Idaho's House Democrats assess 2012 Legislature, lament 'War on Women,' laud texting ban

Idaho's 13-member House Democratic Caucus is holding a 10:30 a.m. news conference. The caucus has just released a written statement critiquing the highs and lows of 2012.

The statement follows, in full:

House Democrats End of Session Statement

At the start of this 2012 legislative session we talked about our hopes and plans for focusing on the important work before us. We talked about the need for prosperity and how to help to create jobs for the 60,000 PLUS Idahoans who are currently without, and we offered solutions in our IJOBS 2.0 package.

We talked about our shared responsibility to maintain the vital public structures, the facilities and services that Idaho communities and families expect. And we talked about honesty and fairness, and of the culture of the Legislature and state government, and of how an ethical and cultural renewal was needed to restore faith in the legislature and state government. And again we offered solutions in our Restore Ethics and Accountability package.

So how has the 2012 legislature done?

On the education front, we are still trading laptops and online classes for teachers, and the GOP leadership, who stated that their first duty when the economy and revenue improved was to restore funding to our schools, have gone back on their words. How can we provide opportunities when school funding is $140 million less than in 2009 with more students? The top consideration for the Governor and the Majority leaders was a $35 million redistribution of wealth to the wealthiest Idahoans while the Luna laws mandate ongoing reductions for classroom instruction to continue for many years.

The real hope now is not that these leaders will remember their promises. Rather it is that the voice of the people is heard this November through recall of the Luna laws.

We are happy to note that the economy is improving, and it looks like that improvement will continue. But once again the Legislature and governor missed an opportunity to make real progress in helping Idaho communities grow and prosper. Meanwhile, they continue to shirk their shared responsibility for the infrastructure that businesses depend upon. We have over $500 million in State building maintenance deferred, and another $1 billion in schools and local government projects have piled up. The state is hundreds of millions short of meeting critical maintenance requirements for roads and bridges. In the face of such dire and growing needs, legislative Republicans and the Governor decided it was best to give redistribute our citizens wealth to corporations and the high earners. That is neither wise nor fair.

Alarmingly, Idaho became another battleground in the GOP’s “War on Women”, with two attempts to deny contraceptives to women. The Republicans also sought to insert big government into the relationship between a patient and a doctor by forcing women to have unnecessary medical procedures against their will. This was an affront to the values that we and most Idahoans hold dear: limited government, personal responsibility, individual freedom and fairness.

Some good things happened this session. We protected young athletes through concussion legislation. After three years of debates, our roads will finally be safer because we’ve banned texting while driving. These are truly within the role of government—protecting a large number of Idahoans with good policies and little to no cost.

We also made steps--albeit baby steps—to restore critical services for the disabled by replacing $5 million dollars in support services so they can stay in the community and workplace. But there is more to do if we are to be wise stewards of the taxpayer’s money.

And we helped higher education and our future industries with IGEM, the technology transfer and start-up development program, one that bore some resemblance to ideas we put forth in our 2010 IJOBs proposals.

It is what we could do in the future that gives us hope. We In the Democratic Caucus will resume work on proposals to help the private sector develop good jobs and careers. These proposals will include the Value Added tax credit for agricultural processing, better support for higher education, and ways to further support startup and expanding businesses here in Idaho.

We also believe it’s time to begin work on a constitutional amendment to protect citizens’ rights to refuse government mandated medical procedures and make it necessary to have their consent for health care treatments. One wouldn’t think it necessary in Idaho to protect the freedoms and rights of our citizens from the overreach of government, but if anything experience shows that that not all Idaho legislators have the same perception of personal freedom.

Finally, we will renew our efforts to address the ethical culture in the legislature and in State government. We had great hopes that, working with the Majority, we would make progress on an independent ethics commission, on personal financial disclosure, and on other tools to help restore the people’s confidence in their state government. Every few weeks during the 2012 session we had another reminder of how we’re falling far short of the expectations of our citizens. After all the publicity, all the meetings, this Legislature and the Republican leaders failed to take any meaningful action. The culture of the Statehouse needs to change.

Representative Democracy requires that the people believe that Senators, Representatives and State officials work for them, work for their districts and the State, most importantly work for the common good. They and we can no longer rely on the fox to guard the henhouse.

As we go into this interim period, with both primary and general elections, we ask the voters to ask the hard questions and demand specific answers. To turn away from the politics of false fears and false choices. And by voting wisely to ensure that the 2013 Legislature is ethical, transparent, fair and responsible.

1333124687 Idaho's House Democrats assess 2012 Legislature, lament 'War on Women,' laud texting ban Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Not a war on women

The whole contraceptive issue is not a war on women! What part of the constitution says that WE THE PEOPLE need to pay for birthcontrol. This is what it's really about, gimme gimme gimme and all the while saying if you don't gimme your against me! We really need to turn this county back around and in the words of JFK "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Give me liberty and take your gimme gimme somewhere else, for if we stay a gimme gimme country, we won't have our liberties or our freedom.
Oh and I am a woman.

Tres Enjoli?

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Do you think that contraceptives for treatment of medical

conditions should be included?

I thought that pregnancy was that, not Hitler's brain in a jar.

Not much of a trick question.

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Beg to differ its a war on

Beg to differ its a war on women's rights. Does it even begin to address the issue of men in regard procreation. Condoms, et al should also be considered in the discussion on procreation. Likewise, viagra and the other male enhancing drugs. The legislation was aimed solely at women and therein is the problem. If Winder and his ilk are so concerned about the unborn then outlaw condoms, et al.

