Government: Issues to think about–soon

by Judy Ferro

This week a friend of mine made a resolution not to post anything more on Facebook about the presidential election. Before long, she posted, “What did we use to talk about?”

So for Jenny, and anyone else tired of the presidential contest, here’s some of the issues being overshadowed and postponed.

Since two inmates escaped from Canyon County’s tent detention center last week, the county commissioners and the sheriff now plan to move 86 prisoners out. Sometime in the future—when officials have located housing for the 86 inmates—the tent will hold only work-release inmates.

Just where are these work-release inmates now? Is the county going to lock up men currently wearing ankle bracelets while those who’ve committed more serious crimes are on the streets until a cell becomes vacant?

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more after the elections.

A legislative working group heard testimony last week and decided not to weigh in on whether a parent’s faith is a justifiable reason not to seek medical treatment for sick children. They’ll let legislators know what they heard, but won’t recommend a stand.

Should doctors have more say than caring parents? Of course not. Except maybe. I’m conflicted since hearing from a woman who suffers severe kidney problems today because wasn’t treated as a child. I have memories of a painful kidney infection as a child. What if that pain hadn’t gone away? What if I was still suffering decades later?

After the election, we should take time to look for options beyond just yes or no.

We could also be thinking about other issues on our ballots.

For decades Idaho law has allowed the legislature to veto executive regulations with a simple majority vote. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the law in a case 25 years ago. But now, in HJR 5, legislators are asking for Constitutional amendment giving them the same power. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the change is unnecessary.

Why is this resolution on the ballot? I’m missing something here.

And we shouldn’t ignore the $180 million bond issue requested by the College of Western Idaho.   That’s a chunk of change. Those of us in Canyon County are very lucky our neighbors in Ada County are in this with us. Figuring in real estate in both counties, the rate would be $22 per $100,000 of the value after the homeowner’s exemption is deducted.

Now, I am an education supporter. I doubt a school bond has come along that I didn’t eventually support; and that is true for many others in the valley. I think the Caldwell School District has set records for the percent of voters agreeing to up their own taxes.

So I’m supporting this. But I choke up saying $180 million. It helps that two of the three buildings being funded will be in Nampa. It helps that one is a Health Sciences Building—that’s where employment is predicted to grow the most in Idaho. It helps that the school will serve nearly 20,000 students during the current year. That’s 20,000 people who don’t have to commute to Boise or move to work toward a better life. And it helps to know that our tax levy rates will still be less than half of those in districts for the College of Southern Idaho and North Idaho College.

But we have a lot of retired people on fixed income in the county. Is it time for an inflation adjustment to the circuit breaker?

We have plenty of issues to discuss and decisions to make other than electing a president.

Thank goodness.