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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 »

David Ripley: Hillary Celebrates 100 Years of Planned Parenthood

October 21st, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood – the Abortion Industry’s largest producer – celebrated its dark 100 year history this past weekend. Democrat Hillary Clinton joined in the festivities by posting five separate Tweets praising the organization for its defense of “autonomy” and attacking Donald Trump. She expressed “pride” in what the abortion empire has accomplished over the past century.

Okay … let’s survey their handiwork.

Rachel Stoltzfoos over at the Daily Caller wrote an excellent piece summarizing the destruction Planned Parenthood has accomplished.

The semi-official death toll from Planned Parenthood is well over 7 million defenseless human babies. The annual carnage has now hit about 328,000 babies killed at some 650 abortuaries spread through every state of this Union. But the death toll only scratches the surface of the moral, social, spiritual havoc that Planned Parenthood has wrought. The cost to mothers and fathers, the damage to our legal system are but a couple of the accounts most difficult to measure.

Over the last decade, Planned Parenthood’s legitimate health care services have declined dramatically, while abortions have climbed. For example, they claimed some 2 million cancer screenings in 2006. By 2013, that number had declined to 900,000. At the same time, the annual killings have climbed from 289,000 to that staggering figure of 328,000. Yet they continue to enjoy funding from Congress and protection from leading Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Of course, Hillary Clinton has every reason to praise Planned Parenthood: It is spending some $30 million to help elect her to the presidency.

The Daily Caller also notes that this purportedly “non-profit health organization” has pumped more than $50 million into congressional campaigns since 1990. These massive political bribes have been used to build an unparalleled empire aimed at fulfilling Margaret Sanger’s racist, eugenics vision.

There can be no doubt that this presidential contest presents American voters with a fundamental choice. The defeat of Hillary Clinton must be a priority for every single Christian, pro-Life voter. We must commit ourselves now to earnest prayer, asking the Almighty to pierce the veil of darkness with which Planned Parenthood and its media allies are trying to cloak this election.

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

David Ripley: The Most Dangerous Man in America

August 28th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

George Soros’ wide and deep role in funding and directing the American Left have come under some media scrutiny in the past couple of weeks, as a treasure trove of email traffic and documents from his “Open Society Foundation” have been made public.

Documents show that he is a primary financier of the Black Lives Matter group fomenting violence as well as lethal attacks on police officers across America. Other documents show his fingerprints on the movements to free violent felons from federal prisons, erase the nation’s border, revolutionize voting procedures and undermine America’s economic strength through a radical environmental agenda.

Despite a criminal record for insider trading, Soros continues to amass greater wealth and controlling influence within the Democratic Party. Reports indicate that he is now worth some $25 billion – the very personification of the “One Percent”. Yet he exercises a magnetic force on the politics of Hillary Clinton and many members of Congress – from both parties.

But among the many revolutionary/anarchist movements that Soros continues to spawn in a mad strategy of destroying western civilization, none is more troubling than his funding of the legalized abortion movement.

A recent report in LifeNews shows that Soros is spending millions of dollars to overturn pro-Life protections for preborn children in a number of nations – including Ireland, Tanzania, Mexico and Nigeria. His strategy in Ireland is to funnel millions into Amnesty International to promote the notion that abortion is a fundamental “human right”.

In America, Soros has donated more than $18 million to Planned Parenthood in the past five years. He then made an emergency allocation to Planned Parenthood in the wake of their baby-body-parts scandal to help them finance a public relations effort aimed at calming the consciences of most Americans. That kind of money and powerful influence is part of the reason that the Congressional inquiry into Planned Parenthood’s sordid practices has faded from the media’s attention, despite the panel’s irrefutable evidence of the darkest evil within America’s largest abortion chain.

This is but a brief overview of the dark influence of George Soros on modern American politics. But it is sufficient to confirm the worst fears that Soros is a one-man conspiracy to cripple America. The extent of his influence and effectiveness is truly horrifying.

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

David Ripley: South Carolina Becomes 16th State to Enact Late-Term Abortion Ban

May 28th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation this week that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in that state unless the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life. In addition, South Carolina allows for an abortion in cases when a doctor determines that the baby has a fatal defect and could not survive outside of the womb.

The legislation is based upon scientific research demonstrating that babies in the womb experience intense pain as a result of abortions.

16 states and the U.S. House have passed similar legislation. Idaho is one of those, but is also one of three in which federal courts have insisted that laws to protect late-term babies are “unconstitutional”. South Carolina’s action helps to keep the national pressure building for the movement to end the destruction of innocent life after viability.

While the Abortion Industry and some lackeys on the federal bench continue to insist that late term babies do not experience tortuous pain during abortion, the scientific evidence of their suffering continues to mount. Dr. Steven Zielinski, of Oregon, has testified before the U.S. Congress that his research proves that babies can begin to experience pain as early as 8 ½ weeks into a pregnancy.

On a related point – LifeNews is highlighting a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that advances in science have now produced an amazing 71% survival rate for premature babies born at 22 weeks. This new data set will almost certainly mean that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to reevaluate its treatment of late term abortion cases, even if they reject the science of the baby’s painful suffering.

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

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