Idaho’s Legislature continues path in the right direction

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For the past 25 years, I’ve had a front-row seat to the Republican-controlled state Legislature’s propensity to grow government. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the policies that require state and local politicians and bureaucrats to have more control over Idahoans’ lives. Happily, the 2018 legislative session broke the trend, with lawmakers passing and the governor signing into …

Legislature’s inaction on agency regs may be its greatest accomplishment

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The most monumental thing the 2019 Idaho Legislature did is what it didn’t do: The Legislature didn’t reauthorize thousands of pages of agency regulations. Those regulations, euphemistically called administrative rules, will expire this summer. The regulations cover every aspect of Idaho life, from public education to professional licenses. There’s a rule for just about everything, and those rules have the …

Idaho hemp legislation is a step backward

Wayne Hoffman Articles

Last year President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law. That Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp. With that, I only imagined our state politicians would loosen Idaho’s stringent anti-cannabis laws. When it comes to politicians, I need to learn to be more imaginative. A few weeks ago, the Idaho House overwhelmingly passed a bill …

Legislature gives voters a say on stadium proposals

Wayne Hoffman Articles

One of the biggest con jobs in all of government is “urban renewal.” The pleasant-sounding name obscures reality. Urban renewal is less about renewing urban areas and more about finding clever ways to fund big projects and to subsidize developers without drawing the attention, or having to get the permission of voters. House Bill 217 is one of the most …

Office space spending far more “absurd” than Medicaid work requirements

Wayne Hoffman Articles

Opponents of work requirements for Medicaid-expansion recipients claim it will cost millions of dollars to implement such a requirement. However, it is unlikely the cost would reach that high. Idaho already requires food stamp recipients to work. Applying the existing food stamp bureaucracy to those on Medicaid shouldn’t cost all that much. But let us suppose opponents’ upper-end estimates are …

School “turnaround” legislation would reward failing schools

Wayne Hoffman Articles

Public schools should be held accountable for failure. Instead, Idaho lawmakers are considering a bill that would reward schools and their employees for underperformance. It’s all part of the so-called School Turnaround Act, which passed the Senate 22-11 a month ago and is headed to the House floor for a vote. The measure is supposed to mirror model legislation from …