On Wednesday, I issued a press release (available on my Facebook Page at this link) regarding the Task Force to Examine Indoctrination in Idaho Education which was announced earlier this month. The good news is that our task force is moving forward. Rep. Priscilla Giddings has agreed to serve as co-chair, we are interviewing prospective participants, and soliciting public feedback regarding Idahoans' experiences and concerns with this issue.
If you would like to provide feedback, you can do so through my website at this link.
One of the primary efforts of our Task Force will be to heighten awareness about the growing push to indoctrinate our children with the teachings of critical race theory. The Biden Administration has proposed a new rule on inserting critical race theory into k-12 education which includes the false history of the "1619 Project" and the radical anti-Americanism of the scholar Ibram X. Kendi.
The Biden Administration is incentivizing our elementary and secondary school systems to incorporate teaching and learning practices that "take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history." In other words, the Biden Administration wants to perpetuate a false narrative of history in which America is a villain rather than recognizing our historical role as the world leader in improving and advancing the human condition.
We know that critical race theory has burrowed deeply into our institutions of higher education, but we are receiving more and more examples of this kind of indoctrination occurring now in our k-12 public schools as well. Are Idaho's education leaders even aware of the Biden Administration proposed rule and this new onslaught of indoctrination that is at our doorstep?
The purpose of our task force is not to cast suspicion upon or denigrate Idaho's educators. Our purpose is to examine curriculum; listen to parents, students, and teachers; and find ways to ensure that respect for American history and true freedom of speech is being taught in Idaho schools.
Last Friday, April 16, Gov. Little announced that he had vetoed Senate Bill 1136 and that he would veto House Bill 135. These two bills deal with executive power during extreme emergencies and disaster emergencies respectively. Their primary purpose is to guarantee the rights of Idahoans including the right to peaceably assemble and freely exercise one's religion.
When it originally passed the Senate, SB 1136 passed with only democrats in opposition. When it came time to override the veto, however, five Republican Senators voted against the override, which caused the override attempt to fail by just one vote. This means that the next time a governor declares a state of extreme emergency, there will be no limits on how long he can keep Idaho under that declaration. He will be able to suspend laws and rules, confine people in their homes, shutter businesses indefinitely, and infringe on our most fundamental rights. This was the choice the governor and the senate made this week.
The veto of House Bill 135 was successfully overridden by the House, but its chances in the Senate seem dim unless the people of Idaho collaborate to send an overwhelming message to their State Senators to override the veto and not to make the same dangerous mistake they made in failing to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 1136.
The efforts to fix our laws related to emergency declarations must continue until it is unquestionable that the rights of Idahoans may never be suspended — even during times of emergency or during emergency declarations.
Protecting Your Rights
There is some good news to report this week. Senate Bill 1205, which takes some steps to defend the right of Idahoans to keep and bear arms, passed the Senate 28-7 on Tuesday. This bill is based on House Bill 300, sponsored by Sen. Christy Zito, and, although Senate Bill 1205 is not as strong as the original Small Arms Protection Act, we still greatly appreciate all the work Sen. Zito has done to push the Senate to take action to defend your rights.
Defend the Guard
This week I had an interview with PBS regarding the campaign to "Defend the Guard" and "Bring Our Troops Home." This effort — which is occurring at both the state and national level — encourages lawmakers to respect the Constitutional limits on the use of military force.
Article 1, Section 8, Paragraphs 11-12 of the U.S. Constitution says, "The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years."
I believe the Idaho National Guard should not be deployed for overseas combat unless there is a declaration of war from Congress, as required by the U.S. Constitution. This is a matter of respecting the Constitution and defending state sovereignty.
The Biden Administration has announced its intention to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by mid-September, but this is an unnecessary delay from the May 1st deadline that was already established. Moreover, this two-decade old conflict has never been a legally declared war as required by the Constitution, and Congress has now failed to exercise its proper role throughout four administrations with respect to this conflict.
I strongly support our troops. I support their commitment and their heroism. What I do not and cannot support are unconstitutional, undeclared wars that force our troops to fight and die in foreign lands. Congress has a duty and an obligation to decide when war is necessary and when it is not. To abdicate this vital responsibility to the executive branch is dereliction of duty on the part of congress.