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Posts published in “Day: April 18, 2014”

Idaho and the 17th

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

The Idaho Republican Party endorses repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows election of U.S. senators by popular vote – and not the Legislature.

I say get ‘er done, because it makes no difference. Election by the people and the Legislature would produce the same results in this Republican state. Idaho has not had a Democrat in the U.S. Senate since Frank Church and, since Democrats are so inept, I doubt if I will see another Democrat in the Senate in my lifetime.

So what kind of U.S. Senators would we get if they were elected by the Legislature? We’d have Mike Crapo, for sure. He was a former president pro tem of the Idaho Senate and a member of the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate. Who would fill the second slot? Why, it would be Jim Risch – a former Senate pro tem, majority leader, lieutenant governor and governor.

Both would be slam dunks in the Legislature.
In the past, Idaho has had Jim McClure, Steve Symms, Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne. They, too, would be easy choices for the Legislature.

So why bother with the formalities? Election to the U.S. Senate in Idaho would be like electing a pope, or appointing a Supreme Court justice. It would be for life – or until the senator decided to quit. Or, in the case of Craig … you get the point.

The argument for keeping the 17th Amendment is that election by the people produce a better and more accountable government. In most cases, and probably most states, that’s probably true. But, not in the Gem State. Idaho Republicans have no problem force-feeding repeal down the throats of the rest of the nation, and they damn well expect their elected officials to support that part of the GOP platform.
Elected officials, naturally, are reluctant to take away voting rights from the people. But I have no such problem since the electorate automatically votes the Republican ticket anyway.

Think of the time and money that could be saved if the Legislature elected U.S. senators. Crapo and Risch would not have to spend any time kissing up to big-money lobbyists and padding their campaign accounts. They wouldn’t have to worry about doing annoying little things like holding town hall meetings, or spending millions of dollars on advertising. The only people they would need to talk to are the Republican leaders of the Legislature. Get them on your side, and the rest will follow like sheep.

Repeal of the 17th Amendment would be one way to remove the influence of money in politics. It would be kind of nice knowing that we didn’t have a U.S. Senate that was bought and paid for by lobbyists.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Coroner yard sign draws attention, criticism (Boise Statesman)
Board revises guns on campus rules (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho could get more med school space (Moscow News)
W Washington U needs minorities, president says (Moscow News)
Closed 'for remodel' store a problem (Nampa Press Tribune)
Gas & oil auction pulls $1.1 m (Nanpa Press Tribune)
Kuna considers school levy (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU museum in National Geographic (Pocatello Journal)
Bonner County may see megaloads (Sandpoint Bee)
Idaho militia looking for recruits (TF Times News)

Klamath water agreement signs today (KF Herald & News)
Considering Klamath public safety funds (KF Herald & News)
Preparing for drought in Ashland (Ashland Tidings)
Construction around I-5, Phoenix (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Audit on welfare urges job emphasis (Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Big increase in oil trains in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Marion County ends immigrant jail holds (Salem Statesman Journal)

Meeting reviewing Oso mudslide (Everett Herald)
Inslee visits Olympic tribes (Port Angeles News)
Ride service petitions stall on signatures (Seattle Times)
Western Washington U enthic comment (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
Release of CRC spending records (Vancouver Columbian)
Zoning debate over pot production (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima downtown design seeking ideas (Yakima Herald Republic)