Bedke deserves praise for easing access to legislators

Bedke deserves praise for easing access to legislators

by
Wayne Hoffman
February 11, 2014
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
February 11, 2014

One move made by House Speaker Scott Bedke this session deserves praise: Bedke has made it easier for members of the public to visit their legislators. This is a big deal, maybe the biggest deal.

Why?

For the last couple of legislative sessions, House members and their offices have been under lock and key. If you wanted to talk to your state representative, you’d have to have an appointment and get a security guard to unlock the door leading to your legislator’s office. Call it a tragic result of the Statehouse renovation, which provided all legislators with either their own office or a cubicle from which to conduct the people’s business.

This session, Bedke has taken the barriers down just a smidgeon, but enough to be noticeable. Security remains tight, but there really is nothing stopping people from dropping in on the Legislature, looking up their legislator and paying a visit. No doubt Bedke has received some flak from lawmakers who’d rather be left alone, or who are skeptical of public intent. But most legislators I talk to welcome the interaction, without hesitation.

Bedke’s decision to open the House offices is also consistent with the vision of our state Constitution, which gives Idahoans the undeniable right “to instruct their representatives, and to petition the legislature for the redress of grievances.”

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