Several representatives have seen the legislative process shut down good legislation (without a vote), stall out on important work needing to be done, and ignore the calls of citizens to end the burdensome emergency and health orders. These representatives are using procedural motions to draw attention to growing frustrations from citizens, and I support their efforts. Below is my speech from the House floor:
“As Idaho Representatives, we are elected to work for our constituents and for Idaho. We come here with plans, we get feedback from our constituents, and we work hard to make sure the legislature works to protect rights, protect families and businesses, and keep Idaho Free.
This legislative session has been disappointing. We are at week 6, day 3, and virtually nothing has been accomplished to fix the immediate needs our citizens were promised to fix. To this point in the session, procedural powers have worked for the benefit of special interests and state agencies, while Idaho families and businesses are still hurting. Idahoans’ patience and legislators’ patience are at a breaking point. Our constituents have been very vocal, they want us to:
- End the Governor’s emergency declaration
- End the Public Health Orders and limit regional health districts’ powers
- Remove all restrictions on Idaho Businesses
- Open Idaho Schools, and allow for full schedules and activities, including sports and dances.
- Restore the balance of power and rein in the governor’s emergency powers
- Repeal the grocery tax, lower property taxes, return the surplus to families
- Stop committee chairs from holding bills
This week is a new start. All legislators have procedural power. We will be using more of our procedural powers to benefit the citizens and we encourage other legislators to do the same.
The legislature needs to stop listening to special interests and the gentleman on the second floor and start listening to the citizens. This body needs to put pressure on the body across the rotunda to hear our Constitutional amendment to call ourselves back into session. Both bodies need to have the votes they promised for ending the emergency rules that are killing Idahoans’ dreams.
Here in the House, some of our bills have been taken and RS’s are being shut down by committee chairs. A committee chair’s job is to facilitate the work of the committee and help bills be heard. (Grocery Tax, Abolish Abortion, Vaccination Freedom, etc.) Representatives should be allowed to represent, by voting on all proposals brought to committees.
Federal rules and conformity bills are ramrodded through our committees to take away our state sovereignty. Bills from the executive branch are put before legislators’ bills. Over 70 agency bills.
We need to protect our citizens and state sovereignty from the federal government’s overreach. We need to ensure protections for our citizen’s free speech and ability to assemble. School kids are suffering from restrictive school rules and little to no activities. There is VERY IMPORTANT work to do this session. And we are just treading water.
This week we start using legislative procedure rules for the benefit of all Idahoans. We read bills (as the Constitution says we must) to slow things down and to shine a light on the broken processes. The work of the people needs to be put first on the agenda, not come as an afterthought. Legislators are here to represent the people and we should do everything that’s needed to get their important work done first. Let’s make this process work for a Free Idaho.”
Ron is a professor of economics at BYU-Idaho and an Idaho state representative (LD.34). He specializes in applied microeconomics, public economics, quantitative methods, the economics of education, poverty economics, and public choice. He has been teaching for nearly 30 years, beginning at the University of Connecticut, Ohio University-Eastern, and the last 19 years at BYU-Idaho.