From the May 2000 Idaho Observer:

The bills are in: Idahoans are being betrayed by their legislators

TUFF's summary of critical legislation from the 2000 session

Taxpayers United for Freedom (TUFF) feels that voters should know how their legislators have voted on vitally important issues. We believe that legislation which increases the tax burden, authorizes more government control over the peaceful affairs of the people, interferes with personal choice in health related or family issues is bad legislation which should not be enacted. We also advocate a return to a representative form of government. A true representative form of government places severe limits on the actions of legislators. Powers which the people do not have can not be delegated to elected officials. Therefore, acts which are immoral or unjust for individuals are automatically immoral and unjust for government. The voting records of legislators is conclusive proof that this concept of “representative” government is not understood. Many legislators seem to believe that election to the State Legislature is tantamount to being dispatched to Boise on a mission to make war on the rights of the people.

by Bill Denman


This bill amends several Idaho Codes. Some of the amendments are good but others are bad and the bad outweigh the good by a considerable extent. Idaho Code 63-2416 has been amended to delete the requirement for a “floor stocks tax” and this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Idaho Code 63-2442A was already a bad law before it was amended by this legislation and the amendment simply makes things worse by expanding the blank check already given to the federal government. This amendment changes the word “states” to “jurisdiction,” thus opening the door for more internationalism at the state level because, in this instance, “jurisdiction” includes a foreign country. The following is a verbatim quote from the bill: (strike-outs are words that have been deleted and bold underlined is added words; “commission” refers to the State Tax Commission)

“INTERNATIONAL FUEL TAX AGREEMENT AND OTHER AGREEMENTS BETWEEN STATES JURISDICTIONS. (1) The commission may enter into cooperative agreements with other states jurisdictions for exchange of information and auditing of distributors, dealers and users of motor fuels. The commission shall participate in the international fuel tax agreement as required by the intermodal surface transportation efficiency act of 1991, Public Law 102-240, 105 stat 1914, including subsequent amendments to that agreement.”

The clause “including subsequent amendments to that agreement” pre-approves (a blank check) anything the federal government does in the future. Changing the word “states” to “jurisdictions” expands tax distributions to include Canada, at present. However, under the blank check mentioned above, the federal government could define Mexico or South America as “jurisdictions” and pre-approval is already written into this law. This is simply another step down the road to more internationalism and less local control over the destinies of Idaho citizens. This bill should have been amended to delete the requirement for State Tax Commission participation in the federal “intermodal surface transportation efficiency act”. Of course we made the mistake of accepting federal highway funds and that is a club over our heads.

A NO vote would have been correct on this bill.


Limits the liability of employers for acts committed by former and current employees who commit libelous acts while “off duty.” It's sad that our legal system has degenerated to the point where a bill such as this is necessary but since that is so, this bill is a step in the right direction.

A YES vote on this bill is correct.


Amends Idaho Code 22 - 2718 to establish an “Idaho OnePlan” which will be a computer-based natural resources planning tool. This is a planning process for “all natural resource concerns” to be accomplished “through an executive group and steering committee both containing private, state and federal representation.”

Subsection (4) of this Idaho Code already contained a provision “To secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States and any of its agencies, and of the agencies of this state, ... ” before this Idaho Code was amended. Subsection (6) was added by this legislation and, in part, says:

“... The information provided by those using the “Idaho OnePlan” shall be deemed to be trade secrets, production records or other proprietary information and shall be kept confidential and shall be exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 9-340D, Idaho Code.” Obviously those who work with this information will know these “trade secrets ... and other proprietary information.”

Will it be possible to track down “leaks” to unauthorized entities? This simply adds another layer of bureaucracy for people to deal with in the management of private property. The initiator of this bill (Executive Director of the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts) claims there will be no additional cost. It will obviously take time and effort to gather the data and input into a computer and anyone who follows state legislative affairs knows that the tendency of these kinds of programs is to grow and become an even greater burden on the taxpayer.

A NO vote on this bill is correct


This bill opens the door to more international control of local affairs. Our elected officials seem very anxious to turn local affairs over to unelected foreign bureaucrats. This bill amends Idaho Code 39-4107 to provide that, “Upon publication of the latest edition of the building code by the International Code Council, the board shall initiate the process of developing legislation to provide for its adoption under section 39-4109, Idaho Code ....”

What control do the people of Idaho have over the “International Code Council?”

A NO vote on this bill is correct


This bill changes “department of law enforcement” to “Idaho State Police” and defines the “jurisdiction” of the director of the Idaho State Police. The amendments reinforce existing legislation (Idaho Code 67-2901) which delegate police powers that can lead to a dangerous police state over which the people have no control. This is a violation of the declaration of rights enumerated in Article 1, §2 of the Idaho Constitution which says:

“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary; ... ” (Underlining added for emphasis) 67-2901(5) contains wording as follows: “The Idaho state police shall have power to:

“Enforce all of the penal and regulatory laws of the state, to preserve order, and exercise any and all powers, duties and authority of any sheriff or other peace officer anywhere in the state of Idaho, in the same manner and with like authority as the sheriffs of the counties; ...”

