A failing grade
Let's see what our old white, religiously motivated males (Legislature) accomplished.
- Continued their assault on education by giving more to corrections (7.1 percent increase) than education (2.2 percent increase). Better to keep the constituents dumb and locked up than educated and informed.
- Gave a tax break to their corporate donor friends - must reward the people that helped get us elected.
- Prevented a well qualified woman from becoming a department head. Egads, this doesn't fit in with the archaic 1950s style of governance by this current Legislature.
- Railed against all gun laws. When a man with a sidearm came into the Capitol building they hid under their desks and demanded the man be removed.
Final grade F.
PAT KENDALL, Boise
An excellent job
This year the Legislature had to confront a number of difficult issues. They had to deal with the encroachment of the federal government on gun rights and health care. They also confronted numerous difficult issues on education policy and funding. In the end the Legislature did an excellent job. While the Legislature is sure to have taken some positions at odds with the views of some, they did so in the best interests of Idaho's citizens. These legislators are our friends and neighbors and only want the best for us.
Toward that end the Legislature passed a series of laws on education increasing funding, promoting financial flexibility for districts and providing transparency in teacher-district negotiations. The Legislature also passed legislation that would allocate additional dollars to help public universities handle deferred maintenance.
On guns, the Legislature passed a series of laws geared toward protecting every Idahoan's Second Amendment rights. Lastly, on the state health exchange, while the Legislature took an action many disagree with, they did so with the best intentions. Time will tell whether lawmakers made the right decisions, but they did so with the best intentions. It heartens me to know our elected officials do.
GABE IACOBONI, Boise
A look backward
"Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have" - James Baldwin.
This certainly describes the Idaho political establishment. Sens. Risch and Crapo were filibustering universal background checks. The recently completed legislative session continues to congratulate itself on doing a great job.
Teachers were again denigrated (how they retain any teachers is amazing, except for those overpaid at charter schools). We remain at the bottom of educational accomplishment.
Business taxes were cut again, but there was not time to consider extending medical coverage to 100,000 Idahoans without insurance, create several thousand high paying jobs, and provide property tax relief to middle income taxpayers.
The one person, one vote democratic principal was set aside for farmers and ranchers who didn't want the communists in Ada County interfering with their right to abuse animals (and probably illegal workers, too). However, gun laws were loosened to allow more people to be killed more easily.
Congratulations to the Idaho political establishment once again on the cutting edge of 19th-century thinking regarding human rights, women's rights, education and regressive taxation.
MONROE BRADLEY, Boise