Boos to 11 of the Idaho House Democrats for their votes to accept the Senate Amendments to H0096 and raise the fuel tax 6 cents a gallon. If you’ll remember, a couple weeks before, the entire Democratic Caucus voted against two cents a gallon increase because it would put too much burden on Idaho families. So let me get this straight, a two cent increase is too much, but a six cent increase is just right? Is it too much to ask for legislators to be consistent.
Cheers to the Five Treasury Valley Democrats who cast logically consistent votes. My Representatives, Durst and King both voted against the increase as did District 17 Representatives Bill Killen and Sue Chew, while Freshman Brian Cronin chose logic unlike his more senior colleague. In District 16, both Democrats voted for the tax increase.
Boos to the Idaho Democrats for holding their second closed caucus of the year. Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-19) explains part of the reason and suggests that Dan Popkey could learn a lesson or two on proper reporter procedure from Jean-Luc Picard:
Of course this open caucus thing got a bit out of control this year. In the House, Dan Popkey, whom I like, apparently sat in on an open Democratic strategy discussion and then went off and asked a Republican chair woman what she thought of the strategy before the strategy could be put to use. Call me wierd but when I was a reporter I think I did see myself a bit like the starship Enterprise exploring the galaxy under the prime directive. Report but don’t interfere or do anything that would change the outcome of the news.
Well, as it’s a totally open caucus. In theory, I could also sit down, listen in and report what happened in the Caucus to Speaker Denney. Or am I considered one of the crew of Dan Popkey’s starship?
My stance is that Caucuses ought to be closed. They represent internal strategy sessions. What the Democrats have done is make a big deal about having open caucuses and then begun to back off in a way that’s pretentious and hypocritical. The issue means nada to the average Idahoan and it’s time for Dems to stop the sanctimony.
Boos to Rep. Tom Trail (R-6) for writing regarding reforming and consolidating election laws:
The election reform measure which would have limited most Idaho elections to two days a year, in May and November down from four dates now, has re-emerged as a bargaining chip. The new bill proposes giving $3 million to cities and counties to pay their share of new costs. The new bill would come up with the needed funds. Frankly, I think this bill can wait.
Tom Trail’s motto, “Citizen involvement can wait.”
Boos to Governor Butch Otter (R-Id.) for deploying Bruce Newcombe to help with his tax increase effort. Dan Popkeyw writes:
House Assistant Republican Leader Scott Bedke said Newcomb’s approach was a gentle reminder that Otter is the GOP standard bearer and deserves a break. “Mostly, it was ‘He’s your friend; call him,’ ” Bedke said.
Yep, it’s the good old boys watching out for each other.
The “He’s your friend” thing is bizarre. The tantrum of 35 vetoes was not a “friendly action” and you can bet bottom dollar that many Republicans are going to face primary challenges from Otter allies even if Otter doesn’t make a public show of challenging them. (I speak as someone who received a call from Idaho’s First lady urging me to vote for Gail Hartnett.)
As for Newcombe, it’s his good old boy status that even allows him to continue to have a place in state GOP politics. He intentionally tried to sabotage the Republican Candidate for Congress in 2006, but you get away with that if you’re a good old boy. Ironically, the same people who will be all cuddly with Newcombe will have a problem with Rex Rammell because of his Senate challenge to Jim Risch. Though, the main difference I see between what Rammell did and what Newcombe did is that Rammell was at least honest about it.
Three Cheers to the State House: The following Tweet was sent out last night by Wayne Hoffman:
idaho gas tax rally monday called off; organizers told tax plan is dead
Our representatives heard us.