baloney”…unadulterated “baloney”. This was a textbook case of abuse of power if there ever was one and follows in the same vein as the “Barbie” fiasco. Do we really not have serious crimes here in Jefferson County to attend to?

But in retrospect, I should thank you for proving my innocence. The state’s witnesses were some of my best “defense”…as they were in the Zimmerman case.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Legal Fabric Unraveling

July 16th, 2013 by Halli

By Andi Elliott

Every so often serendipity happens. For me it was in June when my husband was on the witness stand testifying in my third trespassing case. The prosecutor asked my husband why he felt the need to accompany me on my animal cruelty investigations. He sat there silently, a very long pause. I could see those wheels turning. Engineer’s brains work differently from the rest of us I’ve found. Then John said…Because I’ve learned that you are not seeking the truth. I’ve been with Andi the last two times you have charged her with trespass, yet I haven’t been charged. Needless to say, I was very proud of him for having the courage to say what needed to be said at that appropriate moment.

And so the acquittal was entered into court records which ended a 6 year long ordeal with the Sheriff and the Prosecutor. But justice has yet to be served. You see, there is the deputy that admitted under oath about creating documentation AFTER he charged me. And there are those who filed false complaints against me in violation of Idaho law. And as you would suspect other unethical behavior occurred during the course of my trial.

For six years I have witnessed a travesty of justice taking place in Jefferson County. I’ve written before about the “rule of law” and how it has been circumvented by a small group of county officials. We have become complacent with the “rule by men” and we have failed to stand up to them and have emboldened them. Our failure to stand up to them has made them reckless. When our Prosecutor can undertake the “quiet title” process without lawful authorization and when our Sheriff can pressure a citizen into signing a false citation, then we have allowed tyranny to insidiously infect our county’s legal fabric.

So, I have filed a complaint against the deputy. And I am asking the Sheriff and Prosecutor to file charges against those who have falsely accused me. By the way, when I asked them to do so in the “mother dog with broken legs” case I was totally ignored. And then there is a slander suit to initiate followed by civil suits. As John Paul Jones is noted for saying, “I have not yet begun to fight.”

Remember, every time you witness or experience injustice and remain silent, you allow officials to usurp power. It’s time that We The People of Jefferson County Idaho step up and reclaim our rightful place and reaffirm to county officials and employees that WE are their bosses and they are to abide by the law.

This could have been you in my place. Think about that.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Andi Elliott: Jefferson County’s London Bridges

May 20th, 2013 by Halli

by Andi Elliott, Jefferson County

I’ve seen the poster of the 9 bridges of Jefferson County that have been determined by the Idaho Transportation Department to be structurally deficient. And these bridges need to have diminished speed limits and weight limits and immediate repairs. I’m reminded of the nursery rhyme, London Bridge is Broken Down.

“London Bridge is broken down…How shall we build it up again?”

“We’ll build it up with gravel and stone,” or we can prop it up with railroad ties and plywood, as has been done in Jefferson County.

“Gravel and stone will be washed away….” or the railroad ties and plywood can slip and rot.

“We’ll build it up with iron and stone….” which probably would be prudent if we’re planning for long time structurally sound bridges and public safety.

One of my neighbors, upon hearing about the public safety hazards posed by the county bridge system, lamented about what would happen if a potato truck passed over such a bridge and brought it down. I’m thinking about what would happen if one of our school buses loaded with children were to result in “London Bridge came falling down”. Perish the thought and the law suits that would ensue. Am I the only one thinking that safe and reliable bridges are more important than a new high school?

Andi Elliott

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Posted in Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Is the Constitution an Anachronism?

April 24th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

One of the most specious and inane arguments in politics today is that the Constitution is an arcane, anachronistic document created by imperfect men, and that it is therefore illogical to interpret it literally. They assert that the founding fathers didn’t have a “crystal ball” and couldn’t have foreseen issues like privacy in the 21st century, and so those of us who believe the Constitution to be a social contract limiting the powers of government must be “out of our minds.”

The first of those arguments is a logical fallacy. The tu quoque fallacy asserts that since the founders were imperfect, whatever they may say or do is equally imperfect or questionable. That would be tantamount to saying that because a certain physics instructor is specious, illogical, and misinformed about history and our system of governance, that he’s equally inept and tenuous in physics. Such a conclusion is obviously faulty logic, and based on a false premise.

