BILLS: Unwise and unconstitutional
I hope most Press readers saw the compelling Guest Opinion “Dear Legislators: Either obey the Idaho Constitution or amend it” by Jim Jones and Ben Ysursa (Sunday, March 21). Their column calls out Idaho lawmakers for attempting to circumvent the Idaho constitutional guarantees of citizen initiative and of separation of powers. They correctly point out that the legislators’ power grabs come at the expense of us citizens and of the constitutional offices of the governor and attorney general.
Their perspective is particularly significant: Jones served as Idaho Attorney General and state Supreme Court justice for a combined 20 years; former Secretary of State Ysursa was in charge of Idaho elections (including initiative and recalls) for a total of 39 years.
Neither of these well-respected elder statesmen has any apparent political axe to grind. Both were elected to statewide office as members of the same party as the legislative majority now pushing these outrageous bills. Neither presumably has plans for further elective office. The only interests they seem to have in these measures are concern for democracy and the rule of law.
Although it is doubtful the bills pending in the Legislature would withstand judicial scrutiny, we voters should not have to run the risk and expense of litigation. I hope enough of us will convince our legislators to abandon these bills instead.