The Idaho legislature has its seasons. Old hands know this, and young bucks and does have figured it out too. You, the interested public should also know it.
I don’t communicate this like I’m a wise old sage. Many are far wiser and have seen more seasons than me. But we should get this out there so we can all have a sense of what’s going on.
When I went hunting with my daughter this fall, she commented on how she’d heard rifle shots in her drainage. She was worried the elk had been spooked. “They don’t pay much attention to shots. They move when an animal falls.”
Here in the early season of the Idaho legislature we are hearing the shots.
The “antiwoke” bill proposed to change all the words in Idaho code that said “fetus” would be changed to “preborn child” got introduced for us all to be shocked and appalled. Then, the sponsor said it would go no further. It will be held in committee at her request.
Maybe the sponsor was shooting at something. Maybe she was just letting her fellow hunters know where she was. She didn’t harvest. Harvesting comes later in the season. These early weeks of the legislature are for location shots, not harvesting.
Similarly, we have the long, complicated bill from Representative Redman that would essentially repeal Medicaid Expansion. It has so many clauses, it makes my head spin. Don’t try to read it. It’s not worth your time. It proposes so many restrictions that it would accomplish repeal of the Medicaid Expansion that 63% of Idahoans favored in an initiative vote. Why is he so out of tune? These early season shots are important to let the rest of us know just who we are hunting with.
You see, our elected representatives are not our hunting camp buddies.
It was always fun to come back to camp and hear what the others had seen, build up the fire, eat the food.
You have to understand that our elected representatives aren’t sitting around the fire with you. They are in their own camp.
In my fifth year of Idaho State Senate service, I went to a presentation from the local Soil Conservation Districts. Their goal was to inform state legislators about the work they did. A colleague from north of me commented to the presenters about how, when he discussed this with constituents, he didn’t think this was a reasonable use of tax dollars. I asked him over lunch just which constituents expressed these ideas. “I just meet with my Republican Central Committee.”
These early shots reflect what they are talking about around their campfires, not ours.
Little will be harvested. But it’s something to brag about back in camp. But maybe someday they will harvest.
The middle season of the Idaho legislature is when the menial work is done. Simple budgets get passed; repair bills fix up the sloppy bills from years before. There are always the lingering hot button bills that are held late to consume some drama. Abortion, libraries, pornography, some other issue might fill this middle season when we should have harvested much earlier.
But the harvest is always late since Speaker Moyle has risen to power.
These early bills might garner support back in the Central Committee meetings, whether they pass or fail. But the real juice comes at the end.
And then, at the end of the long hunt, there’s little time to direct the shot.
These last two sessions have seen tax bills proposed in the last week, rammed through committee, transferred long past the deadline for such, and approved. The hero took the final shot and dropped the harvest.
Are we so eager for meat? We should want more.