From the March 2005 Idaho Observer:

DANGER—Your legislature is now in session!

The best way to get a good read on the state of your state’s legislative affairs (which incidentally provides excellent insight into your state’s judicial and executive affairs as well) is to take a look at the bills that get assigned to a committee for discussion and debate. In years past many bills, upon analysis, were dreamed up and drafted to serve specific special-interest purposes. But, for the most part, they had the appearance of being well thought out and respectfully submitted. This year, however, at least in the state of Idaho, the pretense of respect for the process and the people of Idaho have been dropped. Even on bills that will have a major impact on Idahoans’ daily lives, the wording and intent is blatantly unconstitutional, blatantly special-interest serving and obviously constructed like a child’s cut-and-paste project. Further, arguments for some of these bills do not hide the lack of regard (and even contempt) certain legislators and their special-interest friends have for the people and their families. One of the most frustrating aspects of this process of statutory enslavement is how phenomenally ignorant of history, law and due process the majority of our elected representatives really are; most of the people in whom we place trust to represent our interests in government have no idea that they are merely contemporary pawns in a transgenerational chess game intended to declare "checkmate" on civil liberty and private property. Below are just a few examples. Go to any legislative website for the several states and you will find hundreds more like them.

HR 163—Contractor Licensing

Passed 43-27 in House

Passed 23-11 in Senate

Idaho has not had a contractor licensing law since one passed in 1965 and was repealed two years later. This is the ninth legislative attempt to license builders since the 80s. The bill was allegedly introduced to prevent fly-by-night construction contractors from taking advantage of customers and will directly affect nearly 30,000 small builders in Idaho. Many of them will be forced out of business because they will not be able to afford workman’s comp and other insurance and registration fees.

Licensing is the act of obtaining permission from the government to do something that would otherwise be illegal.

In this case, the state license can be revoked if the contractor engages in unethical behavior or does substandard work. Civil remedies for these issues already exist. The law strikes right at the heart of our right to contract—in ways that are going to make this law extremely unenforceable. Our needs would be much better served if a private entity would simply provide a referral service for reputable contractors.

The law will not protect the person who hired a bad contractor since the contractor will just lose his license.

There are a couple of points in this bill that are really absurd.

Paragraph (k) reads as follows:

"An owner who contracts for work to be performed by a registered contractor on his own property, provided however, this exemption shall not apply to an owner who, with the intent to evade this chapter, constructs a building, residence or other improvement on the owner's property with the intention and for the purpose of selling the improved property at any time during the construction or within twelve (12) months of completion of such construction;"

It will now be illegal to prepare a home (yourself or by hiring someone, licensed or otherwise) for resale by painting, replacing carpet and linoleum—in excess of $2,000, unless you intend to wait for one year before you sell.

Under "exemptions," those who are not expected to register or be liable under the provisions of this law include:

"(b) An authorized representative of the United States government, the state of Idaho, or any incorporated municipality, county, alternative form of local government, highway district, reclamation district, or other municipal or political corporation or subdivision of this state;"

HB 163 was endorsed by The Idaho Building Contractors Association and The Idaho Association of Realtors—both of which have a lot to gain from this bill as passed.

SR 104—Executive Sessions

Passed 26-9 in the Senate

As the social and political meltdown of our culture continues, reports of public officials misbehaving become more common and their actions more heinous. The cycle deepens because government courts and legislators have extended immunity to nearly all government employees.

To help prevent the stories of official abuse and misconduct from becoming public record, thus risking justifiable public outrage, the Idaho Senate voted overwhelmingly that formerly public proceedings could go into executive session with a 2/3 vote.

"An executive session may be held:

(a) To consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent. This paragraph does not apply to filling a vacancy in an elective office;

(b) To consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school student;

The list goes on to the letter (i) and includes labor negotiations, custody review, pardons and paroles and sex offender board meetings.

But the point of the bill is not protecting privacy of individuals but to provide government officials the authority to conduct more and more public business behind closed doors.

Ours was intended to be a government of, by and for the people. Such a government should have little reason to conduct public affairs in private. And, the cases of people who violate the public trust, either as public servants or as civilians who damage other civilians or their property, ought to be public and all proceedings associated with the case ought to be public.

The threat of public humiliation is the most powerful deterrent to antisocial behavior there is. It’s called "social control."


