Last week, the Idaho Press-Tribune in Canyon County endorsed a full repeal of the state’s tax on groceries, a plan the Idaho Freedom Foundation pitched earlier this year.
Now, the Lewiston Morning Tribune just cheered Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman’s call for state lawmakers to add remote testimony capability to the Capitol in Boise.
Here’s the blurb from Marty Trillhaase, the paper’s respected opinion writer:
CHEERS ... to Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman. Why, he wants to know, does Idaho's Legislature insist people from communities such as Moscow, Sandpoint, Rexburg or Pocatello brave the expense and risk of traveling to Boise in the middle of winter just to be heard?
"Yes, people can still call and email lawmakers," Hoffman wrote in a recent column. "But urban Idaho has a disproportionate say in legislative affairs because of proximity. It is important for legislators to be able to hear and see their constituents, to exchange ideas, ask questions, get answers and understand the impact of legislation on real people, real businesses, real communities. That's a flavor that can't be added with an occasional email."
Hoffman's suggestion: Follow the example Washington legislators set by using the Internet to link constituents at community colleges to hearings in Olympia.
Idaho could do the same—possibly by using the Idaho Education Network or by allowing individuals to Skype from home.
"There are 44 counties, 115 school districts, a multitude of digital platforms available to bring the Idaho Legislature home to the people, and the people home to the Legislature," Hoffman writes.