Legislative Round-Up: Chasing Harassers to the End of the Earth

First, reviewing the text of Rep. Steve Hartgen’s (R-Twin Falls) bill on online harassment, I find it fairly reasonable and a far cry from Hartgen’s winter anonymous blogging ban. For the most part, it simply takes existing telephone harassment laws and applies them to the Internet. I don’t see any reason for there to be a difference. As a blogger who has dealt with Cyber-harassment in the past, I find this bill to be a good idea overall. My only problem, the last section:

(5) An offense enumerated in this section is committed in the state 1 of Idaho for purposes of determining jurisdiction if the transmission that constitutes the offense either originates in or is received in the state of Idaho.

Do we really want to have the responsibility of trying to extradite someone from New Jersey for Cyberharassing someone in Idaho?  This need reworked or maybe there’s some reason for it I don’t understand.

Rep. Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow) has introduced legislation to give the kids of charter school teachers preference in getting some of the few spots available in charter schools. I understand the sentiment behind this as often these teachers help start the charters in many cases, but with a limited number of charters isn’t this only further restricting opportunity for everybody else?

Idaho communities that lack a good primary doctor may get help under S 1076 which would help by making it possible for them to take advantage of the J1 Visa program which allows foreign doctors to enter the country on the condition they spend several years working in s community that can’t find an American doctor.

Sharon Fisher has a must read piece on how the Idaho Tax Commission’s convenience fees are actually costing the state money. I also think she raises some good questions about Idaho’s Debit Card vendor, “Access Idaho” which seems to be charging the state a considerable amount.

DFO notes that Governor Otter is beating the drums for a gas tax increase,  and writes:

“North Idahoans overwhelmingly oppose an increase in gas taxes and vehicle registrations to fix roads. Yet, Otter is moving ahead with a package of bills that includes these things. Is he tone death when it comes to North Idaho? Or doesn’t he care what we think?”

Actually, I think the Governor is out of step with the times on this. A month ago, I thought this could fly, but there is really no appetite to raise taxes right now. The Governor’s efforts are ham-handed at best at the moment. It’s time to let go and turn the page. I can’t possibly imagine legislators signing on for this, particularly in the State House.

I agree with the idea that Mike Moyle proposed of having the legislature leave town and then return when they know more about the State’s shortfalls. The situation is changing so rapidly that there’s a serious possibility that the legislation they pass could miss the mark completely as to what exactly is going on. Without knowing the state’s exact needs, it seems like our legislature is legislating blind and just guessing the best it can without any clue as to how much money we’re going to deal with as well as what our share of the Intergenerational Theft Act will be.