Statist of the Week: Sen. Chuck Winder

May 10, 2021

It’s time once again for our Statist of the Week. 

Picture it: It’s the 115th day of the Idaho Legislature, on track to being the longest legislative session in the state’s history. Everyone wants to wrap things up and get these lawmakers out of town, but there are important matters at hand. 

For example, businesses are having trouble hiring people because the government makes it too easy to collect unemployment checks rather than go look for work. Revenues are down. Hours are shortening. Services are being reduced. Businesses are closing. People are struggling, all due to a crisis manufactured by state and federal governments 

So what is the state Legislature doing? Why it’s leaping into action … by introducing legislation to prohibit the advertisement of Schedule I drugs like marijuana, hemp, and CBD oil.

You heard me correctly. The Legislature is focused like Captain Ahab hunting Moby Dick on what is clearly the most important issue of the day. 

Who was behind this initiative? Sen. C. Scott Grow was the lead sponsor. He enlisted the support of Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, the chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, which is the leadership committee of the state Senate. And the real person in charge of that committee, and the state Senate, is Chuck Winder, the Senate pro tem. 

Winder’s Senate allowed for Grow’s anti-advertising bill to be rushed into existence. The bill was introduced, debated in committee, and received an affirmative vote on the floor of the Senate in the span of less than 24 hours. To be clear, this bill would have limited a constitutionally protected right of free speech. That’s a significant thing, yet Winder allowed this fiasco to go on. 

In other words, billboards on the freeway between Boise and Ontario,  Moscow and Pullman, or Post Falls and Spokane represented the most concerning thing to the state Senate.

Now again, I raise the issue of businesses struggling with hiring employees. That is a real problem. It’s a recent and growing problem, one caused by the government. That is a real, legitimate issue that the Legislature and the governor should rush to tackle. The state government should make it more difficult for Idahoans to collect unemployment when jobs are so plentiful. And were a bill to arrive in the Senate at the last minute to deal with this issue, that would be perfectly respectable and responsible.

But a bill on the advertising of legal products? Is that really what the state Senate should focus its attention on? What next? A bill to ban casinos from advertising in Idaho? 

This type of misdirected attention, sadly, is par for the course in the state Senate. 

Keep in mind, the chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Fred Martin, recently said it’s too late to consider the House’s bill to ban mask mandates. But in the Senate, committees are only shut down for some bills. That’s a problem that comes from the top, the office of the Senate pro tem.  

One could easily give Sens. Grow and Lodge the nod for big time promotion of statism. But the person who allowed this fiasco to go on, who allows the double standard to exist, who deserves all of the accolades for it, is Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder.

He is this week’s Statist of the Week! Good job, Chuck. We knew you had it in you. Why? Because, after all, Winder’s Idaho Freedom Index score is 44 percent, which means his voting record is just almost exactly the same as liberal Boise Democrat Janie Ward Engelking. He’s the one who could be leading with solutions to help businesses, not leading with new legislation to hurt them. 
Chuck Winder, Statist of the Week. Congrats. Who will be next week’s winner? Drop me a line, [email protected]. Be sure to also hit the like button, subscribe to this channel, be sure you are receiving notifications, share this with your friends, and we will talk to you again next time.

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