The second argument is equally misguided. The founders didn’t need a “crystal ball” to foresee 21st century challenges. A constitution is by definition, “a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state is to be governed.” Consequently, the founding fathers didn’t need to be aware of “privacy” issues, or the internet, or any historically contextual development that may prove intellectually taxing to those who presuppose in their unwarranted arrogance, that they should have.

The structure established by the Constitution created legislative bodies that could adapt to changing times, by passing laws to deal with such vicissitudes, while the foundation, or fundamental principles, could endure, protecting the individual over the presumed and evolutionary expansion of the “rights” of the state. Plus, provision for changing the text of that social contract was made through the amendment process, which has been done 27 times to date.

Our Constitution established a system of governance that could stand the test of time, as long as citizens valued freedom more than tyranny. A system that, if held fast to, would assure that no one person, or oligarchical self-anointed leaders, could become totalitarians in a republic so structured. And it included guaranteed rights and privileges, for the first time in history, not granted by a monarch, ruler, magistrate, or benevolent dictator, but acknowledged to have originated from deity for all men. This is perfectly illustrated by our current president’s admission that, “I am constrained by a system that our Founders put in place,” although there’s precious little evidence of such constraint.

Is it a perfect system? Obviously not, especially in light of our contemporary crony-capitalism, that corrupts government and capitalism. The founding fathers maintained that for the republic to endure, we must have a moral people, which is the only real anachronism from our founding era, casting the most ominous clouds of doubt over the perpetuity of the republic.

When it is argued that the Constitution is a “living” document, implication is made that the precepts and principles of the Constitution are not applicable to today and provides an excuse for all types of scurrilous and specious assertions for expanded government largesse at the expense of our freedom and our money. To say that the Constitution is a “living document,” hence, not to be taken literally, is akin to asserting that the Ten Commandments are really just “Ten Suggestions.” It also affords proponents of the “living document” theory latitude to pick and choose cafeteria-style, which rights established by the Constitution are legitimate or applicable today. Some like freedom of speech for themselves but not for those they disagree with, for example. And some absolutely detest the freedom to bear arms.

Judicial precedent and daily judicial decisions are judged against the basic principles and rights specified by the Constitution and statute to provide applicability to today’s milieu. In that way alone is it a “living document.” Statute is how the fundamental principles of the Constitution are codified in a changing social structure, but the Constitution provides the baseline.

James Madison, regarded as the Father to the Constitution, said, “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” We have witnessed this over the generations since the founding of the country, and we see that process of “silent encroachment” of government on the freedom of the people accelerated over the past few years in a way never before witnessed. We see government dictating terms of property ownership, dictating terms of access to health care, and dictating terms of energy use and private consumption, for starters.

The Constitution is not a “living” document. The Founders were specific in their language and did not mince words. They meant what they said. It was written precisely to prevent the incursion of government into our lives to the extent that we see it occurring today proving it is not an anachronism. It is a social contract to assure and guarantee fundamental freedom and liberty for all generations of Americans, and its relevance is reasserted every time a new official is sworn into office, vowing to “uphold and defend the Constitution.”

The survivability of our republic is dependent upon a knowledgeable and informed electorate, committed to liberty. We need to be intimately familiar with our founding documents, especially the Constitution, and hold those accountable who seek to subvert the freedoms of those who are intended to have ultimate power in this republic: We the People!

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

Andi Elliott: Jefferson Star Thriller

April 18th, 2013 by Halli

By Andi Elliott, Idaho State Tea Party Patriots Coordinator

I used to hate Wednesdays. It was the day my music teacher would come to our home and I despised my piano lessons. But now I can hardly wait for Wednesdays to arrive and with it my next edition of the Jefferson Star. The investigative journalism is awe inspiring. It’s as if I am reading a serial thriller and don’t want to put it down.

Our elected prosecutor, Rob Dunn, is being portrayed as a multi-headed Hydra wearing many hats resulting in multiple conflicts of interest. And this week’s edition talks of secret council meetings and improper use of the legal technique of “quiet title” in order to acquire property for the city. And it gets better. The resignation of a City Councilman (too bad, we need a “good guy” in there) because he cannot continue to work under the circumstances in which he feels people are being deceived heightens the suspense even further.

