March Madness tipped off today. But you wouldn’t have known it at the Capitol. Under the dome, political pandering to the far-right made it feel more like March Sadness. Here’s a rundown.
8:00 a.m. — Public lands: House State Affairs introduced the third anti-public lands bill from Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) this year. This one asks Congress to hand over 200,000-acre parcels of public land to the whims of extractive industries. It passed on party lines.
8:16 a.m. — Permit-less concealed weapons: The House State Affairs Committee then voted on party lines to allow concealed carry of deadly weapons in towns and cities without any training.
9:00 a.m. — Bibles in schools: Less than one day after the Attorney General said the Bibles-in-Schools bill was “specifically prohibited” by the Idaho Constitution, the House Education Committee passed it on party lines.
10:02 a.m — Abortion: The Senate passed a bill on party lines that directs the State Department of Health to provide a list of clinics that provide free ultrasounds to any women seeking an abortion. Sadly, the bill doesn’t specify that those clinics must provide accurate information or adequately trained staff.
10:12 a.m. — Anti-Sharia law: Even though Sharia law is only encroaching into the minds of the paranoid and deranged, the House State Affairs Committee chose to waste time on Rep. Eric Redman’s (R-Athol) bill anyway. It was sent to the amending order, where Democrats hope it will die and Republicans want it amended. The bottom line is it’s not dead.
1:27 p.m. — Anti-worker: A Senate Commerce Committee voted 5-4 to recommend a bill that forces ex-employees who sign non-compete agreements to prove they haven’t harmed their previous employer’s business after they take another job. The AG said forcing a former employee to prove a negative is, “Extremely difficult, if not impossible.” It didn’t matter.
1:47 p.m. Public Lands II: Not done with her assault on public lands, Rep. Boyle then ushered an anti-public lands bill through the House on a party-line vote even though it’s based on a premise that “has no support in the law,” according to the Attorney General’s office.
2:30 p.m. Assault on our schools: For almost an hour, Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) pitched the Joint Education Committee his idea of funneling public money into private and church schools.
All this happened in just one day.
That’s not good. That’s March Sadness.