Legislative Voting Records
2013 Voting Records read more
2014 Voting Records read more
The 2014 legislative session was productive for the citizens of Idaho and for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. Of the 17 items that Governor Otter highlighted in his Legislative Successes press release, four were in direct response to Idaho Farm Bureau’s policies and others support policy principles of our organization.
On at least two occasions, the Governor has used Idaho Farm Bureau as the example of how organizations and individuals can achieve success by working pro-actively and cooperatively, within the legislative process to identify problems and then develop solutions for those problems.
After a long and arduous path, H597 has finally completed the Legislative process. Who would have thought protecting private property rights would be so difficult? This week the Senate passed H597 on a 28-7 vote along party lines, with the exception of Senator Dan Schmidt (D-Moscow) voted in favor and Senator Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) voted against the measure.
H597 now heads to Governor Otter for his signature. Once it takes effect on July 1, private landowners will be able to offer fee based recreational opportunities on their own property without having to obtain a license from the Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board. Six other western states also do not require an outfitters license when services are provided upon private property, including Oregon.
By all accounts, the events that have lead up to the necessity of HB 571 are difficult to understand and there is blame to be shared on all sides. Without Pioneer Irrigation’s permission and despite judicially established property rights in its canal system, the City of Caldwell in 2006 passed an ordinance requiring adjacent development to discharge storm water into Pioneer Irrigation District’s canals, ditches and drains. Pioneer negotiated with Caldwell for two years to try to bring the city into compliance with Idaho Code 42-1209, accept flood and environmental litigation liability for this urban storm water and indemnify Pioneer to protect it from these risks.
Over the last eight years, very significant attorney costs have been incurred by both parties without resolution. The City of Caldwell has now proposed to condemn using eminent domain, that portion of the irrigation district falling within the city limits.
Norm Semanko of the Idaho Water Users claims that this bill is the most important measure of the session.
One of the most interesting aspects of the legislative session is the process of amending Idaho’s Constitution. These proposals, when made, will be in the form of a House or Senate Joint Resolution.
This standard is set very high, and any proposal that advances must receive a two-thirds (2/3) supporting vote of the membership of each body; does not have to be signed by the Governor, but is required to be voted upon by Idaho citizens in
the next general election. To amend the constitution, it takes a majority of votes in the general election.
Property Rights Bill Advances
This week an Idaho Farm Bureau sponsored bill H468 received a “do pass” recommendation from the House Resources and Conservation Committee. H468 is designed to prohibit the Idaho Outfitters and Guides (O&G) Licensing Board from requiring a license when a private property owner offers recreational opportunities for a fee on his own private land.
What started out in 1951 as authority to regulate the narrow field of those who provided guiding services or saddle horses or pack animals to hunters or fishermen in Idaho’s backcountry, has slowly but steadily morphed into an over-reaching agency. This agency now claims authority to regulate any recreational activity anywhere in Idaho whether it is completely upon private property or not.
This week the House Resources and Conservation Committee approved the Governor’s wolf bill, H470 on a vote of 14 – 4. Those voting against the bill were Reps Mat Erpelding, Donna Pence, Ilana Rubel and Steve Miller. There were more than 50 people who testified, with a pretty even split between those in favor and those opposed. Most opponents attempted to downplay the dramatic increases in the number of wolves and the havoc they have wreaked on our big game herds. They tried to paint the bill as an extermination order, while proponents argued that we would be lucky to maintain current wolf numbers, even with the implementation of H470. Wolves are exceedingly adept at stealth and it is very difficult for hunters and trappers to be successful when pursuing them. H470 simply provides a funding mechanism to pursue other legal, lethal options to maintain and control wolf numbers.
This week a bill to protect private property rights and prevent anti-agriculture activists from interfering with agricultural operations advanced through the Senate Agricultural Affairs committee. S1337 would prohibit anyone from accessing a farmer’s property, his records or taking audio or video recordings on his property without his express consent. It would also criminalize interference or damage to a farming operation or obtaining employment under false pretenses on a farm.
There was considerable debate in committee from both sides of the issue. Most opponents of the measure continued objected that this would allow farmers to “cover up” inappropriate or unsafe practices. Proponents argued that the bill does not prohibit in any way the ability for someone, even an employee, to contact the proper authorities if they believe something unsafe or incorrect is happening.
On February 5th, Representative Lawerence Denney alongside 10 other House members announced at a Press Conference in the Capitol that the National Republican Committee has adopted a resolution in support of western states taking back public lands.
The resolution condemns the 1976 passage of the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) that ended the nearly two hundred year public policy transferring ownership of federally held lands. Idaho is a 62% federally owned and controlled state and is among other concerned western states including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska. There is a significant impact on these states and are financially disparaged by the inability to generate jobs and revenue. Each wait to make good on thefederal government’s promise to receive title to these public lands in the same ways other states in the union traditionally have.