Writings and observations

In an Idaho Statesman piece, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, who’s co-chair of the Mitt Romney campaign in Idaho, remarks that “I would have bet you a month ago that this would have been over with by the first of February. But things have changed.”

He’s certainly not alone in that, or in moving to the logical conclusion that Idaho’s Republican presidential nominating caucuses, scheduled for March 6, may play a larger role in deciding the nominee than appeared likely, say, just after the New Hampshire primary. Testimony to how things can change.

Let’s advance this a step further and ask: If the contest as of March 6 is still competitive between Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, which of those two would win at the Idaho caucuses?

Asking the question today (informally) of a number of people, I got one answer (that I happen to agree with): Despite the mass of endorsements of top Idaho Republicans for Romney, and the near absence of an organization or visible support for Gingrich, the answer is – Gingrich. Check out the Idaho Republican base, and what it responds to, and the match seems pretty clear.

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There seems to be an ethic in our politics these days that lengthy pieces of legislature are only lengthy to provide loopholes and work for lawyers: if it’s worth doing, surely it can be expressed in a sentence or two.

Legislators who’ve been around the circle a few times come to understand that things rarely are so simple. The world is complex. Sometimes law has to be too, to keep up.

Generally, for example, information about children who are under the protection of the state Health & Welfare services is kept confidential. That’s usually a good practice, for obvious reasons.

But not always. Read the statement of purpose to Idaho Senate Bill 1255 (sponsor is Senator Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home), which opens an exception to the rule:

This legislation will allow the Department of Health and Welfare to disclose information about children who are under the jurisdiction of child protective services. Under current law, information vital to the health and well being of children, even medical information, routinely is not shared, and in many cases may not be shared, from one foster parent to another or by other decision makers. Females removed from a home where abuse has occurred from male siblings might well be placed in a home where males reside and the foster parent is never told. This legislation will allow Health and Welfare to better define, in rule, the information that will be disclosed and made available to foster parents, adoptive parents, guardians, and other legally responsible parties.

Another case where a few more words in the law really would be helpful.

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