Fear of Legislature Power Is Prudent

Our favorite saying with regard to political power is, “POWER CORRUPTS. ABSOLUTE POWER IS REALLY GREAT IF YOU HAVE IT.” Constitutional amendment HJR 2 is an attempt by the legislature to acquire absolute power. It needs a “NO” vote.
Exterior dome of the Idaho State Capitol building located in Boise, Idaho, USA.
We don’t endorse candidates, but when it comes to constitutional amendments and bond issues, we feel an obligation to let folks know a bad deal when its offered. Here is the the deal:
on the face, it sounds like a minor housekeeping measure–allow the legislature to review department rules. In reality the potential for abuse is tremendous.

The Idaho Legislature’s power to review agency rules is already said to by the strongest in the USA. To carve that power in the stone of the Idaho Constitution is dangerous because there is no mechanism in the Idaho Constitution for citizens to repeal ANY article. Only the legislature holds that power. Amendments require a 2/3 approval by both houses, followed by a simple majority of state wide voters. We can initiate NOTHING.

Not that anyone can understand the convoluted language, here is the ballot proposal:

“Shall Article III, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a new section 29, to confirm that the legislature may authorize executive rulemaking; however, the legislature shall not relinquish oversight, which such oversight is done by approval or rejection, in whole or in part, of an executive rule; and to provide that the legislature’s approval or rejection of such a rule shall not require the approval of the governor?”

If, down the road, we citizens see abuse of power by legislative rule makers, we are helpless, since only the legislature can bring amendments. THAT’S absolute power and really great if you’re a legislator.

An example of a bad amendment is the “Constitutional mandate” for the Idaho Land Board to get the best return on investment off state lands. Sounds reasonable. However the board sees that as reason to sell existing land and acquiring speculative real estate holdings.

The board owns a storage business and more than 20 commercial rental properties–including 10 Barrel Brewing–in Boise. Citizens of Boise, Ada County, ACHD, and Boise Schools get absolutely no tax revenue from those commercial properties because they are owned by the State of Idaho.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I agree, thanks for highlighting this issue… as usual the local media has fallen short.

    In fact we all seem to have forgotten about Ed Snowden and what he exposed about the unlawful government activities directed at everyone on the planet… including we the people.

  2. Rod in SE Boise
    Oct 13, 2014, 11:03 am

    Thanks, Dave.

  3. Great points. More importantly – great perspective. I just read the pamphlet last night, and at first glance, it appeared reasonable. But you have shed important light on this. Thanks.

  4. I will vote No on this amendment, which such vote is predicated on the use of the phrase “which such,” as well as a hesitancy to give our legislators power that they don’t need, already have, and will surely abuse.

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