Wake up, Idaho voters.
Every legislative season, I scratch my head in wonderment at how our legislators “represent” us. This year, a bill effectively enforcing the elimination of illegal fireworks can’t even get out of committee. Even though they are already illegal in our state, a loophole in the law permits them to be sold if the buyer agrees not to use them in Idaho. Really? Has anyone heard a credible explanation for this anomaly? Would we do this with the sale of marijuana? This proposal had the support of law and fire enforcement officials because it addressed a real and potential danger. Apparently they don’t count. If the Table Rock Fire wasn’t enough, we all know people who are injured every year, and I personally have found spent bottle rockets in my backyard on July 5, which could have just as easily landed on my roof.
Instead, a bill targeting “Sanctuary City” status, which contains economic penalties to local communities for an activity that does not exist in Idaho — and even if it did, has no proven safety threat — was permitted a secondary introductory hearing after being reworked to be more palatable. Really? When I investigated the author (Greg Chaney) of this bill to understand better his motivations and the moral authority that compelled him to introduce it, I was more than a little confounded by what I found. Really? Google the author and decide for yourself. Could our state legislators be afraid our city governments are incapable of deciding these matters for themselves, or is their real agenda motivated by something more insidious?
I find our legislators’ “concern” for our cities more than a little suspect and certainly no less than ludicrous, when after a winter in which some cities have experienced devastating infrastructure damage and busted maintenance budgets, and many private homes and businesses have been damaged, causing job and personal property losses which may never be recovered. That in a season of record budget surpluses, our very own district Rep. Judy Boyle’s response, when asked what role there might be for state government in alleviating some of these issues, stated “this was an act of God, and therefore property owners must work this out with their private insurance carriers.” Really, Judy? This is the best you can offer your constituents? Could it be that she’s just too focused on how the state can grab our federal public lands?
Idaho voters, wake up. We deserve and can do better. Remember how these people have “represented” you next election cycle.
Tony Edmondson is a former Washington County commissioner and Weiser city councilman.