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David Ripley: House Passes Funding Measure with Strong Pro-Life Language

September 21st, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The U.S. House passed an omnibus appropriations bill (HR 3354) yesterday that consolidates into one piece of legislation all twelve of the big appropriations measures. This is a first step toward normalizing the funding process – which has been in tatters for many years.

What caught our eye about this development was the pro-Life content of the spending measure.

Buried in the section of the bill to fund the Department of Health & Human Services is language to defund Planned Parenthood. The Republican House directs that none of the money in the budget can be given to organizations that perform abortion. Instead, that money is re-directed toward actual health care providers.

In addition, the House bill would prohibit the use of federal funds in experimental research projects using tissue harvested from aborted babies.

There are dozens of other pro-Life measures written into the bill – including a prohibition of funding for the UN Population Fund and Conscience Protections for medical personnel.

That is terrific news. But it immediately raises the question: What next? Is there any chance that the U.S. Senate could pass this appropriation bill and get it to the President’s desk? We believe that this legislation is subject to the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule. If so, then the Democrat minority will certainly exercise its veto power and stop this bill from even being voted on.

Which brings us to the conclusion that it is time for the Senate leadership to end the filibuster rule – at least with respect to the budgeting and appropriation process. This is at the heart of the powers and Constitutional responsibilities of Congress. Yet dysfunction has become the norm. Year after year we witness the fiasco of continuing resolutions and perpetual funding of programs and agencies a majority in Congress do not support.

Recovering a rational spending process would go a long way toward rebuilding the public trust in Congress as an institution. But it will require Sen. McConnell and Senate Republicans to take the courageous step of revamping the rules best left to an era long since passed.

We pray the Republicans in the Senate find the will to pass the House appropriations measure.

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

David Ripley: Oregon Makes Abortions “Free”

September 6th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The liberals in Oregon have struck another death blow at the innocent by essentially declaring “free” abortions a right in this west coast enclave. (We say “free” because the women and babies and fathers and families and taxpayers will pay a heavy emotional, financial and spiritual cost).

Under the legislation signed into law by Governor Kate Brown this week, any resident of Oregon – whether legal or illegal – can get the taxpayers of that state to cover the cost of their abortions. Insurance companies are also forced to provide elective abortion services as part of their “essential” benefit package to all policy holders. And they are forbidden to charge a co-pay or deductible.

This is a financial bonanza for Planned Parenthood, of course.

But it is also a distressing development on many levels. It will guarantee an increased rate of killings of preborn children. It also embroils every employer, taxpayer and insurance company in the morally repugnant act of destroying innocent lives.

In his fight against the legislation, Oregon state Representative Mike Nearman made it clear that Oregon has no meaningful restriction on the so-called “right” to abortion. He declared that one could get an abortion at any time in a pregnancy, and for any reason. And, now, that service is cost free to the mother.

In their zeal to enhance Planned Parenthood’s coffers, Oregon Democrats may have jeopardized health care for many Oregonians. Some legal analysts believe that the new law violates the provisions of the federal Weldon Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal taxpayers to pay for abortions.

One can only hope and pray that the Trump Administration will scrutinize the radical policies now in place in Oregon.

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

David Ripley: President Trump’s New Budget Defunds Planned Parenthood

May 25th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The White House unveiled its budget blueprint today, even as the President continued his effort to rewrite American foreign policy.

As promised, Mr. Trump’s budget proposal ends the dark partnership between the federal government and the country’s largest abortion chain. Instead, low income women and girls would be encouraged to receive legitimate health care from actual doctors and institutions more interested in their health than in selling them an abortion.

The President’s budget director, in response to media questions, issued a big caveat to this great news:

The budget assumes that the Congress will pass the enabling legislation to shift money. That language is contained in the ObamaCare repeal and language now pending in the U.S. Senate.

President Trump continues to deliver on his promises. Now it is up to the Congress to do its part. Perhaps they can begin by cutting some of the vacation jaunts they’ve been enjoying and stay in session to get the Trump Agenda secured and implemented.

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

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, 27 March 2017

March 29th, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

As we came to this session, I thought it was interesting that House and Senate Leadership set a target date for getting our work completed and calling it a day. It is easy to do that given how long it takes for the budget committee (JFAC) to go through their processes and then allowing for the normal time to get those bills through both bodies and to the governor. That calculation would have ended the session on March 24th. Also a reality in most sessions is that there is always a potential for a train wreck or two that could gum up the works.

As is also normal for us, the volume of bills in the last few days of the session dramatically increases and are jammed through. In spite of our best efforts to avoid the end of session “bubble” this year, it happened anyway. So, at this writing it looks like there will be another few days needed to wrap it up. In addition to a few budget bills, there are two that we need to address, taxes and transportation.

One day this week we voted on the appropriations for Public Schools. Although there are several parts to that budget, the total exceeds two billion dollars. Those half dozen or so bills passed the full House quite handily in about thirty minutes, without debate. There has to be a record of some kind in that. The following day was Higher Education Day. One of those bills that spent about forty million dollars took an hour and a half of vigorous debate but passed easily as well. The day after that was Health and Welfare appropriations that exceeded two billion dollars passed in a short period of time, again with little debate. At any rate it was a lot of your money that was spent those three days. So, most of the money is gone as our good friends on JFAC would say.

And speaking of train wrecks, we finally got around to having one. As a result we slowed down enough to get us back to town for at least another few days next week. During the weekend it is hoped that the members of the body will get some rest, and more importantly study up on the remaining legislation and be ready to complete our work. There are some appropriations that need to be completed and some other things that are a must do.

It goes without saying that everyone here wants to get this session concluded. Someone told that it felt a little like a trip to the dentist when the anesthetic is beginning to wear off. I don’t know about that but because the things we have been going through this last week are a bit normal in most respects.

And down on the farm, Bruce called me and told me that he could use my help for some things there. Be patient son, I’ll soon be on my way.

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

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

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 21st, 2017 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Ripley: Congress Slow Walks De-funding

February 12th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

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

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

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

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

Hopefully, we are misreading the dynamic at work.

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

Let us pray they find the will to act.

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

David Ripley: President Trump Off to a Terrific Beginning

February 3rd, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Mr. President!

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

David Ripley: 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 »

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