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Posts published in “Day: October 28, 2018”

Simple and beneficial

This is a guest opinion by Boise attorney David Leroy, responding to a recent column by Jim Jones about Idaho's Proposition 1.

As a former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Governor, I am truly surprised at the misdirection and confusion which is being offered to oppose the Historical Horse Racing Initiative (Proposition One). For me, it is an easy "yes" vote.

The law would do nothing more than restart the process of allowing betting machines at live horse racing venues and a single, non-operational track that meet specific criteria, just as we had during the years 2014-2015, when a collapse of civilization did not take place.

A former Justice recently predicted that the Idaho Supreme Court could follow the logic of a Wyoming court to rule the initiative unconstitutional. The Wyoming decision is a moot point, because HHR terminals are legally operating in that state currently and the machines themselves are substantially different than when that court examined them. Furthermore, that now irrelevant conclusion ignores our own Idaho Constitution, specifically the language in Article III, Section 20, which allows "pari-mutuel betting if conducted in accordance with enabling legislation.” Already existing statutes permit any "exhibition" of horse racing at a location "where the pari-mutuel system of wagering is used."

Of course, a lawsuit may well be filed by one of the contending parties after the fact, but both the legislative history of the original act and a 2012 Idaho Attorney General's letter opinion predict that the track-based use of these pari-mutuel machines is likely to be held constitutional by the Idaho Supreme Court. Indeed, like many other states and courts, this week a Kentucky circuit court ruled once again that historical horse racing terminals were, in fact, pari-mutuel wagering based on the outcome of horse races, and thus constitutional, despite any appearances of a casino game.

Unfortunately, some newspaper’s editorials have not been as clear or instructive as their readers should expect about this "political" issue. For example, one editorial board last week suggested that citizens cast a "no" vote, because the measure is allegedly "complex and confusing." It is neither.

Simply put, Proposition One does the following:

1) Reestablishes the use of previously used and now familiar historical horse racing terminals, which are pari-mutuel in nature, meaning that bettors bet against other bettors in the pool, not against “The House.”

2) Co-locates the machines at horse racing tracks, and only at tracks, where they offer the potential to revive that industry and its related economics and employment,

3) If they remain as popular with the public as they once were, allows the devices to generate significant funding over time for Idaho schools,

4) Will not put any of ldaho's tribal casinos out of business, nor is it even likely to negatively affect their profit margins.

Politics in this day and age can be plenty confusing and conflicted. Almost every new, even well-intended public policy has trade-offs and unanticipated consequences. Historical horse racing for Idaho, however, is neither novel nor confusing. If voters pass the initiative, we will simply reauthorize a form of gaming which has been field tested without adverse consequences.

Certainly, many Idahoans may oppose gambling in any form and accordingly vote "no." That, too, is an honorable position, if taken on principle, for moral reasons or with a valid factual basis. But Idahoans should not be misled by the many untrue allegations or wild legal speculations swirling around Proposition One. As to me, for both history and horses, "YES" on Prop 1 makes sense.

David Leroy has previously served as Idaho’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor and currently practices law in Boise.

Idaho Weekly Briefing – October 29

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for October 22. Would you like to know more? Send us a note at

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As the trees turn around Idaho, and higher elevations prepare for consistent cooler weather, political candidates begin making their final pitches to voters. And Republicans hop on their biennial bus and travel around the state.

The Idaho Falls Residential Fiber Pilot Program is set to begin with a public meeting scheduled for October 23 at 6 p.m. at Taylorview Junior High School. Residents whose neighborhoods have been selected to participate in the pilot program have been identified and have received a letter from Idaho Falls Power and the Idaho Falls Fiber Network advising them of the date and time of the meeting.

State regulators have approved a rate adjustment that will lower natural gas rates for Avista customers. The change to the Fixed Cost Adjustment will decrease residential rates by 4.2 percent when it takes effect Nov. 1.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Idaho Water Resource Board will host an open house on November 8,, to share early-stage information about a feasibility study for increasing water storage capacity within the Boise River system, particularly at Anderson Ranch Dam.

The Idaho Water Resource Board toured two fish-conservation projects in the Lemhi River Basin that restored water flows to Bohannon Creek and Big Timber Creek to allow Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout to spawn in those streams for the first time in nearly a century.

Boise State University’s overall fall enrollment has reached another new record of 25,540 students, an increase of 5.7 percent over last year.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the largest in the nation with jurisdiction over nine states and two territorial courts. With the State of Idaho as part of that circuit, its judges have influence over Western issues that affect Idahoans. Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on October 24 chaired a hearing on a slate of nominees, including two selected to serve as judges on the Ninth Circuit.

Lieutenant Governor Brad Little released the results of the Licensing Freedom Act— Executive Order 2017-06— which required state agencies who administer occupational licenses to provide reports to the Offices of Lt. Governor and Governor no later than July 1.

IMAGE High school students, their parents and college transfer students check out health science programs at the ISU-Meridian Health Science Experience Night and Pharmacy Open House Oct. 23. (photo/Idaho State University)