Voters in Bonneville County likely are not aware of the degree of extremism of representatives Chad Christensen in District 32 and Barbara Ehardt and Bryan Zollinger in District 33. To provide an index, these legislators voted with extremist north Idaho representative Heather Scott against 40 bills that eventually became law — in addition to voting with her in favor of other legislation including two transgender bills now the most discriminatory transgender laws in the country. Christensen’s votes aligned with Scott to an even greater degree, voting with Scott against another 29 bills that became law.
Christensen voted with Scott against funding for the departments of Health and Welfare, Commerce, Environmental Quality, Transportation, and Corrections, and the State Controller. Christensen apparently has a problem with K–12 public education, voting with Scott against funding for the salaries of public school teachers and staff, public school operations including bus transportation, and children’s programs for literacy proficiency. Christensen also voted with Scott against funding for the Idaho Historical Society. Christensen alone voted against funding for the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Commission on Aging, the Species Conservation Program, and the Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
All four voted against the Idaho Patient Act backed by Frank Vandersloot to require providers to give 45-days’ notice of medical care charges and cap attorney’s fees in medical debt. It should be noted that Attorney Zollinger represents Medical Recovery Services in medical debt collection cases. They also voted against controlling e-cigarettes and vaping supplies the same as tobacco, requiring 30 days’ written notice by landlords before rent increases or lease terminations, and raising the home value exemption in bankruptcies from $100,000 to $150,000.
They voted against the long-awaited statewide ban on handheld cell phone use while driving, strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to control prescription opioids, and establishing the voluntary Yellow DOT program, which will provide participants with a yellow dot decal to put on their cars and medical information for their glove compartments to alert emergency responders of existing health conditions in the event a driver becomes incapacitated, to improve response time during the key “golden hour.” All four also voted against continuation into 2030 of the Small Employer Incentive Act allowing tax credits for small businesses creating new jobs and making property improvements.
The May 19th primary and general elections give Bonneville County voters the opportunity to replace these legislators, who have opposed legislation important for our quality of life in Idaho.