Nampa franchise fee challenged as impermissible hidden tax

        NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2014 Information Contact: Geoffrey Talmon (208) 258-2280 ext. 213 Nampa franchise fee challenged as impermissible hidden tax On Monday Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Center for Defense of Liberty (CDoL), in conjunction with Runft & Steele law offices, Boise, filed a notice of tort claim against the city of Nampa. The notice informed the city that CDoL believes that the “franchise fees” that it collects in connection with solid waste services constitute an impermissible hidden tax. The city estimates it will collect $1.2 million in franchise fees. According to CDoL, that sum of
Read More

Media largely silent on BSU speech policy revisions

With the news media largely operating with smaller staffs these days, it’s understandable why certain issues and topics are not covered in depth. As a former reporter and a former employee at a news station in this valley, I can say firsthand that media tend to reach for low-hanging fruit these days. There often is not enough time to climb to the top of the tree to see what’s out there. But if there is an issue that should capture the media’s attention, it is the First Amendment. That amendment is the lifeblood for a free press. Which brings me
Read More

Transparency in public records surest way to build confidence in government

Over the years, the public’s expectations for government transparency and openness have increased while Idaho’s public records law has not kept up. It used to be that a government was considered sufficiently transparent if you could walk into your local city hall and look at the budget and city council meeting minutes, for example. It was considered transparent if you could request a record and receive a response in three working days, as is required under Idaho’s statute. Today, people expect more. The city that merely provides paper copies of information on demand is considered opaque in its interactions with
Read More

The state should be given the opportunity to see how it manages federal forest land

Back in the 1970s the “Sagebrush Rebellion” erupted in the West, with rural residents pushing back against federal restrictions on grazing, forestry, mining and recreational use of federal lands. The issues have never gone away, but a case can be made that the federal government is slowly winning the war with a variety of tactics including veiled threats, grazing restrictions, logging reductions, an arduous permitting process for resource development and the use of the Endangered Species Act to stop traditional land use. Members of the environmental community are now attempting to throw cold water on the notion that the federal
Read More

Boise State to revise speech and event policies

In July I blogged on multiple occasions about the First Amendment issues that Young Americans for Liberty at Boise State University (“YAL”) faced when it brought Dick Heller to campus to talk about his landmark Second Amendment case. I also blogged about our letter to the university expressing our concern about certain Boise State policies and the chilling effect that those policies could have on speech on campus. I am very happy that after discussions with the university, Boise State is voluntarily suspending a number of its policies regarding speech and events on campus, and has also committed to working
Read More