There is good news about the May 18 special session — officially proclaimed by Gov. Butch Otter Wednesday as “the 63rd Idaho Legislature in Extraordinary Session.” It needs to be done and our connections with the federal child support system must be put back on track. The Legislature can and should act quickly and decisively to restore the process.
It is also good that “The Nine” Republican members of the Idaho House who caused it have another 18 days to twist and flap in the bitter winds of negative public opinion. Though we are not holding our breath, we hope every one of them recants and finds a way to support SB 1067: Reps. Ronald Nate, R-Rexburg; Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls; Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene; Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth; Thomas Dayley, R-Boise; Lynn Luker, R-Boise; Heather Scott, R-Blanchard; Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton; Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls.
We could devote 48 hours to a discussion of each of The Nine over the next 18 days and once again ask: What were you thinking that caused you to put our $205 million child support system in jeopardy and blow up the access to funds and support tools affecting 400,000 parents and children who desperately need them? But, unfortunately, we already know.
A bizarre episode of toxic, conspiratorial anti-federalist/anti-United Nations/anti-religious fear-mongering leaked like battery acid on a perfectly legitimate program. Hoping that their votes would stop federal bullying and coercion — a selective game when considering how Idaho cooperates with the feds in numerous other areas in order to secure funding — they in effect became ideologic bullies themselves, especially considering that the bill passed unanimously in the Idaho Senate, passed muster in both chambers of Congress and was already accepted in 20 other states. Only The Nine were there to save us at the last minute of the last hour of the last day of our sessions. Or so they thought.
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Luker already has drawn an announced opponent in the 2016 election. He and the others need to reconsider where the line is between governing and pandering to an errant mindset that could have so adversely affected the people who elected them.
We would advise The Nine to take a tip from what is commonly considered the Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm. Only then will the special session and this Legislature have any hope of doing something on the positive side of “extraordinary” in the future.