Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: DUI offender seeks sobriety pledges from Idaho lawmakers

A former Las Vegas TV reporter turned anti-drinking crusader received pledges from 13 Idaho lawmakers over the Christmas weekend that they will abstain from drinking during the 2012 session.

Scott Andrus, 50, of Twin Falls, sent the solicitation to
all 105 lawmakers on Dec. 23, receiving 17 responses. Four lawmakers replied with equivocal answers.

Wrote Andrus: "I humbly ask that you pledge that no beverage alcohol will pass your lips during the 2012 legislative session. Please remain sober as you conduct the affairs of state."

Most of the pledges were quite brief, such as that from Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls: "I promise."

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg: "No problem."

And House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Maxine Bell, R-Jerome: "I have never used any form of alcohol and nor do I intend to ever start."

Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, took issue with Andrus' solicitation, saying he'd never seen a drunk lawmaker during the session:

"I am a bit offended by your request to take a 'pledge that no beverage alcohol will pass your (my) lips during the 2012 legislative session.' Personally, I never drink, smoke, use drugs or use any other mind altering drugs. I do not by my own choice, not because someone wants me to take a pledge because I serve as a legislator.

"This question of yours begs the question...do you think that legislators are just a bunch of heavy drinkers who abuse alcohol? The request for a pledge from legislators so indicates such a belief.

"I have served in the legislature for 6 years, and associate with those who drink socially and those who do not drink at all. Not ONE time have I ever seen a legislator drunk during the session. Does it happen during the session? Perhaps, but not to my knowledge, and it it does, it is the exception and not the rule. Even if it does, I pose the question, why do you request a pledge of abstinence when the substance is legal in Idaho and in the United States?'"

In an email today, Andrus defended his objective, saying he was motivated, in part, by what he sees is an overly tolerant attitude by lawmakers toward Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, following his DUI conviction in July.

Andrus has long complained to lawmakers that the court system and Idaho Department of Transportation rely on fees collected from DUI offenders to finance their operations. "Society and politicians pay lip service to DUI, but lawbreakers and their liquor habits pay the bills," he wrote.

Andrus said he was disappointed that the McGee case didn't change attitudes.

"I just knew legislators would perhaps, finally, listen to my thoughts. Instead, EVERYONE I contacted in the legislature complained the senator was treated too harshly and just made a bad mistake. Tell that to the underprivileged who spend 25 days in jail JUST TRYING TO MAKE BAIL.

"I figure if drinking and driving is against the law, then surely Idaho legislators could give up their alcohol use for three months while they make the laws."

He added, " It hardly strikes me as unreasonable to ask that lawmakers remain sober, and free of hangovers, during their privileged time of service to Idahoans. Even at .02 BAC (the amount that lingers in the system after a night of social drinking), a person is slightly impaired the next day. And most of the committee meetings take place ... well, you know ... in the early morning."

Andrus misreads the Legislature's committee schedule. Only seven out of 22 standing committees meet in the morning. Regular sessions of the House and Senate, however, are typically held in the morning. (My thanks to reader Geoff Schroeder for pointing this out. It flew right by me.)

Andrus pleaded guilty in connection with a 2007 DUI arrest in Twin Falls County, spending 18 months on probation, doing 48 hours of community service at the Idaho Youth Ranch and having his license suspended for 90 days. He also did two days in jail and took a 25-hour Court Alcohol School. Andrus says he still attends the classes on his own.

Andrus worked at KSNV-TV in Las Vegas from 1981-95, primarily covering the casino industry. He now does media work and owns commercial real estate in Twin Falls.

Here are the other responses he received:

House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley: "You don't have to worry about that."

Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert: "I typically avoid pledges but in this case I am happy to guarantee that I will not consume any alcoholic beverage."

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls: "Be assured I have been sober – and am at this moment – during my terms as Mayor, County Commissioner and as a legislat(or). However, I do not make a promise such as you ask except to myself and within my faith."

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise: "You've got it. I don't drink."

Rep. Jim Marriott, R-Blackfoot: "I have never touch(ed) alcohol in my life so you don't have to worry."

House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian: "Never have never will."

Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg: "Scott, I appreciate your concern. There are far too many receptions sponsored by big named lobbyists that provide free drinks for those legislators who indulge. I am proud to say that I am one of several who never participate in such activity and try to devote my time and energy into productive legislative issues, rather than social hours. Thanks for writing."

Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier: "I've never consumed even a drop of alcohol and don't plan to start now."

Four lawmakers didn't directly address Andrus' request:

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, simply wrote: "Thank you."

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, promised moderation if not abstinence: "booze makes you gain weight, and I go to the spin class at the Y at 5:00 am so I really watch going to the events and any wine consumption. thanks for the encouragement."

Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, pledged to be sober while making law, but didn't rule out a nitecap: "I will definitely be sober when conducting business in the Legislature."

Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls: "Good to hear from you again, Scott. Merry Christmas!"

