And the winners are…

By Jerry and Carrie Scheid

Carrie: Now that the Idaho Legislature has adjourned, it’s time to announce our annual BILE awards. BILE stands for Bad Idaho Legislative Efforts, aka, the worst bills of the session.
Jerry: In fact, there was so much nonsense voiced by our state legislators this year, we created a new FLUB award for Foolish Legislator Utterances and Blunders.
Carrie: The envelope please. In the Comedy Central in Idaho category, our first FLUB award goes to. …
Jerry: Rep. Vito Barbieri! During a hearing on a bill banning doctors from using telemedicine to prescribe chemically induced abortions, he asked a doctor testifying against the bill if “a woman could swallow a camera to help the doctor determine what the situation is?” She answered that it was impossible, “because when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina.” Once again, Idaho made national headlines.
Carrie: Next, in the Religious Bigotry category, the FLUB award goes to Idaho Sens. Steve Vick, Lori Den Hartog and Sheryl Nuxoll, who boycotted a Hindu prayer at the beginning of a Senate session. Senator Nuxoll’s objection was that “Hinduism is a false religion, which worships false gods.” Senator Vick was upset that Hindus “worship cows.”
Jerry: As a retired cattle rancher, I’m fine with worshipping cows.
Carrie: Finally, in the Up Yours category for rough talk, the FLUB award goes to IACI’s big business lobbyist Alex LaBeau. He’s the guy who packed eight expletives into a tirade against Sen. Siddoway, and was dumb enough to send it out in an email.
Jerry: Wow, does he still have his job?
Carrie: Yes.
Jerry: Let’s move on to the BILE awards. In the Dangerous Weapons Category, it’s a tie between,
1.) The original version of a bill that allowed anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and
2) The knife bill that said the state, not the county or local authorities, should regulate knives.
Carrie: What happened?
Jerry: The concealed weapons bill finally passed after it was revised to require permits in cities. But the knife bill failed. Goes to show you, it’s dangerous to bring a knife to a gun fight.
Carrie: Moving onto the Colossal Waste of Taxpayer Money category, the BILE award goes to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for the $60 million Idaho Education Network broadband contract fiasco.
Jerry: Isn’t that the deal where the governor’s appointed buddy, Mike Gwartney, awarded part of the broadband contract to one of the governor’s big campaign contributors, instead of Syringa, an Idaho business with the highest score and lowest bid? The courts ruled the contract was issued illegally, so the state stopped paying for those services. Now the state is being sued for millions in back payments by Education Networks of America and CenturyLink.
Carrie: Finally in the Paranoid Politics category, our worst of the worst BILE award goes to the gang of nine House representatives who voted to kill a Senate bill requiring Idaho to comply with federal child support payment regulations. Why? Because ultra-conservatives feared that because the U.S. is part of an international agreement for collecting child support, somehow Idaho could be forced to follow Shariah law or other foreign laws regarding child support. The vote was 9-8, with eastern Idaho Reps. Trujillo and Nate voting to kill the bill; Pocatello Rep. Nye did the right thing and voted yes.
Jerry: Seriously? The Department of Health & Welfare told them failure to pass the bill could cost our state up to $46 million in federal child support enforcement funds. That’s $200 million in child support affecting 155,000 Idaho households.
Jerry: Looks like the governor will have to call the Legislature back into session to fix this.
Carrie: That’s assuming they can get these legislators to come to their senses.
Jerry: I hope the Legislature remembers that one definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Jerry Scheid is a retired farmer/rancher and native Idahoan. Carrie Scheid is retired nonprofit administrator. They live in Idaho Falls.