by State Rep. Randy Armstrong
My parents had two children, me and my sister. After quite a few years, and when they saw how cute and impressive we were becoming, they decided to have two more.
My mother had some pretty strict rules of conduct; and my sister and I recognized her as the final word, and so we toed the line.
For some reason the younger brother and sister combo didn’t see things the same way. They questioned, they challenged and then finally just ignored the edicts. We were surprised and amazed (why didn’t we think of that?). No, why weren’t the rules being applied evenly? Maybe we should re-examine the rule book?
This quandary is not limited to siblings. Many people in the state feel the very same way. That’s why every year in the Idaho Legislature they spend the first three weeks reviewing and revising rules. Usually these changes come from the many agencies tasked with writing rules, but they can also come from concerned citizens who don’t like a particular rule, “It’s too expensive, too inhibiting, too confusing, or just plain dumb.”
You have recourse. You can go to the issuing agency and request a meeting for enlightenment; or you can contact your legislator and tell them of your plight.
This unique opportunity has been the law in Idaho for many years; one of a very few states that allow it. A while back it was challenged in court, but ultimately upheld. It’s a real treasure to the people of Idaho, and so to codify it into the Constitution you wisely passed HJR 5 on Nov. 8, 2016. Now this fortuitous inspection and rejection process will forever be available to you.
The rules being reviewed by the legislature are almost endless and sometimes surprisingly quirky. Just this week we examined a rule on high powered transmission towers: do they need to be painted a gaudy color?; Do they need lights on each one?; How do we keep birds from nesting in them?
Unbeknownst to me we have two kinds of horses in Idaho. One kind for riding and one for eating (when I go out for dinner I always order Appaloosa). You must keep these two distinct mammals separated by 200 yards. I don’t know, you will have to ask your neighborhood entomologist. Something to do with the horseflies from the “for eating” herd infecting the “for riding” herd. (I’m embarrassed to say that we have actual Idaho-born bugs that are so unmotivated they won’t fly 200 yards for a meal. They must have originated in California.)
Should we tax Idaho wine by the gallon or by the ton?
All morticians are required to be trained in Idaho (don’t they know how to do that anywhere else?).
In lumberjacking, are you appropriately using your haywire hook, raising your gin pole, identifying the side winders and tightening your gut wrappers?
Slot machines are illegal under the Constitution but we have 350 devices hidden in various bars around the state that look suspiciously like slot machines. One passionate citizen wants them rooted out and removed. You have to admire his fervor. And because of HJR 5, he has a platform. One individual citizen trying to make a difference.
Simply another reason to love Idaho.
Just remember – don’t question your wise mother, but you are wondrously free to question the state.
Thanks for reading!
Read more in this week's print edition.Subscribe Today!