Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: March 6, 2006”

Sali to the ramparts? Or, why not?

Nothing unusual for state Representative Bill Sali, R-Kuna - now a candidate for U.S. representative - to be fiddling around with Idaho abortion law. Monday, he was trying to get introduced the first abortion measure of the session in Idaho, another tinker with the parental-notification on minors situation.

Bill SaliWhy is he bothering? Why waste his time on such minor stuff when the state of South Dakota is cutting to the heart of the matter? Its legislature just passed, and its governor just signed, a law saying this: "No person may knowingly administer to, prescribe for, or procure for, or sell to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being. No person may knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being. Any violation of this section is a Class 5 felony."

No abortion period - not for reason of rape, incest or health of the mother - except only to immediately save the life of the mother.

The Idaho Chooses Life website has some qualms, but concludes: "But we must also recognize the fact that we have made precious little progress in ending the wholesale destruction of God’s little ones for more than a generation. We need to up the pressure on our court system." An estimated 11 states, so far, are considering passing similar legislation.

One wonders why Idaho is not yet among them.

Sali has been the face of the hundred-percenters - Those who want to ban abortion, period. Granted, it would be tough to out-do Walt Bayes in the governor's race. But if Sali wants to represent the really serious pro-life movement - the Republican National Coalition for Life endorsed him for Congress just last month as, one presumes, the most pro-life of the candidates - where's his South Dakota bill and why hasn't he brought it in front of the House Ways and Means Committee?

Details, details, and the weight of cost

Got a call from a Boise housing construction contractor who's concerned a new piece of legislation might drive him out of business. He might even be right. And its intended purpose doesn't require such an extreme result.

The measure in question is House Bill 677, which would allow school districts to impose impact fees on new residential construction within the district. The fees could amount to $2.50 per square foot, or, for example, $2,500 for a 1,000-square foot house. The measure is sponsored by leaders of the property tax renovation effort, Senators Shawn Keough and Representatives Dennis Lake, Mike Moyle and Jim Clark, all Republicans.

The idea behind it is generally unassailable: New growth should help pay for the growing budgets needed by school districts, most notably those like Boise and Meridian where the growth has caused serious pressures. Those new kids moving in - and generally, the new people moving in - create costs and so should have to help underwrite.

Under 677 they ultimately do, but the serious pressure instead is placed on the builders of the houses. The fee is imposed on "construction," not on sale or occupancy. Ultimately, presumably, the builder would pass the cost along to the developer and buyer, but in the meantime, for months, that's a high cost he alone would have to bear. In some cases, especially considering the size of houses so often built these days, that could be enough to put some builders out of business. If it were imposed instead at the time of sale, it could be incorporated into house financing relatively easily. And the arrival of the people into the house is more closely tied to the cost to the district than is construction of the building.

The bill is up for amendment on the House floor. Will be interesting to see how, or if, it is amended, as the session nears its frenetic final (well, presumably final) weeks.