Is there anything Fred Wood’s committee won’t pass?

Dustin Hurst Articles

Courage, apparently, is passing every government regulation that finds its way to the Statehouse in Boise.

Or, at least it is in Rep. Fred Wood’s House Health and Welfare Committee.

This panel might rank as the worst of the 2015 session, and even many prior sessions, too. After watching lawmakers approve yet more government regulations Thursday, I was left with only one question.

Is there anything this group won’t pass?

If Democratic Minority Leader John Rusche wanted to bring single-payer health care to Idaho, this might by the year to try. I’m nearly certain Wood would give it a hearing and the plan would at least clear the committee.

What else could they approve? Bans on sugary sodas? Higher taxes for cigarette smokers? Mandates for Idahoans to adhere to Michelle Obama’s diet plans?

Maybe I should stop before Wood, Christy Perry or Kelley Packer get any ideas.

The big government plans that have come through this committee: regulations for sign language interpreters, genetic counselors, naturopaths, a ban on youth tanning regardless of parental consent and a bill regulating Idahoans who sell their homemade goods at bake sales and farmers markets.

Each one passed in the name of public safety and consumer protection. Plus, several times lawmakers lauded those supporting new license rules for asking for more government red tape.

Remember, though, these are the folks who trumpet small government principles on the campaign trail.

Take a look, for example, at Packer’s re-election announcement from last year.

“I am committed to working for economic development and job growth, limited government, fair tax policies, responsible government spending, quality education, and solid health care policies,” she announced.

Oh.

Perry, too, has at least superficially espoused limited government principle. “Do you believe in limited government, or do you not?” Perry asked on the House floor last year during debate on a particularly onerous bill.

So, do you believe in limited government, or do you not? This panel, Packer and Perry included, clearly does not.

Wood went so far Thursday as to applaud Rep. Eric Redman, R-Athol, for abandoning his conservative principles to support most of the new government rules. Wood even called Redman “the most courageous” member of the committee.

Oh.

Courage, folks, is not bowing to every industry insider group that wants special perks from the government. It’s not stunting Idahoans’ economic growth by forcing new mandates and rules on them. It’s not crippling parents’ rights and making government a voice in family decisions.

Courage is empowering people to choose, bolstering family rights and giving a voice to people, not industry insiders, in the Idaho Capitol.