THUMBS DOWN: To Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, who keeps floating odd legislation this session. Her latest is a bill taken whole cloth from the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, to give sheriffs and county commissioners the power to declare federal land within the boundaries of their counties a “public nuisance.”
It’s nothing more than a symbolic protest of federal ownership and control of 60 percent of Idaho’s land mass. Nuxoll is also the lawmaker who refused to attend an opening prayer of the legislature last year by a Hindu cleric because she said it represented “false gods,” called for a special session of the legislature to stop Muslim immigrants from coming to the Gem State and pushed to make the bible a public school staple.
We’re beginning to wonder if Nuxoll is the real public nuisance.
THUMBS UP: To presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for visiting Idaho ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic caucuses here.
Thousands showed up for his rally at Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, and we expect even greater attendance Monday for his rally in Boise.
Sanders’ message has definitely resonated with many here in Idaho, and it’s refreshing to see people engaged in the political process because of his candidacy.
Thus far, we have not heard that Sanders’ Democratic primary opponent Hillary Clinton will be visiting the Gem State before Tuesday’s caucuses.
THUMBS UP: To School District 25 and Pocatello police for taking Wednesday morning’s report of a machete-wielding man near two city schools seriously.
The School District smartly locked down both Pocatello High School and Irving Middle School after police received a 911 call about the alleged machete-wielding man trying to gain entry into a residence in the area of the two schools.
Police quickly converged on the Old Town area to secure the schools and find the suspect. Officers eventually found the man who reportedly had the machete but he was unarmed. After some investigating, police determined the initial report they received via the 911 call was unfounded.
Still, it’s good to know that our local school officials and police take any threat to student safety very seriously.
THUMBS UP: To the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for turning down a proposal to increase the number of big game and trophy auction tags. The tags would have been sold to raise funds for department programs, but opponents feared it would have impacted other hunting.
THUMBS DOWN: To the Idaho Senate following on the Idaho House by raising the property taxes on ordinary homeowners by diluting the Homeowners Exemption. The Lewiston Tribune says the exemption exempts half the assessed value of a home worth up to $189,400 but next year the cap is expected to reach $200,000 and be frozen.
THUMBS UP: To the Idaho Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee for approving school funding bills that would boost the total K12 education budget to $1.9 billion — a 7.4 percent increase matching last year’s.
A chunk of the increase, or $9.1 million, would be used to increase literacy for Idaho students with the potential option of funding full-day kindergarten for local school districts who decided that’s the best way to increase literacy.
Although the K-12 budget increase matches last year’s, it is less than the 7.9 increase percent recommended by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter or the 7.6 percent increase suggested by State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra.