Legislators attend workshop on civil debate
While House and Senate leaders say they don’t think that Idaho has a particularly uncivil Legislature, they hope Tuesday’s workshop will help ideologically diverse lawmakers find common ground and make debates more constructive.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse has conducted 17 such seminars in 12 different states. But Idaho is the first seminar for an entire Legislature.
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House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said it has become tradition to have a training session of some sort each year. Last year, the focus was ethics.
Several lawmakers were critical of the media’s role in creating incivility. Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, pointed to a recent (Idaho Falls) Post Register article detailing lawmakers’ views on climate change, and the Idaho Statesman’s publication of several subsequent letters to the editor criticizing lawmakers’ views on the subject.
Hill said the article made state lawmakers look stupid and the criticism some received was unfair.
“We can’t blame just the media,” he said. “We do it to ourselves. We do it to each other.”
Bryan Clark, Post Register
Idaho unit will fight cyberattacks
The Idaho Air National Guard is one of six Air Guard units and 13 Army Guard units nationwide to protect military and civilian government computer systems. Gov. Butch Otter on Monday announced the unit, which will have 71 employees, 15 full-time.
A civility seminar was attended by most of the Legislature
Last year, Otter created a cybersecurity task force to develop strategies for helping to protect against the growing threat of hackers gaining access to state computer systems. The governor’s proposed budget includes $1 million to create a cybersecurity program at Boise State University, in conjunction with the Idaho National Laboratory.
By 2019, 23 states are expected to have Guard cyberunits.
More than 1,000 people took part in the exercise, including active-duty, National Guard and Reserve units, along with members of more than 100 organizations representing government, academia, industry and an international coalition.
Former commission stands in for Democratic leader
Former Nez Perce County Commissioner J.R. Van Tassel was sworn into office Monday for his temporary duty representing Idaho’s 6th Legislative District.
Van Tassel, who served 13 years as county commissioner and seven years on the Lewiston City Council, will serve as a substitute for Lewiston Rep. John Rusche this week.
Rusche’s wife, Kay, had brain surgery last week to remove a tumor. She’s been battling cancer for several years. Rusche expects to miss the first two or three weeks of the session while she undergoes radiation treatment.
The district includes all of Nez Perce and Lewis counties.
William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune
S.E. Oregon standoff
Three legislators visit Malheur
Reps. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, and Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, were on a fact-finding mission at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, the legislators said in a statement. The visit to Burns and the scene of the armed standoff was reported by the Spokesman-Review.
“We were among a selected group of state legislators invited by an Oregon legislator because of our commitment to liberty, freedom and efforts to curb federal government overreach,” the statement said. “Numerous constituents in each of our districts have expressed concerns about the situation unfolding in Burns, and similar frustrations in dealing with federal agencies. We would like to avoid any type of similar situations in our own districts; therefore we went to assess this situation for ourselves and our constituents.”