Monday, April 22, 2024

OPINION: Why did your Republican representative vote to defund the police?

by RUSSELL MANN/Guest Opinion
| January 10, 2024 1:00 AM

In the 2023 legislative session, out of 105 members, 11 Republican house members and nine Republican senators voted against funding the police. Here’s the link to read the bill and see the votes:

These 10 legislators from our area voted to defund the state police: Tony Wisniewski, Elaine Price, Vito Barbieri, Ron Mendive, Heather Scott, Dale Hawkins, Phil Hart, Scott Herndon, Doug Okuniewicz, Ben Toews.

They are two-thirds of those representing North Idaho, but do any of them really represent you? Do you support defunding the police?

Last session’s House Bill 359 was an appropriations bill for Idaho State Police. Thankfully plenty of reasonable Republicans from around the state voted in favor and our state police are funded through June 30, 2024. This will come up again in the current 2024 session.

Why would Republican legislators representing taxpayers in Kootenai County vote against funding Idaho State Police? If they had reasonable objections, why didn’t they offer amendments?

Let’s look at what they have in common.

100% of the legislators who voted against funding ISP share some common boosters.

Brent Regan, in his role as chairman of the KCRCC, is behind the “rating and vetting” system in which every single legislator voting “Nay” was “highly rated” and vetted.

Brent Regan, in his role as chairman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, is behind the scorecard that rated every single “Nay” voter in its highest ranks.

Here’s a link to Brent Regan’s Idaho Freedom Foundation’s justification for a minus 4 rating for voting “Aye” (on a +10 through -10 scale) of House bill 359:

Do these arguments persuade you?

I believe law enforcement is a fundamental role of government. Idaho faces a fentanyl crisis, crimes against persons have been rising, as well as violent crime.

A “Nay” vote founded on these ticky tacky objections is irresponsible. By voting against funding the police, these legislators are voting for anarchy and chaos. Defunding law enforcement puts all of us at risk.

In this May’s legislative primary, voters (you) will decide whether or not the incumbent “Defund the Police” crowd, clearly loyal only to Brent Regan, will continue to represent you as a Republican.

How can you make a difference?

Register to vote. You can check your voter registration at

Sign up for absentee ballots. This makes it easier to vote in May.

Keep educated about the issues. Sign up for North Idaho Republicans newsletter at

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Russell Mann is a member of North Idaho Republicans and a Post Falls resident.