Opinions / Op-eds

Op-Ed – Idaho’s 2023 Legislative Session

I entered politics because I was highly distressed observing the drastic decline in our culture and our strength as a nation because of woke politics and political correctness. Even after 37 years of service in the Navy, I knew my duty was not over. I needed to do something. In order to survive and thrive, we must recapture our culture and retain our national unity. As a legislator for the State of Idaho, I can do this. Education is a critical component of our national strength, and I wanted to do my part there and was fortunate enough to be placed on the Education Committee.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, we were provided many options for Educational School Choice.

The Education Savings Account (ESA) bill proposal did not make it past the Senate floor. The ESA plan would have provided parents funds that they could apply as they see fit, either for private schools, micro schools or home school options. Other education school choice bills were proposed that offered similar funds and options for parents to seek educational opportunities separate from the public school system, but none of these reached the threshold to get past the House Education Committee. It will be my number one priority for the 2024 session to find a good School Choice program for the people of Idaho. We must get Idaho’s education right. We are fighting for the soul of our nation and education is a vital battlefield.

We had some other great legislative accomplishments that had significant impact on the public-school education landscape. We passed the Parent’s Rights bill (H163), which guarantees full transparency for parents for all activities at the public schools. This assures no hidden agendas or undesirable indoctrination activities occur without parents’ knowledge or consent. Just this last week, the Bonneville School Board decided to cancel a survey for their 14,000 students where they were going to ask students about their health and other personal matters. Because of this Parent’s Rights legislation, the Board knew it needed parent approval to proceed with the personal survey and knew that it would be administratively difficult to do so. The survey was cancelled. This is a victory for us parents! No more secret surveys administered at schools in Idaho. I have seen some of these surveys, and some questions included were entirely inappropriate. These surveys arguably encourage over-evaluation of regular teenager issues and lead them down some unhealthy paths, including suggestions to identify as transgender as a path out of depression. Clearly this transgender movement has become an ideological cult looking for new converts. We must ask why do we have 20% of Gen Zs identifying as LGBQT, when in the 1960s, it was 1%? This is a cultural phenomenon being perpetuated by radical activists. Parents must have transparency on such things.

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We also passed the Bathroom Bill (SB1100) which ensures that all Idaho public schools must provide separate facilities of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms for biological boys and biological girls, with reasonable accommodation for those unwilling or unable to participate in these multiple person facilities. The key result here was that everyone’s rights were recognized, including the rights for young girls and boys to be safe and secure in a place where they are most vulnerable, and also recognize the rights of everyone else to be safe, secure and comfortable. And finally, the rights of parents are recognized knowing their children are safe when at school.

This legislation was desperately needed by the schools and school boards, so they have a defined policy to implement across the state. This has brought peace to the school boards on this topic and now they can work with parents to do what is best for education as we move forward.

My biggest legislation disappointment was the failure of the Library Bill (HB314). The purpose of this bill was to prevent sexually explicit materials from being accessed by minors at public and school libraries. I was a co-sponsor and testified in committee in support of the bill. The bill was fair and balanced and passed both the House and the Senate but was Vetoed by the Governor. The House failed to override the veto by one vote. Very disappointing. We need to try again next year and amend it so will pass, but still be effective in achieving our objectives. We must protect our children from inappropriate materials in public libraries and at school.

I am looking forward to the 2024 session. I will be fighting for Idaho and Idahoans.

Very respectfully,
Ted Hill, Idaho State House Representative, 14th District, Seat A.
CAPT USN (ret)

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3 replies on “Op-Ed – Idaho’s 2023 Legislative Session”

Representative Hill,
Thank you for your work this session. I hope you and other legislators will take time to consider all the aspects of ESA programs. Many private school and homeschool families do not want ESA funds. We do not want government following and dictating what our children can learn. I know proponents say that this will not happen, but it is naive to think the government will not later creep in to have more oversight. You just explained how the legislator had to tamp down the school’s ability to survey students with unnecessary polls. Will we need a bill each time the school attempts to overstep their authority? An ESA program could lead to more government control and higher tuition. This happened in colleges and universities when government funding became available to students. Tuition rose proportionately along with the “free” state sponsored funds. We suggest that we do not need the government taking our money to give it back to families. However, a tax break would be much appreciated and those of us who homeschool would reinvest our money into our children‘s education. Simply, an ESA program would expand government. We will not participate. And, hopefully, will never be forced to submit opt-out forms to our local school district. Please, consider what a slippery slope these programs are.

But you got a “D” on the Freedom Index and an “F” on the spending index. You’re part of the problem, not part of the solution, Ted. See the proof:

He did not run as an IFF Freedom Index party member. He did not serve in the Idaho House as a member of the IFF Freedom Index Party. Their index is not a Republican evaluative tool and is irrelevant to anyone not in their group.

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