Businesses are part of the problem
Cellphones aren't the only distractions.
I live in Meridian, where road construction has been a major challenge to our day-to-day routine. At the Fairview/Meridian intersection, it looks like a war zone. Traffic is backed up. Drivers are irritated. Yet there are businesses that insist on placing employees in the middle of this area, waving signs to urge drivers to pull over and buy their products.
There are other intersections I could mention, with people prancing up and down the sidewalks, waving signs like the Second Coming was imminent. When folks are behind the wheel, they have enough trouble watching out for traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians, without agonizing whether or not they should pull over on an impulse and buy a mattress.
Along the same vein, the new digital billboards stream flashy ads at drivers, a contest of greed between companies diverting the driver's attention away from the road. I'm not keen on passing more regulations, but something needs to be done to minimize the enthusiasm by these businesses that are adding to the driver distraction problem.
TERRY DELANEY, Meridian
Feds can help solve social ills
Were it not so tragically sad, it might be funny, Rep. Brent Crane's using Rosa Parks as an example of why we need less federal involvement in state affairs.
Were it not for federal intervention overturning state mandated Jim Crow laws in the South, the civil rights movement would never have happened and Rosa Parks would be sitting in the back of the bus again.
Mr. Crane, who has a degree in political science, is a great example of why we need greater funding for education. Instead, the Legislature decreases funding, forcing the people to pass levies. When we reject the Luna Laws, the Legislature then passes rules making it more difficult for the people to speak out against such laws. Thankfully, we have a federal government that can overrule the absurd dictates of these rubes.
PATRICK HARREN, Boise
BSU priorities are quite interesting for a "Metropolitan University of Distinction." BSU graduation rate of less than 30 percent (University of Idaho's exceeds 50 percent), yet the sports at BSU are continually improving. The work of athletic director (oops, president) Bob Kustra should not go unnoticed.
KARL VANDERLINDEN, Boise
Legislators reject plan to save money
After the public voted to repeal Proposition 1 and reinstate the Early Retirement Incentive for teachers, members of the House Education Committee still approved SB 1089. This bill passed on a party-line vote and will likely erase the Early Retirement Incentive once again.
In testimony before the committee, SDE legislative aide Jason Hancock acknowledged that this program does, in fact, save the state money. ERIP has saved the state nearly $100 million since 1996, when it was first approved under Gov. Phil Batt. Gov. Butch Otter also asked to support teachers with the incentive in his proposed 2014 budget.
Other states have created similar programs to save dollars. For those in the Legislature who want to ignore the governor, majority of voters, and teachers, you should be ashamed. Not wanting to save the state money makes no "cents." This appears to be nothing short of "payback" against teachers and Idaho partisanship!
TRISH ZUBIZARRETA, Boise
HOUSE BILL 219
Don't pass this law
Just a heads up, the Idaho Legislature is considering a bill, HB 219, the "Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act," which would attempt to make it illegal for state officials or Idaho law enforcement to enforce new federal gun laws.
Whether you support gun control or not, the language and intent of the bill ignore the fact that under the U.S. Constitution, any state law that conflicts with federal law is invalid and that the constitutionality of federal law can only be determined by the courts, not individual law enforcement or state officials.
Although some may excuse this bill as harmless partisan posturing, those of us who are old enough remember the serious and costly consequences of states refusing to enforce federal civil rights laws.
Please contact your state representatives and urge them to oppose this bill. The Idaho Legislature has the opportunity to prevent needless and costly legal conflict, and to foster understanding and respect for the rule of law by opposing House Bill 219.
TOM BUCHTA, Boise
Scratch these items
There are three things you cannot give Idahoans:
1) A union job.
2) A laptop.
3) A mansion.
DAN COULOMBE, Caldwell