Then to top it all off, a councilman comes forward with a recording about Dunn’s threat towards him. And to think, all this in our little Jefferson County where weeks go by with nothing more exciting than a trespassing citation being issued. I’d better check to see that my Star subscription isn’t due to expire soon. I’d hate to miss the next exciting issue.

Andi Elliott

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 18

March 18th, 2013 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

When I was a younger man, I once heard a speaker tell our group that the best way to kill time is to work it to death. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that we just kill time in the legislature, however, this last week we certainly did work a lot of it to death.

It may be ancient history for most now, but the floor debate on setting up an insurance exchange was a history making event on several fronts. I suppose the House felt the necessity of outdoing the Senate by debating the issue for an hour longer than they did. Last Wednesday was a very long day and the debate on the bill took exactly 7 hours. I guess I am as guilty as the next guy and did spend just a couple of minutes describing what I think the basic issues revolving around the exchange issue are. After all of the long faces during that whole process I thought I might try to put a smile on those faces with a lighter comment. I said, “If you laid all of the members of this body end to end that had drifted off to sleep during this debate, they sure would be a lot more comfortable.” My plan worked.

I still remain skeptical as to whether this is the right approach for us to take. Two of the overriding issues for me have been, (1) what is the benefit of having an insurance exchange and how would it help all concerned, health insurance companies, their customers, health care providers and the state, and (2) what will be the added cost of the exchange that will be borne by the taxpayers? In all of the discussions that I have had with regard to this issue, those two questions have yet to answered. After weighing all of the evidence on both sides of the issue, I voted no. I do think that expanding our health insurance markets would be a good thing. But I don’t think this plan provides that when there is no ability to shop for insurance across state lines.

Several weeks ago, I had two bills drafted that have turned out to be the talk of the town after they were introduced (printed). The first is the one that’s nearest and dearest to my heart, the repeal of the county medically indigent law along with the repeal of the Catastrophic Program. The other that has caused the most interest, at least in some circles, is the expansion of the Medicaid program in the State of Idaho. Both of these issues would of necessity need to be considered together, because if Idaho decides to expand Medicaid, the catastrophic fund and the county responsibility for the medically indigent would have to end. There is no way Idaho taxpayers could sustain both programs. The Department of Health and Welfare has compiled cost estimates in consultation with the Medicaid actuary they use for projecting the cost of programs. It looks like we would not save a great deal of money, but it would not increase our general fund expenditures either. The real benefit comes when you consider that property taxes statewide would be decreased by an estimated $478 million over the next decade if the counties are no longer in the business.

So, as a result, I will be spending quite a bit of my time this next week evaluating these two bills and their cost, and determining if the legislature desires to move forward. I was asked by one reporter why I had waited so long to introduce these two bills. The short answer is that I was asked to hold off until the exchange legislation was voted on in the House. My agenda for this next week will be extremely full and I intend on working a lot of hours to death.

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

Andi Elliott: Continue On

March 11th, 2013 by Halli

By Andi Elliott, Idaho State Tea Party Patriots Coordinator

Seldom do I go to town that I don’t find myself talking with someone, friend or stranger, and to a person they are lamenting the sad situation of America. And I’m often asked, “What can we do?”

My suggestion: continue doing what you are doing. Continue to fail to contact your legislators and county/city representatives about issues important to you. Continue to sit in front of the television when you should be voicing your opinion at a public meeting. Continue sitting in the coffee shop with like-minded folks who have the same complaints as you. Continue to ignore what is being taught to your children in the public schools.

Continue to sit idly by rather than attend rallies and protests against issues affecting our lives. Continue to fail to hold our elected representatives accountable or to thank those deserving such. Continue to be too busy to be involved. Continue not to “make waves.” Continue to allow our Constitutional freedoms to be usurped piecemeal. And especially, continue to fail to speak up. And we will continue to get the type of government we deserve.

If you want things to change, then change what you are doing for that’s the only way we won’t continue to get the same failed policies and the mistrust of our government will continue to build. All you have to do is to continue exactly what you’re doing now for things to continue as they are. And by all means, continue your silence which implies your consent.

Andi Elliott

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

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