Speaker Bedke on when it's OK to run a stop sign and winning Idaho management of federal lands

House Speaker Scott Bedke is supporting his predecessor's interest in exploring an Idaho version of the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act, which seeks to shift management of millions of acres of federal lands to the states.

Former Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, is planning informational hearings in the House Resources Committee, which he now chairs. Whether Denney presses for adoption of a bill is still up in the air, Denney told me this week.

About 64 percent of Idaho's 53 million acres is in federal control, 31 percent is in private hands and 5 percent is owned by the state, mostly for endowments for schools and other beneficiaries.

The Utah bill’s author, GOP Rep. Ken Ivory, spoke to the Idaho Freedom Foundation during the Legislature's organizational session in December. A lawyer and president of the American Lands Council, Ivory says the acts of Congress admitting western states didn’t surrender claim to what have largely remained federal lands.

Bedke, R-Oakley, told me he liked Ivory's idea. "Conceptually, I'm on that," he said last month while we toured his fourth-generation family ranch that grazes 1,300 cow-calf pairs on 130,000 acres of federal allotments in Idaho and Nevada. (That day with Bedke was the foundation of a profile that ran Sunday).

"As a sovereign state, we ought to be able to control the management model," Bedke said. "I think if I could get every citizen of the United States in the cab of this pickup and go on the tour that I just did, I think there might be an ah-ha moment collectively: 'Yeah, go ahead and do it, and by the way it'll save us money.'"

Bedke said he would stipulate there would be no sale of 34 million acres of federal land in Idaho, that environmental standards would adhere to current federal law and that access for hunting and other recreation would be preserved.

The state's management of its endowment lands are proof it can work, said Bedke, who served on Gov. Phil Batt's Public Lands Task Force during the 1990s, before he entered the Legislature.

Now, for the stop signs.

Bedke was driving that pickup with me and photographer Darin Oswald. It was crowded in the cab, so we'd long abandoned our seat belts. But Darin and I were both a bit taken aback when Bedke blew through a stop sign south of Burley at 45 mph. There was nary a vehicle in sight, so we weren't in danger, but it struck me as noteworthy that Bedke didn't adapt his driving practices with a reporter and photographer in tow.

When I gulped loudly enough to be heard, Bedke cracked, "I'll stop twice next time," the sort of quotable quip he frequently utters and is making him popular with reporters.

But later, Bedke returned to his traffic faux pas to help make his case that the state could do an equal or better job managing public lands than the feds, who he calls an "absentee landlord."

"See, I ran that stop sign," Bedke said. "And I said that stop signs are there not just to see if you'll hoop-jump every time you come to it -- although we should and I get that. Stop signs are good and they keep people safe. But the goal is not to have people get killed in that intersection. If everybody stops and looks both ways, then that'll happen."

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1358004876 Speaker Bedke on when it's OK to run a stop sign and winning Idaho management of federal lands Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

What an idiotic excuse

and explanation for running a stop sign, compounded by the fact that no one was wearing a seatbelt....Sunny...


So you are saying Popkey and photographer are idiots for not wearing their seat belts?

Running stop signs is common in California... " Nice California stop, baby"

Makes PERFECT sense to ignore the sign, if a driver can SEE there are no other cars in area. Sunny, does he need to use his turn signal too at that intersection when there are no other vehicles in the area.

You would make a well-behaved sheep.


Someone that chooses to follow a law is a sheep?

As Bedke is a lawmaker, he should follow all laws. If he doesn't like a law, he is in more of a position than you or me to change that law. But until then, he should be following - including stop signs.


Following "a law" is different than following needless and unpractical laws.

Like the pirates say, the law (code) is more of "a guideline".


So, you'll agree with me that marijuana laws are equally "needless and unpractical?"

Spot on. Way to pass it back to pimpy. A valid question indeed.

Seems like this new speaker is looking out for number one when it comes to how he is going to be inconvenienced, and all others in his way are just obstacles to be circumvented, like the law, which we are all supposed to follow.


Yes, I agree with you.
Needless and unpractical.

So Bedke is a lot like the liberal states States of Washington and Colorado.

We know the (federal) law, but the practical thing is to ignore that ONE law in THIS particular case (adults smoking and staying home).

Smoking and driving- still illegal and it is a practical law... see more like a guideline...

burn it, if you got it.

Oh, jeez, is Bedke setting

Oh, jeez, is Bedke setting the stage for the rest of his rule. We are in trouble! There is absolutely no excuse for not stopping at a stop sign and there is no excuse for not wearing a seat belt. I'm sure his insurance company would like to discuss the matter with him and you can bet it is noted in his insurance file. Watch his rates go up~!

Two dropped words in final Bedke quote on stop signs

I erred in dropping the words "stops and" in the last sentence in my post this morning.

I have corrected the quote to read as Speaker Bedke originally said it:

"If everybody stops and looks both ways, then that'll happen."

