Former Idaho Rep. Roberts to new lawmakers: You only have so many bullets, use them wisely

Former Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, was appointed by Gov. Butch Otter to the Idaho State Tax Commission in August, but was back at the Statehouse Tuesday morning to brief new lawmakers about the tax structure.

After winding through income, sales and property taxes, the former GOP caucus chairman and 12-year lawmaker offered advice to the newcomers during the second of three days of orientation.

"Trust, or the lack thereof, will follow you all the days of your legislative career, either long or short-lived," Roberts said.

He emphasized the independence of the two chambers. "There is the House and the Senate, and don't ever forget it," Roberts said. Passing a bill 34-1 in the Senate may not mean success if sponsors haven't done spadework in the House, he said.

Other tips:

Adopt a style of lawmakers you admire.

It's OK not to be a know-it-all.

Avoid SFS, "Suffocating Fish Syndrome," that is, don't flip-flop. It's OK to change your mind, but keep it to a minimum.

Adhere to the "Toast Rule." There are two sides to every issue. Don't make commitments until you've considered both sides.

Follow the "Bullet Rule." You begin the session with limited ammunition, use it sparingly. Don't talk all the time, listen.

Allow yourself "windshield time," to turn off the radio and contemplate your role as a lawmaker.

1354646341 Former Idaho Rep. Roberts to new lawmakers: You only have so many bullets, use them wisely Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Talking about bullets isn't very wise in this climate.

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