Editor's note: This column is best read on Friday, April 1.
Most of the people I deal with are fairly smart, but occasionally I have days when I seem to run into an excessive number of people with an overabundance of stupid.
A while back, I was talking with Mayor Tom Rist about this problem and he'd also just had one of those days. I accused Tom of putting stupid in the water supply. He said he'd check into it.
Subsequent studies have shown, however, that it was actually a minor leak into the aquifer here from a massive concentration located in the water supply used by the nearby Idaho legislature. In fact, the legislature seems to have an aquifer recharge program that constantly replaces -- and adds to -- the amount of stupid in the water there.
In Boise, they call it "Capitol Kool-aid."
Of course, some legislators avoid that problem by never touching the stuff (they only drink liquid refreshments from their favorite "watering holes," instead -- which explains a lot, when you think about it).
A confidential EPA report I've obtained by nefarious means indicates the amount of stupid in the legislative water supply is now approaching toxic levels. This is a major health hazard, as the legislature will soon be approaching terminal stupidity.
This, of course, should surprise no one who's been monitoring the legislature this year.
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I've always believed lawmakers should not be exempt from the laws they pass (Congress is particularly notorious for doing this).
As a result, I have the following suggestions to make concerning proposals that have come before the legislature, all of which I believe are logical extensions of their actions:
1) Education reform -- All legislators should be given a laptop computer and required to take four online classes a year. We would suggest courses in government, economics, ethics and history. It's always good to learn new things you didn't know anything about before.
However, since we all know that an online course isn't as useful has having a living, breathing (non-union) teacher there to answer their questions and patiently explain the basic concepts in these classes, and that retention of learned material is lower in an on-line class as well, this may not be as effective as it sounds.
Furthermore, making those who fail any of the classes repeat their term of office seems to be counter-productive. Perhaps we can just "social pass" them on to the next level (Congress).
Tenure, of course, should clearly be eliminated.
In addition, a "pay for performance" method of determining their salaries should be established. This could save taxpayers millions -- although many legislators would almost certainly wind up applying for food stamps to avoid starving to death (where they would then be forced to undergo drug tests before receiving any funds from the public dole).
2) Nullification -- The legislature apparently believes it has the right to ignore any federal law it doesn't like and can direct law enforcement agencies not to enforce certain federal laws it finds distasteful.
Logically, this should be extended to cities, counties, school districts and other local government entities.
Local governments should clearly have the same right to "nullify" any state laws to which they object. Nor should they be required to enforce any state law they find objectionable (this, however, would contribute to the "weed" problem in Sun Valley, but that's another issue).
3) Unfunded mandates -- State lawmakers have objected to being required by the federal government to pay for some of the laws passed by Congress. To prove their sincerity, the legislature should provide funds to local governments to pay for any of the extra programs or paperwork they require of the local governments each year.
4) Guns on campuses -- The legislature believes that if everyone is armed, the world will be a safer place. They want to start the process on college campuses (although they really should keep the current prohibition in place during Bronco-Vandal games).
They shouldn't stop at college campuses, however.
The laws prohibiting guns on high school and elementary school campuses also should be repealed. After all, this would clearly level the playing field for first graders being bullied by third-grade students. Our playgrounds would be much safer, obviously.
Furthermore, and in particular, it should be extended to repeal all laws, ordinances and policies relating to firearms at the State Capitol.
Imagine how much safer our legislators would feel with a visitor's gallery filled with people with .30-06 rifles, Mac-10s and Berettas with extended clips.
This also might encourage better behavior by legislators -- and citizens would be much more effective in being able to influence legislation.
It still won't solve the problem of stupid in their water supply, however.