Regulations: Good or bad?

Update on my Jan. 28 column : The legislature is no longer considering a bill regulating changes in party affiliation prior to Idaho’s Presidential Primary this year.  

 Republicans fight big government.  

That hasn’t stopped them from creating laws that allow the state government to micromanage school curricula and budgeting and to dictate how much and how county  and city governments may collect revenue.  

And it certainly hasn’t stopped Republicans from crafting laws that give Idaho an incarceration rate roughly double that of Russia. Or from seeking ways to throw the roughly 1,500 Idaho women who get abortions each year into jails that we can’t afford to build. 

But just ask them–Republicans fight big government.    

Now, no one is going to say they’re happy that the price of a pair of Epipens which counteract life-threatening allergies has increased from $450 to $700 in five years.  

But many believe doing nothing is better than getting government involved. 

And no one is happy that 346 people died when two Boeing 737 MAX planes crashed within months of its release. 

But that doesn’t keep Republicans from advocating only self-regulation for industry. What could go wrong with pork processing plants policing themselves?        

 Leading the fight for deregulation are big corporations (aka big political donors) and minions like ALEC (which writes bills for state legislators) and the Idaho Freedom Foundation. 

So when House Minority leader Ilana Rubel introduced a bill with new regulations in mid-January, the Freedom Foundation gave it one of the lowest scores ever: -7. 

This bill, singled out as one of the terriblest of the terrible, would require daycare facilities to transport children “safely and legally, using child safety restraints as required by state law…”

It would require criminal background checks on all persons who regularly came in contact with the children at a daycare. 

And it would require day care operators to take 20 hours of training each year in subjects such as first aid and ‘pediatric rescue breathing.’ 

Well, you can be sure the Idaho House voted that bill down 23-44.  (Seven Canyon County representatives helped make that defeat possible–Greg Chaney, Robert Anderst, Rick Youngblood, Brent Crane, and Gary Collins.)

Day care operators were happy with the bill. Yet, 44 legislators fought the bill even after Rep. Rubel pointed out that Idaho stood to lose $2.5 million in federal support for the Idaho Childcare Program if our regulations weren’t updated.

Is it Federal money legislators don’t like–or kids? 

This is, after all, the same legislature that gives parents the final word on whether a child receives medical care and the right to choose husbands for 15-year-old daughters.

Now, a bill promoting new regulations is generating a Republican vs. Republican confrontation. 

Idaho billionaire–and major Republican donor–Frank VanderSloot has created the Idaho Patient Act, requiring doctors and medical facilities to make patient bills timely and clear–and to cap medical collection fees at $750, if contested, and $350 if not. 

Vandersloot cares because one of his employees was hit with $6,200 in collection fees on a $294 bill–which she had not received before it was turned over to a law firm for collection.  

And the manager of that law firm–Medical Recovery Services–is Rep. Bryan Zollinger, (R-Idaho Falls.)  He claims that the new regulation would force everyone’s medical bills up because doctors would just have to pay the cost of collection.    

Would doctors actually authorize $6200 in expenses to collect a $294 bill? 

Vandersloot’s bill will be introduced by powerful legislators–Jason Monks, assistant House majority leader, and Kelly Anthon, Senate majority caucus leader.  They cite the bill as a ‘reasonable solution’ to a ‘convoluted problem.’  

Will the pro- or anti-regulators win?  Stay tuned.  

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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