If a sheriff abuses his power, the people can recall him or elect someone else at the next election. Voters have no control over state police who do not have to get approval from the people at election time, as sheriffs do. Their authority comes from legislation and it's noteworthy that the amended codes were submitted by the Director of the Department of Law Enforcement. Only two people in the entire State Legislature voted against HB 660. Instead of amending a bad law to make it worse, the legislature should have repealed it.

A NO vote on this bill is correct.


Amends Idaho Code 18-604 to define “informed consent”as “a voluntary and knowing decision to undergo a specific procedure or treatment. ... ” and adds a new section (18-609A) which requires written parental consent for an abortion to be performed on a minor. Although this bill authorizes minors to apply for approval of an abortion by a District Court Judge, thus bypassing parents, it will allow more parents to be involved in decisions concerning their children and therefore is a step in the right direction. This bill is very similar to a 1998 bill (HB 610) which passed both houses and was vetoed by the governor.

A YES vote on this bill is correct.


This bill adds “infraction penalties” to those listed in Idaho Codes titled “Ordinances -- Penalties” (31-714) and “Promotion of General Welfare -- Prescribing Penalties” (50-302). This means that parking tickets, violations of P & Z or other ordinances, can now be processed as “infractions” instead of misdemeanors. Misdemeanors, where simple fines and pleas of “guilty” are involved, can be handled by the clerk of the court without appearance before a judge. In more serious misdemeanors, the defendant may appear before a judge and is entitled to a jury trial, if requested. If the violation is handled as an infraction, appearance before a judge is required and there is no right to trial by jury. This is a dangerous violation of Article 3, Section 2, paragraph (3) of the United States Constitution, which says:

“The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crime shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the congress may by law have directed.” (Emphasis added)

The excuse for this violation will undoubtedly be that in today's world it would be virtually impossible to have jury trials for all crimes -- there simply wouldn't be enough time. The answer to this excuse is that we have far too many laws on the books and many, if not most, should be repealed, not expanded. Instead, we are adding to the problem by passing hundreds of new and amended laws every session of the State Legislature (Representative John Campbell cast the only NO vote on this bill in the entire State Legislature).

A NO vote on this bill is correct.


This is new legislation which expands the authority of the director of the Idaho Department of Agriculture. This will cost taxpayers far more than the estimated $263,000 increase in the department budget. The requirement for compliance with standards and specifications formulated by the “natural resource conservation service or the American society of agricultural engineers” will add to the cost of processing beef cattle and this cost will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

Again, the State Legislature is abandoning its responsibility to protect the people of Idaho by turning over control to federal bureaucrats. In the added Section 22-4902, paragraph (2), we find this statement: “Further ... It is therefore the intent of the legislature that the administration of this law by the [Idaho] department of agriculture fully meets the goals and requirements [present & future?] of the federal clean water act and state laws designed to further protect state water and that administration of this act by the department of agriculture shall not be more stringent than or broader in scope than the requirements of the clean water act and applicable state and federal laws.” (Parenthetic words added) Furthermore, we find the following statement in paragraph (3): “Successful implementation of this act is dependent upon ... the department executing a memorandum of agreement with the United States environmental protection agency, the division of environmental quality and the Idaho cattle association ...” Obviously, legislators added a carrot for cattlemen to minimize opposition. If there is disagreement between the cattlemen and the two government agencies, who do you think will prevail? Could this be what is sometimes referred to as a stacked deck?

A NO vote on this bill is correct.


This law creates a Department of Environmental Quality and a Board of Environmental Quality separate from the Department of Health and Welfare. Just what taxpayers need, additional bureaucratic agencies to support.

Idaho Code 39-105 says: “The director, when so designated by the governor, shall have the power to apply for, receive on behalf of the state, and utilize any federal aid, grants, gifts, gratuities, or moneys made available through the federal government including but not limited to, the federal water pollution control act, for use by the state of Idaho in relation to health and environmental protection.”

Where does the governor get the authority to delegate revenue raising power to a bureaucratic department head?

This bill continues the unconstitutional practice of delegating fiscal responsibility to unelected bureaucratic agencies. The division of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government in Idaho is very similar to that of the federal government. Article 3, Section 14 of the Idaho State Constitution says: “... bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives.” Article 2, Section 1 says: “... no person or collection of persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments (legislative, executive or judicial) shall exercise any powers properly belonging to either of the others, except as in the constitution expressly directed or permitted.” (Parenthetic words added)

Why is the legislature abandoning its Constitutional responsibility for “raising revenue” by delegating it to a bureaucracy?

When federal aid, grants and other federal monies are accepted by the state Department of Environmental Quality, who will be running that department? We all know the answer to that question.

A NO vote on this bill is correct.

The TUFF Report Card shows the voting record of North Idaho State Legislators on 9 important bills passed during the 2000 session of the Idaho Legislature. Summaries of bills passed and the voting records of legislators during the '97, '98 and '99 sessions can be obtained by sending one dollar to cover the cost of printing and mailing to:

Taxpayers United For Freedom, P.O. Box 876, Sagle ID 83860.

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