2019 is off and running and with it comes a new Idaho legislative session. I travelled down to Boise last Thursday just as the event-filled inaugural weekend kicked off. Things are all abuzz in Boise with a new governor, a new lieutenant governess and over 23 new members in the Idaho House and Senate being sworn in and beginning their duties.
I am hopeful and encouraged by several actions I have already seen from Gov. Brad Little. In just one short week, he has pushed back against occupational licensing, stated that he wants two agency rules repealed for everyone promulgated, and made a bold statement that “hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a prisoner’s gender reassignment surgery.” I am hopeful this governor will keep this conservative mindset, be more in tune with the majority of Idahoans and respect the legislators and the job they took an oath to do. Time will tell but I am optimistic.
Last Friday was the formal swearing in of the constitutional officers including the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governess and the Governor. We were treated to a 21-cannon salute and a fly-over from four Idaho National Guard A-10 fighters.
The evening continued with a gathering of some legislators to be introduced to a new conservative think tank called Madison Liberty Group. Former Rep. Ron Nate leads the new venture and many liberty folks are excited to have another conservative watch dog evaluating, fact checking and alerting citizens and legislators on issues with proposed legislation. You can find out more at madisonliberty.org
Saturday morning was a great chance to drop in on the Republican State Convention and see all of the dedicated and committed Republicans working to better the party. Its was great to see newly elected Congressman Russ Fulcher take his oath from Gov. Little before this group. His speech was excellent, well stated and inspiring. My favorite quote from Congressman Fulcher was “... We need to remember the real enemy. It’s the evil ambition within ... that strives to strip us of our divinely granted liberty and replace it with a lie which is the incarceration of more government control.”
Saturday evening was the main event for the weekend with the Inaugural Prominade down the inner capital steps and then the Governor’s Ball. Members of the House and Senate and their spouses joined the Executive Branch for a night of glitz and glamour, sequins and bow ties. Excellent entertainment, attentive security and great event planning was pulled off by the Idaho Military Division. They were truly impressive. There truly was a fresh new air of excitement in the Capital. Let’s hope it lingers all year.
Monday, January 7th, was the first day of session and things were mostly geared towards getting the House business in order and learning how the session may look. We also heard from Governor Little who was encouraging and positive. I look forward to his efforts and hope we see a different Executive branch mentality from him, one that is less intrusive in our legislative processes.
The big controversy of the week was when four House Republicans teamed with the Democrats in a 7-6 decision to mandate 12th graders receive the Meningococcal vaccine. This administrative rule was brought by the Department of Health and Welfare and will increase government and limit parental rights and personal responsibility. A major problem I have with the rule, is that it is not based on any previous legislation that a past legislature had voted on. The unelected bureaucrats have taken this upon themselves to write the law, rather than doing their job of clarifying law passed by the legislature. Discussions amongst legislators on the impacts of BIG PHARMA over legislative policy stirred once again. In my opinion, lobbying of any governmental bureaucrats should be scrutinized and monitored.
Please stay educated and engaged as legislators need to hear from you now more than ever. We face major challenges as the storm whipped waves of Washington DC politics will likely bring new challenges to Idaho legislators. As the fastest growing state in the nation, we need to be smart, nimble, strong and dedicated to the cause in order keep Idaho a great conservative state!
Rep. Heather Scott represents Bonner and Boundary counties in the Idaho Legislature in District 1A. She can be reached at email@example.com.