Chad Christensen

The 2022 legislative session has begun. The Legislature did convene in November. The House did pass legislation to attempt to stop forced vaccinations upon employees. The House passed Rep. Ron Mendive’s bill that would prohibit an employer from asking if an employee had been vaccinated or not. This bill would have made it illegal for an employer to mandate that an employee show proof of being vaccinated or proof of other medical procedures.

Rep. Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, stated to the Senate State Affairs Committee that we shouldn’t have to bring legislation such as this, and the U.S. Constitution already addresses it. However, he did not mean it wouldn’t do any good to bring it. Some legislators misrepresented his words.

The Senate State Affairs Committee killed this bill. Not one senator on this committee made a motion for it to go to the Senate floor, thus leaving Idahoans unprotected from these employer health mandates. I am certainly an advocate for business rights, but businesses have no place meddling in people’s personal health, especially forcing a medical treatment that has left many people physically harmed or no longer living. Individual rights need to be protected first and foremost before business rights.

On Jan. 10, Gov. Brad Little gave his State of the State address. We have $1.9 billion in tax surplus. I do not like the fact that the state has this nest egg of the people’s money. $1.9 billion is 40 percent of Idaho’s normal annual budget. I will be doing all that I can to return this money to the people through gasoline tax breaks, income tax breaks and the elimination of grocery sales tax. We are one of the very few states that taxes grocery sales.

I have signed onto the Conservative Agenda, as I did last year. The items listed on this agenda are to ensure election integrity, medical freedom and privacy, education freedom, family-parents-religious rights, keep businesses open, defend our Second Amendment, property tax relief/repeal, grocery tax repeal, gasoline tax cut/suspension, income tax reduction, restrict reliance on the federal government, restore the proper separation of powers, less discretionary spending by the executive branch, no new government programs and control the state budget. Our strong conservative legislators and I are bringing many bills to support these items. Thirty-one legislators out of 105 have signed onto this agenda. I ask you to help persuade Sen. Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs, and Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, to sign onto this agenda. We need their help.

I am bringing a bill that deals with predatory sex offenders. I know I am frustrated with convicted sex offenders receiving a slap on the wrist and I know many of you are as well. This bill gives these sex offender convicts five years mandatory prison time. These convictions include aggravated sexual battery, sex abuse of a child under 16, lewd conduct with a minor under 16, sexual battery of a minor child 16 or 17, rape and forcible penetration with a foreign object. This bill also gives sex offenders one-year mandatory prison time if they fail to register as a sex offender. It also gives them 90 days mandatory for violating laws dealing with forbidden employment and moving too close to a school or daycare. A top priority of mine is to protect our children from these predators.

This column was written by state Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon.