Ferro: Legislature does not deserve additional powers | Chroniclers
This year’s legislature set a new low for legislative conduct. They attacked our schools, took credit bills hostage, and prevented voters from initiating or rescinding bills.
And now they are waiting for voters to approve a constitutional amendment to give them the power to call a session (SJR102).
Have they never heard of karma?
Yes, I am aware that there is a danger in having a responsible person in an emergency. And I know lawmakers from 36 other states can come together. But this power-hungry and immature legislature has proven itself incapable of handling emergencies.
This Parliament has been woefully inefficient. MPs introduced more bills by passing fewer than the previous five sessions. The lack of research or communication before the bills were tabled necessitated dozens of amendments and complete rewritings.
This legislature is not keeping its promises. For years, members have said they will end the sales tax on groceries and do something about high property taxes as soon as they have the money. Well, this year they’ve got the money – and the legislature is pushing for a bill aimed primarily at lowering income taxes for Idaho’s wealthiest.
This legislature acts on emotion and rumor rather than on facts. Lawmakers claim to know of instances where students have been subjected to “critical race” and “social justice” theories, but they do not share any details that would verify the facts. One of the parents who spoke described experiences in a school in California. Idaho school administrators said no one asked what was going on in their districts.
Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation denounced a newsletter for teachers at an unnamed Meridian College: “Color blindness is a myth … We should see the differences that make our students what they are.” and make sure everyone’s experience is famous. âIt doesn’t say anything about indoctrination of students or one race better than another.
This legislature has refused to take seriously a pandemic that once sickened nearly 2,000 Idaho residents a day. They have fought all possible efforts to slow the spread of the disease and have yet to appropriate funds to pay the bills accumulated under the Disaster Care Act. They are still angry that the citizens of Idaho have embraced the Medicaid expansion that has made treatment possible for thousands of Idahoans.
Lawmakers refused to take responsible COVID-19 precautions themselves and then waited – and got – full pay for a two-week break.
This legislature does not care what voters want. A BSU poll showed that only 10.2% of voters thought the signing requirements to get the initiative and the referendums on the ballot were too easy. Still, more than two-thirds of lawmakers have voted to give Idaho the toughest demands in the country.
And, despite Idahoans’ overwhelming support for education, many lawmakers continue to attack public schools. Failure to fund all teachers’ salaries for unsubstantiated allegations that schools indoctrinated students was insulting and can only exacerbate our teacher shortage. Other bills in this session sought to exclude teachers from discussions about wages and working conditions, to allow school districts to issue “local teaching certificates” to college graduates unqualified under the laws. in force, to grant “scholarships” to students switching from public to private in schools and fined schools for not receiving in-person instruction even as the coronavirus continues to strike 200 people a day.
Lawmakers claimed there was not enough time to discuss full-time kindergarten, then introduced tax cuts that will again leave the state with no money. Only seven states have lower tax rates than Idaho; 49 invest more per child in education.
Now, members plan to suspend rather than adjourn – and we’re meant to be grateful for not demanding full pay for another four months.
Judy Ferro, a former teacher, is a former woman on the Canyon County State Committee for Democrats. Email him at [email protected]