Right wing red states took up this for a cause

Women are fighting back with their own radical legislation requiring males to have all types of physical exams before they could get their viagara prescriptions.

The right wingers are hoping to get more of the evangelical votes with their war on women's rights.

This can only lead to DIY, stupid folks

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Yes!

It is a war on women's rights.
Vote these people out.

Laughable.

Only the freak-left could call protecting the unborn a 'war on women'. Only the freak-left expects us to provide free contraceptives to 30 year-old college students. Why are liberals so dishonest? Don't mess with the liberals illegal drugs or baby killin'. It really upsets them.

YOU are a part of the

YOU are a part of the problem in this country....lack of civility and respect. You show your true colors by your lack of good manners and verbal bullying. It's time to grt out of the sand box and grow up!

So explain Richert

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Ain't it the truth. The left

Ain't it the truth. The left are becoming full blown nut jobs. They want to see what war is really like? Take a trip to Afghanistan. Looks like the left are going to sc rewup yet another word. This time it is "WAR" If the left didn't lie they would have very little to say.

I agree...kind of like the "War on Christmas", "Culture Wars"

and "War on Religion". Then again, I don't remember that we complained that much about the "War on Drugs" or "War on Poverty".

No,

some idiot in Georgia comparing women to farm animals, while talking about his law that would force women to carry their dead fetus, its okay, animals do it. That is not 'protecting' the unborn. Laws in Arizona that say a doc doesn't have to share the results of an ultrasound..even if the women life is in danger. If the doc thinks she might have an abortion..even if she needs one to save her life, and if she dies..doc can't be sued...Laws that endanger our lives are a war. The law being proposed in Michigan, making single motherhood a crime, another making divorce illegal..even in the case of abuse. The michigan rep said that when a women is being beaten, she should close her eyes, and remember why she married him..it will make it all better.

Honesty

If the Democrats in Idaho want to make headway in gaining seats in the legislature, they should abandon the National Democratic partys lies and rhetoric, it is not working here... war on women...please... that lame crap may work on the mindless sheep populating the big cities and california, but, the people of Idaho see through it... Honesty.. try that for a "change".

You would neither happy nor shut up, Insatiable One

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

A can of worms?

"We also believe it’s time to begin work on a constitutional amendment to protect citizens’ rights to refuse government mandated medical procedures and make it necessary to have their consent for health care treatments."

Is there a legal question that under most circ-umstances adult citizens in Idaho already have the right to refuse any medical procedure for themselves whether it is mandated or not? However, health care providers also have a right to refuse treatment if the patient refuses to consent to a particular procedure deemed necessary by the medical profession. Barring unusual emergency situations where death to a patient might be imminent, what doctor would be willing to perform surgery without some type of medical imaging procedures being performed first? No X-ray, no surgery. Nevertheless, I have the right to walk on crutches the rest of my life if I don't want the doctor to X-ray my broken leg.

According to the American Medical Assoc. all 50 states have medical informed consent laws that are fairly specific in defining what constitutes informed consent. The Supreme Court has reviewed and upheld the Constitutionality of these informed consent laws and in so doing has acknowledged that simply having a patient sign a consent form only protects the doctor, not the patient, unless the patient is provided with sufficient knowledge pro and con to give his/her "informed" consent. Doctors are also required to discuss alternative options with their patients according to the AMA.

There is nothing that prevents states from enacting informed consent laws pertaining to specific medical procedures. For example, states wherein organ transplant operations are performed have laws that stipulate kidney or partial liver transplant patients be told beforehand about the health risks to the organ donor as well as to themselves. Why shouldn't abortion providers be required to discuss the particular features of a fetus the patient wants removed from her body?

Before the Democrat Party begins work on a constitutional amendment, they might want to research Idaho's existing medical policies to see if such an amendment is necessary and would advance or hinder the purpose of informed consent laws. It's quite possible Idaho laws need updating in light of advancements in medicine since they were written, but laws can be amended without amending the Constitution.

Makes about as much sense as a constitutional

amendment protecting our right to hunt. I, for one, think the constitutional amendment idea on medical procedures is equally over the top and unnecessary as mandated medical procedures. Do we always have to go to the extreme?

Isn't that called WAR?

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

The war on conservative Republicans

The Milwaukee Journal interviewed Gloria Steinem this week.

Q. What if it’s a conservative Republican woman who gets elected? How would you feel?

A. I would be totally against her. The women’s movement in England was totally against Margaret Thatcher. She was a disaster. . . .

Steinem acknowledged the Republican Party supported the Equal Rights Amendment before the Democrat Party did, but she claims after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, "right-wing Democrats" in the South took control of the Republican Party. Really? Was Phylis Shafley (Illinois) a Democrat prior to 1964?

Idaho Democrats might want to remember that in 1972, the GOP controlled legislature, which had far fewer women than it does now, quietly ratified the ERA, but in 1973, Shafley's Eagle-Forum lobbied to have the ratification rescinded. Thanks to Republicans like myself, they failed that year but kept coming back until they succeeded. ERA is a moot issue having failed to ever be ratified by some of our populous blue states in the North, but those Idaho women (right-wing Democrats?) are still around along with their children and grandchildren who are now old enough to vote, and the abortion issue has drawn more women to their side. The Democrat Party's war on conservative women is going to get interesting.

DEMOCRAT PARTY is another NUCULER. IC, IC, EWW.

----------

"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?