Bedke's not saying people should be cavalier about traffic laws. He says they should obey the law, but that it's important to think about the underlying reason for the law.

In this case, he's arguing that Idaho can do just as well -- or better -- as the feds in managing public lands. So if the goal is to protect public lands, why not let states do the job, and, he argues, save money?

My apologies if my oversight contributed to the tone of comments here.

Dan Popkey

Cavalier and above the law.

Is this how this cowboy is going to govern our legislature too? Another dissapointment in the making.

here's more information on the Utah law


I have to admit it makes me very uneasy.

Haven't we done this before?

Sometimes new ideas are really old ideas that never went away...Does anyone remember the Idaho Public Lands Task Force? How much did Idaho spend on that effort? What was the payback?

While there's no doubt that the legislature enjoys bashing the feds at every opportunity, recent polling suggests that 76% of Idahoans agree that "one of the things our federal government does well is protect and preserve our national heritage through the management of forests, national parks and other public lands."


Just keep them preserved

No matter who is "managing" the public lands, they must be preserved at all costs from sale, development, roads = any and all transgressions. Humans are no friends of the earth, we cannot point to one example of improving over what is natural. Keep em locked up!

An astoundingly irresponsible and selfish attitude

Mr. Bedke:
What do you suppose the parents of this 9-year-old boy think about your theory about the purpose of stop signs? What do you suppose they think of your willful flouting of the law requiring you to come to a full stop?


As I'm sure you are aware, that is just one report of many of fatal accidents in Idaho caused by people running stop signs.


I see the ethics class our legislators had last week was a complete waste of time. Only obey the laws you want. This guy is complete disgrace. Notice in the photo listed in the Popkey article, Bedke isn't even wearing his seatbelt while he is in his truck.

I hear this guy wants to be Governor- is this the leadership we need?

A sidebar:

how about a state law, replacing all 'STOP' signs with 'YIELD' signs? Speaker Bedke would probably like that one, Guv Otter would probably sign it. The outlaws in the legislature would all applaud it.

The same lawbreaker

that didn't like looking at the Occupy Boise camp last winter. Bedke couldn't find any laws that they were breaking, so he introduced one.
Scanning the Idaho Repository site, it would appear that Bedke dosen't feel that traffic and rules of the road, apply to him.

All the problems we have in

All the problems we have in this state and the GOP just continues to bash the feds well knowing its a waste of time. That committee has a full slat of administrative rules to review and he's wasting time on fed that will go nowhere.

How about tending to Idaho business on Idaho taxpayers dime.

The state of Idaho has

The state of Idaho has little incentive to "manage" those lands for anything but commercial and capital gain. Think of every fabulous part of Idaho and remember why it is still there; because of federal designation, that's why.

I wonder how well Bedke's grazing operation would return a profit without that 130,000 acres of public land he uses at a fraction of what he'd have to pay to raise his own feed or buy it from a grower.


You think every fabulaous part of Idaho is because of federal designation?

Obviously you haven't visited our wonderful STATE PARKS.

The Idaho constitution...

...requires that state land be managed for maximum economic return...talk to the leaseholders in McCall. If the state takes over, there will be more locked gates and security cameras like the ones at Delamar.

The feds are not going to

The feds are not going to turn over federal land to the states to manage. That just ain't gonna happen no matter how much you wish or pray. Plus do you realize the number of federal workers in Idaho? Be thankful for those federal employment dollars in Idaho's economy.

Typical mormon behavior, if

Typical mormon behavior, if no one is looking, it is okay to break the rules.

Oh no

No, you may not move Federally controlled lands to the State so you can profit from it. You think the Feds do a lousy job of management, just release the controls to some State based crownies then see what happens. What a bad idea. Not a good beginning.

He obviously doesn't know much

Holding up the management of the state endowment lands as proof that the state can manage federal lands in adherence with current federal law shows ignorance of federal and state land management.

He is obviously an idealogue who is not informed to speak on the subject.

Oh man

So this dude ignores a stop sign then spews some nonsense about how they are a good idea but really the idea is to not get folks killed and if everyone stops and looks around before going through the intersection it would be fine...what? Is he saying if everyone stopped then we wouldn't need stop signs? Didn't he just blow through one? Doesn't that kinda make his words meaningless?

And this dude wants us to trust him to ensure that if Idaho took over management of Federal lands that"environmental standards would adhere to current federal law."

Right. If he lets the standards slide and then some serious environmental degradation occurs, will he joke that he'll be twice as diligent next time?

Anyone who would ride in a vehicle with this joker without a seat belt is nuts. Heck, anyone who would ride in a vehicle WITH a seat belt with this yahoo driving is nuts. Brings to mind Chenoweth as she went flying out through the car window into the Nevada high desert with the miracle baby on her lap.

What a ridiculous old man...It would've been a hoot...

if he had been pulled over and spanked with the citation pad.


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.