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Sen. Jim Guthrie Thinks He’s a Dictator

Sen. Jim Guthrie Thinks He’s a Dictator

Ronald M. Nate, Ph.D.
March 25, 2024

Idaho’s Legislature is a representative government — or so we thought. Instead of 105 legislators casting their votes on the hundreds of proposed law changes, bills often live or die at the whim of a single, stubborn, committee chair. 

This session, Sen. Jim Guthrie has taken it upon himself to be the self-appointed killer of conservative bills in the Idaho Senate. He regularly abuses his authority by locking up bills in his drawer, using them for leverage, and/or refusing to allow any debate or votes on issues he doesn’t like.  

This is wrong, and it violates the duties of a chairman as outlined in the rules of parliamentary procedure adopted by the Senate (Mason’s). Those rules hold that the chair should facilitate the work of the committee by setting the agenda and conducting committee hearings. Guthrie’s actions are not facilitating the work — they are preventing the work. Those bills belong to the committee for consideration, not to the chair.  

Do you want to eliminate spending millions of dollars on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our universities? Guthrie says, no, it must stay. Would you like to see a committee conduct hearings and interview officials on Idaho’s COVID lockdowns and mandates? Again, Guthrie says, no, we won’t allow transparency on those issues. Do you want Idaho to prohibit requiring public employees to use certain pronouns? Guthrie will have none of it.

To get an idea of just how Guthrie’s drawer has become a yawning abyss, here are just a few of the bills disappearing into nothingness:

  • H421 - Gender definitions and rules 
  • H493 - A prohibition on government mask mandates
  • H497 - Limiting elected officials to one office at a time
  • H538 - Prohibition on compelling speech of employees regarding pronouns
  • H584 - Removes Idaho from daylight savings time  
  • H599 - Prohibits excessive ballot harvesting
  • H669 - Prohibits discrimination based on ESG in financial services, 
  • HCR26 - Initiates an investigation into U of I’s purchase of the University of Phoenix
  • S1227 - Protecting patient rights
  • S1228 - Protects the right to concealed carry firearms on college campuses
  • S1229 - Protects all unborn babies from abortion
  • S1240 - Militias’ right to public marches is protected
  • S1304 - Requires school boards and councils to allow sufficient public testimony
  • S1357 - Cancels funding for any diversity, equity, and inclusion offices in Idaho universities
  • SCR110 - Assembles a committee to review Idaho’s COVID lockdowns and mandates
  • HCR35 - Declares a month to honor Idaho’s traditional families

You may agree or disagree with some of the bills listed here, but the problem is this one senator has taken it upon himself — to the exclusion of 104 elected legislators and our governor — to decide these important issues once and for all. This is not how representative government is supposed to work.  

The Idaho Freedom Foundation encourages Sen. Guthrie to find the key to his drawer, release all of the bills, and allow the committee and the Legislature to do their work in representing all the views of Idahoans from all parts of the state. The Senate leader, Sen. Chuck Winder, should use his authority to tell Guthrie to hear the bills or be removed from his chair. This is serious business and all the senators should be ashamed of how this game is being played.  

If there is no accountability, then there is abuse. It must end. Call your senators to get Guthrie and Winder to do the right thing: end Guthrie’s dictatorship.

Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
COPYRIGHT © 2024 Idaho freedom Foundation
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