Monday, May 20, 2024

Op-Ed: And the winners are…

Carrie: This has been the longest legislative session in Idaho history.

Jerry: No wonder we have so much material for our annual F.L.U.B. and B.I.L.E. awards.

Carrie: “B.I.L.E.” stands for “bad Idaho legislative effort,” the worst legislating of the session.

Jerry: And “F.L.U.B.” is “foolish legislator utterance or blunder,” for really foolish comments or behavior.

Carrie: The envelope … please. In the “needs to read the Idaho Constitution” category, the F.L.U.B. goes to Rep. Barb Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, for saying: “People can talk about three co-equal branches of government all they want, but let me remind you, we are not meant to be co-equal. … The main branch of government is actually the legislative body.”

Jerry: If that’s true, what would stop the Legislature from firing the governor or disbanding the judiciary? Reminds me of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Carrie: Moving on, in the voter suppression category, the F.L.U.B. goes to House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. While debating his bill making it a felony to mail or drop more than two family members’ ballots to the elections office, he said, “I understand that concern, but you know what, voting shouldn’t be easy.”

Jerry: I partially agree. Voting for Mike Moyle shouldn’t be easy.

Carrie: Next, in the “Who let the moms out?” category, the F.L.U.B. goes to Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Pollock. During a House debate over accepting $6 million in federal funds for pre-school education, he said we shouldn’t make it “more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child.”

Jerry: That brought out a bunch of moms who protested on the Capitol steps. Sadly, the House rejected the $6 million.

Carrie: Moving on, in the “What planet are you living on?” category, the F.L.U.B. goes to Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony. While debating in favor of her bill to make it illegal for the government to mandate wearing masks, she said, “If people were dying in the streets, we’d have no need for government mandates.”

Jerry: That very day, over 538,000 Americans and 1,935 Idahoans had died from COVID-19. And Idaho Falls was No. 1, and Rexburg was No. 3 for highest new COVID-19 cases per capita in the country.

Carrie: Sigh. Many more legislators qualified for F.L.U.B.’s, but it’s time to announce our B.I.L.E. awards. In the “Resurrecting Joe McCarthy,” category, the B.I.L.E. goes to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin for her new task force on Indoctrination in Idaho Education.

Jerry: Her press release says she wants to hear from you about any “problematic teachings on social justice, critical race theory, socialism, communism or Marxism” in our schools.

Carrie: During a House debate, Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, complained about “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Looks like “Animal Farm” could also be in trouble?

Jerry: Next, in the international intrigue category, the B.I.L.E. goes to the House State Affairs Committee for trying to kill Powerball in Idaho.

Carrie: Why did they do that?

Jerry: Because the U.K. and Australia wanted to join. Rep. Heather Scott warned them Australia might use Powerball funds to promote gun control. So, they voted it down even though they’d lose $14 million it generates annually for public education.

Carrie: Turns out Australia and U.K. withdrew. Powerball in Idaho is saved, for now.

Jerry: Finally, it’s time for our best in show B.I.L.E. It goes to the Idaho legislators who voted for an amendment to the Idaho Constitution allowing them to come back into session whenever 60% of their members request it.

Carrie: After adjournment, they can only reconvene if the governor calls them back. In November 2022, we citizens will vote on whether they should be able to come back whenever they want.

Jerry: Given all the grief they inflict on us, that’s a no-brainer.

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Jerry is a retired farmer/rancher and native Idahoan. Carrie is a retired nonprofit administrator.