Idaho can breathe a big sigh of relief! Following two-and-a-half hours of spirited debate, the Idaho Senate voted down the so-called “Con-Con” bill by a vote of 24-11. Idaho’s Democrats teamed up with a majority of the Republican caucus in rejecting Senate Concurrent Resolution 108, which would have pushed the nation to the brink of an Article V Constitutional Convention for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution.
While the Con-Con proponents claimed their purpose was to push for a balanced budget amendment, most reputable legal scholars agree that such a Convention would put the entire Constitution up for grabs – putting in peril everything from religious freedom to gun rights to free speech. The current Constitution has stood the nation in good stead for 230 years, and every single member of the public who testified at the packed hearing said they’d like to keep it the way it is. Thankfully, we are off the ledge for now. However, a similar, and much broader, “Con-Con” resolution is still alive in the House (HCR 18).
I am firmly against this resolution and will continue to advocate against such reckless measures. I would encourage you to call your Representatives and tell them to stop putting your constitutional rights at risk with these calls for a “Con-Con.” There is no reason Congress can’t balance the budget under the Constitution we have – it just takes some courage and political will.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Legislation
I am very proud of my Civil Asset Forfeiture legislation (H 202), co-sponsored with Republican Representative Steve Harris. It just passed through the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. We need to bring the hammer down on drug dealers, but we also need to respect due process and property rights for all law-abiding Idahoans. This bill makes sure that law enforcement can still seize drug money - but not property that has nothing to do with drug activity.
Under this bill, authorities would not be able to confiscate property that has no connection to a crime. Furthermore, merely having cash in your possession, without any evidence of an offense, is not grounds for that cash to be seized. I am thankful for the local and state law enforcement officers who provided us with valuable input. This bill allows police to stay tough on drug dealers while protecting your due process rights – a win-win for Idahoans.
What are Republican Legislators Hiding?
A dangerous new bill just came up in the House State Affairs Committee, which would shield legislators from public records requests. This legislation was a shock to lawmakers, journalists, and citizens. Under the legislation proposed by Rep. Vito Barbieri, R - Dalton Gardens, emails, texts, and other communications between legislators and special interests would be barred from public records requests. The proposal would also keep communications between legislators and constituents in the dark. Idahoans rightly believe their lawmakers should be held accountable, and this bill moves in the wrong direction.
If you value transparency in government, please call or email your legislators and ask them to reject this attempt to take the people’s business out of public sight.