Idaho legislators aren’t trying to fix real problems

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Unfortunately, with the state Legislature in session, we’re already seeing some of our so-called representatives creating new problems while ignoring actual issues.

First up? Paying for Medicaid expansion. After our Legislature provided a masterclass in doing nothing for six years, the people finally took matters into their own hands and passed Medicaid expansion by a wide margin. All the state Legislature had to do was implement and fund it.

Gov. Little put forth a reasonable proposal to make that happen. Our legislators could have reviewed some of the billions in sales tax exemptions. But, instead, some legislators are suggesting that a property tax hike be implemented instead. Such a suggestion is nothing more than an effort to punish voters and create new problems. It’s cynical in the extreme.

Speaking of things that work just fine and don’t need to be fixed, expect a bruising battle over the redistricting commission. Idaho is one of the few states that do this well — for now. We have an independent commission. As Idahoans, we value independence, plain-dealing and practicality.

Unfortunately, those who represent us increasingly show that they are not interested in those things. Instead, they are interested in what serves them best personally. Some of our legislators are poised to push getting rid of our independent commission in favor of a system that would lead to gerrymandering.

If you think some of our districts are weird now, just wait until some of our so-called leaders get through with it. They’re hoping to be in a position where they can choose their voters and consolidate their power, rather than risk being held accountable by the people they’re supposed to serve.

And, finally, let’s not forget about the initiative process. We’ve got a system now that’s challenging enough that relatively few initiatives make it through. However, it’s one that citizens can utilize when the problem — like healthcare access — is dire enough. It’s tough to get an initiative passed, but doable.

Right now, the initiative system isn’t broken. There’s no reason to “fix” it. But our legislators are probably going to do their best to make it impossible for citizens to rectify problems. It’s a sad commentary on the state of things that our legislators are less interested in moving forward with addressing true issues and more interested in “teaching us a lesson.”

Sadly, it looks like this legislative session is shaping up to be another in which we have to pay close attention. It’s unfortunate that so many of our “representatives” are inventing problems rather than actually taking on the challenges we face as a state.