2016 Legislative Session Summary


In an effort to create an effective analogy and insert a little fun into a description of the 2016 Idaho legislative session, I am assigning roles to two groups of people:

  1. Group 1 is the “good guys”. In this summary they are the people who generally like the Gem State Patriot and its publisher.
  2. Group 2 is the “questionable guys”. In this summary they are the people who generally would like the Gem State Patriot, and its publisher, to go the way of the DODO bird.

So when reflecting back over the last three months of legislative activity the questionable guys succeeded in growing government more than the economy is likely to grow. In other words, they succeeded in taxing more and spending more. Furthermore, despite a current economy that show signs of life now and for the next year, no tax relief was offered. Not on income tax. Not on grocery tax. Not on Corporate tax. Then in our final example, more legislative action dealing with the ill-fated Idaho Education Network (IEN) guarantees that taxpayers will again pay more – due to administrative mismanagement of appropriations and crony contract award practices.

But the good guys scored some points too. After a 4 year effort, the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit is law in Idaho. Local control got bolstered by S1338, which empowered local governments to engage directly with federal agencies when there are problems on federal lands adjacent to areas where the local government has responsibility. Then, the good guys “made a tackle” on the 1 yard line as time was running out! And what did they tackle? A bill that would have laid the groundwork to expand Obamacare’s Medicaid!

Overall, it was not a fabulous session, but it certainly could have been worse. Although the 63rd legislature employed a tax & spend mentality, they mainly handled social issues in line with traditional conservative values.

Now, since 2016 is an election year, and with the likelihood that the make-up of the 64th Legislative session is on track to be similar to the 63rd, it is important we all understand who our candidates are and what they believe in. Then we need to fervently support the ones that we best align with!