Idaho voters thought it wise to place the legislative authority for administrative rule-making review into the Idaho Constitution this last November (HJR5). Now we are seeing the arrogance and hubris of the legislature in action. The recent rejection of some of the Education Standards by the House Education committee is using this authority to bypass the legislative process.
This decision to reject some rules was based solely on the whim and preference of some committee members. The newly passed Article III Section 29 of the Idaho Constitution reads in part: The legislature may review any administrative rule to ensure it is consistent with the legislative intent of the statute that the rule was written to interpret, prescribe, implement or enforce.
Show me the statute or legislative intent that declares it is not appropriate to teach global warming in Idaho classrooms or have such expectations for standards. Please point out the law; I can’t find it. If the legislature wants to pass such a law, they are free to. They have passed laws to require the daily reading of scripture in the classroom (33-1604); a prohibition of consideration of global warming shouldn’t be so tough. But instead of writing a law, voting on it and getting it into statute, they have bypassed the policy making process the Constitution gives them and injected policy by rejecting an administrative rule. They broke the law and ignored the Idaho Constitution and violated the principle of the separation of powers. But who will hold them accountable to this? Would our executive, Governor Otter defend the principle of our government? Will we the people? Will the voters who elected these legislators be offended by this violation? There are too many legislators in our Capitol with a conscience to let this transgression go by with a shrug.
The legislature has clearly violated the Idaho Constitution, both Article II Section 1 and the newly passed Article III Section 29. My complaint has nothing to do with how or whether I perceive the planet to be changing. I object to the arrogant disregard for the process, the rule of law.
Arrogance is a trait that needs constant vigilance to check. But arrogance is just offensive and rude, not illegal. This act was illegal. The legislature is empowered to make laws but we are all obligated to uphold the laws. If the legislature chooses not to follow sworn oaths and disregard the very laws they have written and instead act on whim, our tenuous faith in government is in jeopardy. What next?