SB 1066—Habitual Truant

Passed 34-0 in Senate

Passed 59-9-2 in House

This bill can be called the "Homeschooling parents can go to jail" act of 2005.

The bill defines a "habitual truant" as (b) Any child whose parents or guardians, or any of them, have failed or refused to cause such child to be instructed as provided in Section 32-202 Idaho Code."

Under Section 2, which becomes IC 33-207—PROCEEDINGS AGAINST PARENT OR GUARDIAN, parents and guardians who do not place children between the ages of seven and 16 in school, or fail "to have the child comparably instructed" .... "such parent or guardian shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

If you choose to instruct your child in a manner not comparable to state curriculum, you can be determined to be fostering a habitual truant for which you may be convicted of a criminal offense.

The purpose of most parents’ decision to homeschool is they do not want their children to grow up with an education comparable to one provided by the state. Many, in fact, emphasize skills and values not taught in public schools.

What is not mentioned here is that parents, many of whom would be regarded by normal people as perfectly competent and loving, who find themselves being prosecuted by the state under this law, may lose custody of their children through the state’s child welfare industry.

In recent years there has been an exodus of children out of the public school system. Parents are not happy with the education their children are receiving and not happy with the school environment or the people administrating it (see the TIA article).

Public instruction is big business (over half of most state budgets). With each child comes a value in state and federal dollars attached to their heads for attending classes. Homeschooled children generate no revenue and are harder to "protect" when they are not under the surveillance of social workers at the schools.

For these and other reasons, the state has been attempting to make homeschooling more difficult. The passage of the "habitual truant" law will likely turn out to be an excellent way to get children back into state schools where their heads count for additional state and federal funding.

HR 196

Womens Health Information Act

This bill will not get out of the House committee this year, but, the fact that it was even assigned a number evidences how far our culture has fallen.

This bill recognized that an abortion is an emotionally scarring ordeal and that all women (and girls) seeking an abortion should be provided with educational materials and options to abortion before going through with the procedure.

Underage girls are not required to consult with their parents and facilities performing abortions are not required to contact the parents of their underage "clients."

Furthermore, it appears that qualifying "clients" are eligible for state assistance in paying for abortions and those who perform state-financed abortions are not liable for damages in the absence of negligence or malpractice. Should complications result, the parents will be contacted and expected to pay the costs associated with treatment.

Under the guise of making abortion information available to women (and girls), the state intends to further undermine family.



Lawful vs. Legal Legislation

by Hari Heath

There are laws on the books, and then there are lawful laws. Unfortunately, we have many more of the former than the latter. They are "legal" by the mere fact that they exist in the law books. But, a legislative enactment must have followed a proper chain of requirements beginning with some constitutional authority to be "lawful."

First, the Constitution must authorize the legislature to legislate upon the subject matter. Then, there are many requirements and limitations to the form of the proposed enactment. The legislature also has its own procedures for reviewing the bill, amending it and bringing it to a vote. If passed by both the House and Senate, the governor must sign it or both sides of the legislature must override the governor’s veto with a super-majority vote. Then it has become "lawful."

The legislature, and the hordes of lobbyists which feed them much of the proposed legislation, are very good at the latter parts of the enactment process. But they often disregard the Constitution’s mandates as to the form, subject matter and limitations of legislation. That is why we have so many "legal" laws flooding the law books that are not "lawful."

Consider what many refer to as the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. "

This limits Congress to only enacting legislation on subjects enumerated in the Constitution, or it would if Congress were lawful and held to account, and it leaves the subject matter of other legislation, "reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Read that, some powers are granted to the states, and some are not. The states too are, or should be, limited to the powers delegated to them by the state constitutions.

A logical person must conclude that, since the state Constitution provides many subjects that the legislature can or shall legislate upon, and the Constitution may be amended to include more subjects if needed, those enumerated subjects are the ones to which the legislature is "lawfully" limited. If the legislature was not limited to the enumerated subjects, and was instead able to freely legislate in all cases whatsoever, why does the Constitution bother to enumerate any subjects at all?

But that’s not how things happen in Boise and other state capitols. The legislatures are hell-bent on legislating "in all cases whatsoever." And without an accountable judiciary to bind the legislature to the Constitution, we have become "legally" bound to a plague of "unlawful" enactments.


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