After a two-week recess, the Legislative Session resumed on Tuesday. On Friday, two important bills passed the Senate. The first was SB 1136, which clarifies and limits the Governor's power during situations of extreme emergency. It passed the Senate 28-7.
The second bill was HB 135, which passed the Senate 25-10. This bill is intended to protect the separation and balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches and to protect the rights of peaceable assembly and free exercise of religion during a declared emergency.
Unfortunately, a recent Senate amendment weakened the provision protecting small businesses and the right of Idahoans to work. This is still a positive bill, but we must do more to limit the power of government even during times of emergency.
Education Task Force
This week, I was excited to announce that I am assembling a task force to examine indoctrination in Idaho education and to protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism, and Marxism.
As I have traveled around the state and spoken with constituents and parents, it has become clear to me that this is one of the most significant threats facing our society today. We must find where these insidious theories and philosophies are lurking and excise them from our education system. Idahoans are increasingly frustrated by the apparent lack of awareness and leadership coming from the state on these issues.
Other states are taking action.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently said, "There's no room in our classrooms for things like Critical Race Theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money."
DeSantis pledged that Florida's curriculum will "expressly exclude" the teaching.
North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson has created a bi-partisan task force to address indoctrination in public schools.
In Arkansas, a bill is being considered that would prohibit any Arkansas public school from offering "a course, class, event, or activity within its program of instruction that ... promotes division between, resentment of, or social justice for Race; Gender; Political affiliation; Social class; or Particular class of people."
Where is Idaho in this fight? We need to look at what Florida, Arkansas, and North Carolina are doing to combat these poisonous theories.
You can read the full press release on my Facebook Page at this link.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
This week, Joe Biden announced that he would attempt to use executive power to limit the Second Amendment protections of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In defending his assault on our rights, he said, "No amendment to the Constitution is absolute."
Idahoans must stand united in unyielding opposition to this overt federal tyranny. This requires both legislative and legal action. The Legislature should take up and pass HB 300, the small arms protection act, and Attorney General Wasden should initiate legal action against any federal actions taken to limit the rights of any Idahoan to keep and bear arms.
There is no room for equivocation on the Second Amendment, which is why I will always oppose efforts to infringe on our rights. Biden is wrong. Our rights — as recognized by the Constitution — are indeed absolute!
Biden Targets the Supreme Court
Also this week, Joe Biden announced that he was creating a commission to study adding seats to the Supreme Court, a practice known as "packing the court." The intent would be to allow Biden to appoint several new leftist justices who would control the court's direction for generations to come.
The commission itself is headed by radical leftists, as explained by Fox News contributor and The Hill opinion columnist Joe Concha:
"Let's report the facts here. The co-chairs of this commission, one is Cristina Rodriguez; she was in the Obama Justice Department. Another co-chair is Bob Bauer; he was part of Obama's White House counsel. And that's the Obama-Biden administration, by the way. Also has Laurence Tribe in there. He's on MSNBC a lot yelling about Donald Trump and how he actually has a physical resemblance and mental resemblance to Hitler, while also calling the former president a terrorist..."
The Supreme Court must retain its independence and must not be expanded or controlled through term or age limits. To allow Biden to alter the stricture of the court would be to surrender any pretext of remaining under the Constitutional Republic created by our founders.
On April 7th, Gov. Little issued an Executive Order, which said that no "department, agency, board, commission, or other executive branch entity or official of the State of Idaho" may issue a vaccine passport or require one "as a condition of accessing state services or facilities."
It's good to see this small first step to ban some vaccine passports in Idaho. I called for such action last week. But let's be honest here. Despite the popular media headline that Idaho has banned vaccine passports, a real 'ban' on vaccine passports would apply everywhere, not just for state agencies and departments.
Idahoans should not have to show a vaccine passport to visit city or county offices or courthouses either. Accomplishing this may require legislative action. We cannot stop working on the issue until no Idahoans are required to show proof of vaccination to live their lives or conduct their business in the Gem State.