Guest Commentary | Idaho County Free Press tablet version

Guest Commentary

Subscribe

Senators work to improve forest management, wildfire budgeting

Guest Opinion

Late last month, U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash,, released draft legislation aimed at improving forest management and wildfire budgeting. The bipartisan discussion draft reflects the work of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to examine and find solutions for these issues over the past two congresses. The bill uses a cap adjustment to end the practice of fire borrowing similar to the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which Wyden and Crapo first introduced in 2013.

Legislators: Reconsider your political pension payoff perk

When a government board member compares a special perk for state lawmakers to an “insider trading” scheme, something sketchy is going on. The pejorative assessment came during the biennial meeting of the citizens committee charged with determining legislators’ salaries and benefits.

Call for county payments extension

Guest Opinion

The federal government is responsible for the impact of federal land ownership on local communities, and it must meet this responsibility within its budget. A bipartisan group of 33 fellow senators, including Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), recently joined me in calling for the reauthorization of critical payments to rural counties that help ensure this responsibility is met.

Getting attached is not bad thing for foster parents; don’t fear it, embrace it

Guest Opinion

As a foster parent, I am surprised by how often I hear the objection “I could never do that, I would get too attached.” If you’ve thought this before, let me suggest that you might make the ideal foster parent. Seriously. Consider signing up, there are children who need your heart.

Honoring Idaho law enforcement officers

Guest Opinion

During National Police Week this month, our nation honors its law enforcement officers and remembers those who have given their lives protecting our communities. Coeur d’Alene Police Sergeant Gregory King Moore, a husband and father who served in the Coeur d’Alene Police Department for 16 years before he was killed last year in the line of duty, is among the law enforcement officers who are being honored this National Police Week.

Grocery tax a key issue in 2016 elections

Guest Opinion

Idaho’s policy is made more problematic by the fact that our grocery tax doesn’t actually result in support for state services and programs. Idaho merely collects the sales tax revenue and then refunds the money to Idahoans in the form of an income tax credit.

Small snippet misleading of whole proceedings

Guest Opinion

There has been a lot of controversy and emotion around the block grant for the Kids Klub. Unfortunately, very little of it is about the actual truth of the commission’s proceedings.

Mental health issues impact each of us; Training, education opportunities start locally May 9

Guest Opinion

Mental health issues impact each of us. Whether you are struggling with these challenges personally, within your family, or simply want to support others in your community, I would like to strongly encourage you to take advantage of at least one of these opportunities.

One-size-fits-all approach to public lands management the wrong direction

Guest Opinion

As active participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website. Idahoans have contacted me regarding potential monument designations and land acquisitions in western states.

Tease photo

Big impression with Little interview

During his Thursday stop in Grangeville, Lt. Governor Brad Little sat for an hour-and-a-half interview with the Idaho County Free Press. I asked the best questions I could think of, and I listened as intently as I could. These are my impressions....

‘Bible Bill is constitutionally sound’

Veto reactions: Sen. Nuxoll, ACLU of Idaho

Last Tuesday, April 5, Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a Bible-in-schools bill, saying it violates the Idaho Constitution and could result in “costly litigation for Idaho public schools.” According to a Spokesman-Review story, “I have deep respect and appreciation for the Bible as religious doctrine as well as a piece of historic literature,” Otter wrote in his veto message. “However, allowing S1342 to become law is in direct contravention to the Idaho Constitution.” Responses from Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, ACLU of Idaho

ISAT testing starts April 6; students need rest, breakfast for best efforts

Guest Opinion

School wide testing is going to be taking place at Grangeville Elementary Middle School (GEMS) now that students have returned from spring break. The dates for the GEMS testing window are April 6 to May 13. During this time period, all 3-8 grade students will be on a rotating schedule for taking their ISAT tests. The staff at GEMS would like to pass on some helpful ideas for students to reach their optimum level on the testing.

Idaho makes progress on standards, funding public defender services

Guest Opinion

For almost a century the American Civil Liberties Union has been in the forefront in protecting the people’s constitutional rights. For this column I will focus on the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees full due process to criminal defendants and their right to legal counsel.

Fire borrowing must be fixed now

Disaster-scale wildfires are going to continue to be a threat. We can better prepare for the increasing costs of wildland fire suppression by providing land managers and firefighters the certainty needed to plan and allocate resources properly without robbing from other priorities during each fire season.

‘Need to step away from the past and focus on our future’

Guest Opinion

We are messing our nest. Our trash is everywhere; strewn along roadways, heaped in containers, scattered around dumpsters. For years, county residents had access to multiple dumpster sites and, for prairie folks, an accessible transfer station. Several factors necessitated changes to that comfort zone.