Writings and observations

Senate Bill 1387, the Idaho ultrasound bill, passed 23-12.

Likely result: Passage in the House by a larger margin a few days from now, and signature by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter some days after that. And this likely will be the piece of legislation for which this session is most remembered. Don’t be surprised if a number of legislative campaigns center around it.

Of the debates, the strongest may have been that of Senator Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who is apt to be in the political whirlwind surrounding this – “my primary opponent has made it her number one issue.”

She said that “I keep in my focus the unborn and the right to life,” but noted that the senators (with one exception) aren’t physicians. A state requiring a mandate like this, she said, “that is not a civil society in my mind. What about the mother who got pegnant by rape? Do we as a government double the pain on that crime by inserting ourselves in that room with that doctor and that patient? That’s really in my mind not our place to be.” It is, she said, “misguided legislation.”

Her primary race will be one to watch.

Senator Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle (and who isn’t running again this year), went further, saying the bill is there because some senators are pushing “their own personal ideology and their own personal agenda.”

Sponsor Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said that a transvaginal ultrasound was not needed to comply with the bill; but the one physician in the chamber, Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said that in many cases, other ultrasounds wouldn’t be effective. Make no mistake: This is a transvaginal ultrqsound bill, and it will be debated outside the Statehouse on that basis.

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Idaho

Another round of federal approval to go after sea lions, which have been going after fish (as is their wont), has gotten federal approval, and we’re more likely to see stepped up activity along that front in Washington and Oregon.

In Washington and Idaho, meanwhile, legislatures continue on. Budget battles are the big issue in Washington, as a coalition of Senate Republicans plus a few Democrats have began to face off against the larger-majority House Democrats. (Will they use up the rest of their special session time on this?) In Idaho, budget issues are mostly resolved, but others still abound as legislators hope for adjournment soon – from the ultrasound bill in the Senate to the ethics issues involving Senator Monty Pearce.

More on all this and more in this week’s Washington, Oregon and Idaho’s weekly briefings. Write us (stapilus@ridenbaugh.com) for more information or a sample.

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