If you win the Super Bowl, you get a ring and a trophy! If you play the lottery and win, you take home the cash! But if a bill passes in the Idaho House of Representatives, according to Rule 40, that vote can be reconsidered!
That’s what happened this week on Rep. Mat Erpelding’s (D-Boise) state lands access resolution. Under this resolution, the Idaho Department of Lands would prepare a map of state land parcels, indicating which are open to the public and which are inaccessible. The bill passed 43-26 Monday morning, only to fail 23-46 that afternoon. The opposition, led by Reps. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) and Caroline Nilsson Troy (R-Genesee), was to language about disclosing how these lands are managed. Apparently some legislators not only want to keep you off state lands, but they also don’t want you to know how they are managed. How’s that for transparency?
Clean Out Your Ears, Representatives!
The flip-flop was frustrating since 2,600 Idahoans gathered at the Capitol last Saturday to support keeping public lands in public hands. Apparently, at least 46 representatives didn’t hear the message that access to our public lands is important to Idahoans. Reach out and let them know how you feel!
Much Needed Dose of Science at the Legislature
This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt made headlines when he doubted that carbon dioxide is a primary driver of climate change. He joins many Idaho legislators whose preferred approach is to bury their heads in the sand regarding one of the most important issues of our time.
If that’s not your idea of problem solving, join ICL and friends at a public hearing on Wednesday at the Capitol. Leading scientists from the University of Idaho and Boise State University-along with industry leaders, fishery experts, fire managers and students-will introduce a much needed dose of science into the Statehouse. If you can’t be there, tune in and click on “Lincoln Auditorium.”
Time to Raise License Fees
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game relies on license fees to fund its work. Yet the agency hasn’t seen a fee increase since 2004. That, coupled with the rising costs of fuel, wages and supplies, has had the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on the ropes for some time.
This week the House approved a fee increase bill that allows annual license purchasers to "lock in" at current rates, as long as they buy licenses every year. The House approved the measure Tuesday; the Senate will consider the bill next week.
Watch Out, Invasive Species!
Given the threat that invasive species pose to Idaho, it was encouraging to see progress this week. ICL testified on HB 256, which passed unanimously out of the House Agricultural Affairs Committee. The House also approved HB 211, the Senate passed SB 1112, and the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee approved a 40% increase in funding for stations to check boats for hitchhiking zebra and quagga mussels.
Tie of the Week!
On March 4, the crowds at the Statehouse were amazing! About 2,600 public lands lovers and sportsmen spoke up for our special places. To honor that tremendous show of support and to recognize the efforts of Idaho Department of Fish and Game employees to protect and preserve the fish and wildlife resources in our state, I bring you this stunning tie of the week!