Well I don't know about all of you, but I am ready for the legislative session to be over. The constant back and forth is tiring. Of course, my daily life is probably more inundated by it then a lot of people with me getting over 10 different press releases coming out of the Capitol every single day. And it is not just that we are constantly hearing about what is going on in the legislature and dealing with all of the "he said, she said" between the two parties even though all of that would be more then enough. Nope, what makes my head spin and me feel perpetually tired and not even want to open my emails most days these past couple of weeks is the fact that it seems like we are in a constant state of spinning our wheels.
Look at the main pieces of legislation that decisions are supposed to be made on this week. They are the same ones that decisions have already been made about time and time again since January. The Hemp Bill, Medicaid and now the Ballot Initiatives have all been moved back and forth between the two chambers over and over again. They've been amended and then amended again, they've added trailer bills to add even more amendments to these bills.
And then there is the Ballot Initiatives Bill when last week it looked like someone had finally made a real decision during this legislative session. Our new Governor put his foot down and vetoed his first bill. A very unpopular bill at that. Agree with him or not, but at least finally somebody had made an assertive decision.
Then to begin this new week we find out that this fight isn't over either. The House of Representatives has decided to take the bill and break it into four parts and send it back through. However this time it is expected that they will move through the process much quicker as they will likely bypass the public hearings where the first bill had received tons of opposition.
I, for one, am personally very against the bill. I believe very strongly that the people's will should be the law of the land. I know I am not always going to love how an initiative plays out ( I really wanted the horse racing bill to pass), but that is how our government is supposed to work. It is the majorities right to make these decisions and my thinking is not always going to fall along with the majority. I'm okay with that, I have to be. And lets face it, very few initiatives have made it as far as the Medicaid initiative made it and that’s because it was already a hard process and that is because Idahoans do not take this Constitutional right lightly. We’ve had the ability to try to change Idaho laws through an initiative since the early 1900s and not many of them have even been started, not many of those have even made a ballot and that is because even if some group gets a “silly idea” for a law they still have to go through the petition process. Backers of the bill said that it was because too much power was given to the urban areas with the way things are set to work now. But guess what, both Propositions One and Two received the majority of the people of Elmore County’s votes last November and Medicaid was approved by many other rural counties as well.
I was happy to see that Governor Little had really seemed to listen to the people of the State of Idaho and had seen that there could be some Constitutional issues at stake and vetoed the bill. I applaud him for breaking away from party lines and doing what he thought was best for Idaho and its citizens.
If these four separate bills, that are identical to the first bill, make it past the governor's desk, there is going to be a fight ahead of us, that I am sure of. Idahoans are strong independent people and we are not going to watch as the few take the voice of the many by stripping us of our right to make political decisions when we feel like our legislature isn't getting anything done. Because like I said before, not getting things done seems to be something they are good at.
As tired as I am of this session, maybe Governor Little should extend it, maybe he should put his foot down again and tell our elected officials that they aren't going anywhere until some real decisions are made about something. I doubt any of them want the session to go any longer then we do, so maybe if they heard those words they would actually sit down and iron out some of their differences. Maybe then some of this legislation would actually get taken care of before they adjourn for the year.