The Idaho Legislature is starting to pick up speed as they pass the halfway point of the session-much like a bill proposed by Rep. Lance Clow (R-Meridian) that would allow vehicles to go 15 mph over the speed limit while passing.

New Report Reveals State Lands Abuse

ICL and The Wilderness Society released a report  finding that, since statehood, the state of Idaho has sold off hundreds of thousands of acres in apparent violation of the Idaho Constitution. These lands were sold to politically connected families and corporations. Any talk of "transfer" of public lands must be understood in the context of this apparent cronyism and corruption. If you want to see public lands remain in public hands, we hope to see you at the Statehouse for a public lands rally  on Saturday, March 4. We’ll meet at 9 am at ICL  to make signs and share a cup of coffee. We invite you to join us!

Coal Rolling

Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) introduced a bill  in Senate State Affairs that would outlaw the practice of "coal rolling" or modifying diesel cars and trucks to release "significant quantities of soot, smoke or other particulate matter." Don’t people have anything better to do?

The People’s Land and Waters

Numerous issues related to public lands and waters were on the docket this week. These included a proposed resolution from Rep. Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) that would have the Idaho Department of Lands report annually on the current state of public access on state lands. The measure was unanimously supported in a print hearing, and will hopefully be up for a full hearing in the House Resources and Conservation Committee next week. Several other bills related to management of the Hells Canyon Complex of dams and the lack of fish ladders. Each of the measures (HB 169,  170  and 171)  seeks to restrict any attempts to reintroduce salmon and steelhead above the dams and exempt the Hells Canyon dams from existing laws that require fish passage. Each of the measures was advanced to the House floor with minimal opposition.

Defending Against Invasive Species

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) approved a $1 million boost  to funding for boat check stations for the remainder of the current fiscal year. That’s an important first step, but they also need to ensure adequate funding for Fiscal Year 2018. As we heard in a special presentation on invasive species before a joint meeting of the Senate Resources & Environment and House Environment, Energy & Technology committees, destructive nonnative mussels have been discovered in neighboring Montana and Nevada. Without aggressive efforts to stop these species before they reach Idaho’s waters, we will all pay the price when they infest our rivers, streams, lakes, canals, dams and reservoirs. Please take a moment to ask your legislators  to support protecting  our water from invaders!

Tie of the Week

The Tie of the Week this week recognizes the 32+ millions of acres of public land that Idaho families have cherished for generations. In case you’re curious… Elk City is closest to my heart!