BOISE - Lt. Gov. Brad Little is encouraging Idahoans to vote yes on a constitutional amendment that will appear on ballots statewide on Nov. 8.
In a statement released Wednesday, Little said the amendment, called HJR 5, would provide an important check against excessive regulation, and "ensures only the lightest possible hand of government in our state."
Little's announcement comes less than a week after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced his opposition to the amendment, saying it includes a clause that would vastly expand the Idaho Legislature's power. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is also opposed to the amendment.
If approved, the proposal would amend the Idaho Constitution to allow lawmakers to reject rules created by executive branch agencies - otherwise known as a legislative veto. A similar proposal was struck down two years ago.
Little previously served in the Idaho Legislature as a state senator. The Emmett Republican filed paperwork earlier this year to run for governor in 2018.
Here is Little's full statement:
“Idaho is an example to other states and the federal government on how government should have a process that checks excessive regulation and ensures only the lightest possible hand of government in our state.
This important check is the Idaho Administrative Procedure Act. On November 8, Idaho voters will have the opportunity to protect this critical tool by securing it within Idaho’s Constitution.
I urge my fellow citizens to vote yes for HJR 5. Let me explain why.
I looked at HJR 5 through the perspective of a citizen, not a politician, as I do all government action. As a citizen, I want easily accessible legislators who respect limited government. Our legislators are ultimately accountable for the consequences— intended or unintended— of the laws they enact. We citizens exercise accountability over their efforts at the ballot box.
Two principles of government that endure from our country’s founding are constitutionalism, and checks and balances. Both help to limit the reach of government over citizens. While the executive branch enforces our laws by creating administrative rules and regulations, I am thankful our elected legislators can review these rules and ensure they comply with the intent of the law.
Unfortunately, we live in an age of bureaucratic expansionism on the federal level that often goes unchecked. The good news is that Idaho has strong checks in place to limit and inhibit overregulation we see coming out of D.C. I support HJR 5 because it helps ensure this will always be the case in Idaho.
Idaho’s citizens have unrivaled access to our government officials, which is one great aspect of Idaho. I will always opt for increased citizen engagement in the decisions of government.
The Idaho Administrative Procedure Act increases citizen participation in our checks and balances process. Why not also ensure this important process is protected in our state’s Constitution?
HJR 5 is the constitutional check on regulatory and government expansion, so join me in voting Yes for HJR 5.”