We are in the 6th week of legislative session without accomplishing much to deal with recent unconstitutional orders dished out by the Governor. Granted, there are no current gubernatorial orders to restrict businesses or gatherings. We are in stage 3 and that only includes COVID related recommendations. Regardless, the People of Idaho have asked us to limit the Governor’s powers and slap down his violations of Constitutional protections. He could also put us back into stage 2 at any time. I do not like this hanging over our heads, as I am sure most of you don’t.
I have mentioned House Concurrent Resolution 5. This has passed the House. It lifts all bans on all unconstitutional gatherings in the state. This would no longer allow school boards, districts, Idaho High School Activities Association, etc. to limit school gatherings. The consensus with many legislators is that some school officials have incentive to not lift the limits on gatherings, because that would mean that they must open schools full-time. HCR 5 is stuck in the Senate, no surprise there. Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge is blocking this bill. I ask you to email her, in order to persuade her to hear this in committee. I know so many in our district are exhausted and fed up with limitations on school events. This is her email: PALodge@senate.idaho.gov
HALLMARK BILL ON GOVERNOR’S POWER
House Bill 135 passed the House today with a veto proof majority and has been sent to the Senate. Even seasoned legislators have not seen the amount of careful rewriting of a bill as this one has undergone (started as H001, then H016, then H098, finally H135). These are the main provisions:
• No constitutionally protected rights can be suspended in a state of emergency.
• No jobs will be declared non-essential.
• The governor cannot declare a state of emergency longer than 60 days without the consent of the legislature.
• The governor cannot circumvent the 60-day limit by reinstating the same emergency order.
• The governor cannot spend unexpected funds that exceed 1% of the state budget without the consent of the legislature.
The Republicans that voted against it, with the Democrats, are Representatives Wood, Gibbs, Hartgen, Kauffman, Lickley, Manwaring, Syme, and Troy. It did pass with 49 votes and that is veto proof. Tell the Senate to pass this with two-thirds in favor! Two-thirds is veto proof. I have no doubt Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge will block it again in the Senate. Please email her regarding this bill, as well.
Recently, U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson announced that he supports breaching dams to support the recovery of salmon. I have something simple to tell Rep. Mike Simpson, “Mike, you are a traitor to Idaho and to those that elected you.” I have not heard one Republican legislator, along with the Governor, that supports him regarding this issue. We will fight every step of the way against this prerogative. I have entertained the idea of running against him, even more so after this foolish self-serving announcement.
A House bill on vaccination freedom in the workplace (state employees and companies that contract with the state) just passed the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee. I made the motion to send it to the floor with a 'do pass' recommendation and asked for a roll call vote.
I just learned that the Governor wants to increase Idahoans’ fuel tax. Are you kidding me, Governor? We have a surplus from all this federal stimulus, and he wants to increase taxes. I believe most of the House is on board with killing this movement.
House Bill 96 just passed the body and will now go to the Senate. I have always thought it is unproductive to take someone’s driver’s license away who is delinquent on child support payments. They need a car to get to work, in order to pay the child support. This bill allows for temporary permits to travel to work. Leave it to government to fix a problem that they created, but at least we are going to allow these individuals to be able to get to work now!
I know we are still experiencing difficult times. I am here for you. That is my only interest in holding this position, despite my imperfections and weaknesses. I am not here to do anyone’s will, but yours. Leadership and my colleagues know this about me. I am unwavering in protecting your God-given rights. That will never diminish.
God bless, Representative Chad Christensen