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1325019840 Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: DUI offender seeks sobriety pledges from Idaho lawmakers Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I about spewed beer all over

I about spewed beer all over my monitor reading this. Huge laughs!!

Gonna have to grab a Bud early.

I'll be laughing the rest of the day over that.

Dan Got It Wrong

Abstinence makes the fond grow harder.

What a joke!

As many mormons as there are in the legislature, this should be a non-issue, but...!

Let's take it one step

Let's take it one step further. Let's allow the cops to stop a vehicle at any time (no probable cause) and if you have had one drop of alcohol automatic DUI. And with the DUI automatic loss of driving privileges for life. That ought to satisfy some folks.

I hope you are being

I hope you are being facetious.

The problem is that not

The problem is that not enough of our lawmakers do drink. Too many uptight, sanctimonious blowhards.

By the way, why is it that recovering alocholics think that anyone who drinks alcohol has a problem?

When you have a hammer, everything's a nail.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Saturated with denial?

Many people who are not alcoholics choose to give up alcohol for other reasons - health issues, weight loss, religious convictions, financial priorities, etc. Regardless of one's reasons to quit drinking, there is nothing like a long period of abstinence (i.e. 3-6 months) to let you see through the many forms of denial people embrace to justify an alcohol-induced buzz, occasional drunkeness, or even regularly occuring drunkeness. I dare you to take the Andrus test as an experiment in self-awareness.

What if you don't get drunk

What if you don't get drunk on alcohol, but instead just enjoy a nice red wine with dinner occassionally? Again, you assume that everyone who drink alcohol does so to get drunk. Personally, I enjoy the flavor and textures of good wine or even a good craft beer once in a while.
There are definately those who drink only for the effect of the alcohol, but don't lump everyone into that category.

I dont get drunk....

but I do enjoy a nice 6-pack oly with my steak and potatoes....

Defenses up, RiverCity?

You seem to be hung up on that word "drunk." Excluding some teenagers and college students, I never assume anyone drinks to get drunk, but I have never met a drinker who doesn't drink too much every now and then, some more often than others. Mellow, high, buzzed, tipsy, loaded, drunk - these are all good words to describe the various effects of America's most popular intoxicating substance. No offense intended. Nevertheless, thanks for illu-strating my point about denial.

I like the taste is probably the most common excuse imbibers give to avoid admitting what they really like is the way they feel after a drink. I'm not saying alcohol doesn't taste good, only that it's an acquired taste that has to be cultivated over time. No one ever became a connoisseur of fine wines by only sipping the stuff occasionally. BTW, many smokers also claim they like the taste of tobacco even though most of them choked on their first cigarette.

Having an "occasional" glass of wine with dinner is also a very popular claim made by people who drink, never mind that those dinner occasions probably exceed most people's definition of occasionally. Just look at the ever-expanding wine selection in Boise grocery stores. I'm old enough to remember when you could only find Gallo and Christian Brothers in Boise grocery stores. This dramatic change in wine sales isn't the result of more people having just an occasional glass of wine with dinner but of many people drinking wine on a fairly regular basis - probably a minimum of once a week if not several times a week or daily. The American wine industry recently reported record sales over the past year, but because of the recession, the sale of quality wines has declined while the sale of cheap wines increased. So much for the taste factor!

Keep in mind I'm not against anyone drinking. Drink to your heart's content, but try practicing some self-honesty when explaining to others why you enjoy it so much.

Have you ever thought that...

the reason so many drink is a reaction to the idiotic legislation that these "non drinkers" pass every year?

Mo's

Well at least we know which one's are the Mo's. Why even worry about sending a note to legislators from Rexburg?!?!

The McGee incident was about hypocrisy, not relaxed

attitudes about alcohol consumption. For christ's sake, he stole a car!

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Ridiculous!

"I figure if drinking and driving is against the law, then surely Idaho legislators could give up their alcohol use for three months while they make the laws."

Seriously? Reminds of Cheech and Chong (paraphrased), "I used to be all messed up on alcohol. Now I'm all messed up on God."

Just because Andrus cannot handle an occasional drink doesn't mean others can't.

Oh brother

This guy may have stopped drinking, but he must be taking something else. Funny the only people that made the pledge are those that don't drink.

Yea, the Mormon legislators

Yea, the Mormon legislators are all over this.

Hope Idaho wine industry sends every legislator a bottle

I'll take any extra Koenig!

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

wasteful

Hey Popkey,
If I send an email to all the legislators requesting they abstain from pole dancing for the entire session, will you publish the results?

It could be fun.

wasteful - pimp's time reading and replying

If you are so negative about the blog's author and choice of material, why are you here?
If you are truly masochistic there are alternate activities that can get you off.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

happy new year

Why the hate Poet?

I can be referring to the wasteful effort of Andrus for putting together such a dumb survey- as mentioned the LDS faction is already 'no alchohol' and the rest would agree with Andrus for what reason?

I can be referring to the wasteful effort of the legislators who actually took time to reply. Don't have better things to do like constituent work?

I can be referring to the wasterful effort of YOU being so negative about my posts. Why are replying to my masochistic posts?

And of course I'm referring to wasteful effort of ME replying to your post. But I have NOTHING else to do. It's sad, I know. I just want to dialogue with you Poet.

***

My point to Popkey is he can be directing his quality efforts on something other than repeating someone's fodder. I know I'm peeein in the wind, but I have hope the Statesman will reduce their bias media this upcoming session. Our politics needs less bias.

Pimp...I'd like to see more heavy hitting reporting on

the one party rule Idaho lives under. And perhaps the Statesman can step up their game (ala Betsy Russell; does she even sleep during the legislative session?), but the continued derision poured upon the purveyors of this blog detracts from any points you may have to offer and simply makes you look like an unintelligent crank. Stop the hatred towards the site you can freely use/ignore, and make some interesting points to ponder that could potentially enlighten all of us.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Lighten up, guys?

It's the day after the Christmas holiday -- during what's typically one of the slowest news weeks of the year — and I thought the answers were of interest. Seemed worth sharing the work.

Happy New Year!

Dan Popkey

cheers

I pity the person who does not know the feeling of a good Christmas alcohol induced buzz!

Everyone Loves Betsy

Now you're just making me laugh.

So you don't want to give a pass to the one party system representing their 'one party constituents', but you do want to give a pass to the blog purveyors.

I think that's a private matter.

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Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

When given a choice between trusting a reporter and

a politician, I'll trust the reporter. That freedom of the press thingy is more critical than most people realize.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

trusting

A "trustworthy reporter".... do you know where we can find one of those?
Did Santa bring you one?

Geez Poet, that's my point.
Statesman reporters are so bias they are not trustworthy. They have a political and a social agenda that does not involve objectively reporting the news. Add to that stuff like Barker barfing lies on his keyboard every day and the Statesman becomes worthless- except the coupons. The problem is other gullible voters start to believe the junk. Throughout history there were 'normal' people who believed the propaganda produced by the press.

Freedom of the press is critical and it's a great responsibility of which the Statesman publisher is failing us.

Since I hate it, should I read something else? Is there another local daily newspaper I'm not aware of? Oh yeah, that 'critical thingy' you mention is monopolized by the Statesman. Oh wait, that's kinda like the 'one party' state you are complaining about. A monopoly with a political agenda.
How's that working for you?

Refrain from pole dancing survey?

A categorical yes: If someone who chooses to call himself 'Pimp2' gets 17 legislators to respond to his pole-dancing query, then yes, I will post a story.

Please forward me the original emails from the lawmakers, as Mr. Andrus was kind enough to do.

Happy New Year!

Dan Popkey

ha ha

Sounds good!

I don't care who you are

That's funny right there.

Truth is hard to come by

Typical Poopkey blather!

This just continues to show how he tries to justify his "job"!

And these are the people that are in charge

We are hopelessly doomed. If they can't understand what is important on simple matters, why do Idahoans entrust their judgment on other significant and important issues. There is unfortunately only one answer - Collectively we are dumber than our Legislature and I didn't know that was possible

We

We would probably be better off if all the legislators were drunk and passed out during the 2012 session.

The place would get to smell though. Please refrain from serving

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Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

Alcohol is only bad for a pregnancy after conception.

It takes a wee bit for some to even go there.

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Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

What I would like them to promise.......

During the time the legislature is in session....please stop propagating. This will at least cut public school expenses in the long run.

My suggestion

Mr. Andrus keep track of his own sobriety. It's one thing to 'crusade' as an anti-alcohol thunderer; quite another to force pledges, oaths, promises from teetotalers and their compatriots. What's the point?

As for Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot: 6 years and you've never seen a drunk legislator. Please check the community newspapers across Idaho; I'm willing to bet real money you'll find some familiar names.

"Abstinence from alcohol is dangerous to your health!"- 60 Min.

I respect the teatotalers, but as the French Cardiologist said on 60 Minutes "Abstinence alcohol is dangerous to your health!"
The Legislators have proven they do not need alcohol to be brain dead and lazy. They do not deserve any alcohol because it increases their longevity.
As Santa once said while under the affluence of incohol, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Happy New Years ALL...Peter

Drinking and driving

I can really appreciate the honest answers from the lawmakers. It shows they are human but not righteous. If someone wants to have a glass of wine, that does not make them a drunk. It is not a new concept that people go to holiday parties and imbibe. I think the voice of Idaho want's to see that the lawmakers are held to the same standard as the rest of us. Why isn't that a focus this year?

Yeah, because you wouldn't want to waste time on stories like...

The state police lab hoarding drugs illegally and hiding them from auditors

The state's unconstitutional misdemeanor probation system

An ISP officer offering false testimony resulting in a conviction for murder

Sure, just keep reporting on the important issues facing the people of this state.

So you're in jail...whee!

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Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.