BOISE -- A bill to nullify the federal health insurance overhaul died in an Idaho Senate committee, angering passionate supporters who chastised lawmakers leaving the hearing with taunts of 'coward.
The State Affairs Committee on Friday dumped the measure that sought to declare last year's congressional reforms void -- and require Idaho to return federal money it's already received to enact them.
The voice vote by the panel's majority -- five Republicans, two Democrats -- went against the wishes ofnearly 200 peoplewho testified during a three-hour hearing that the bill was an appropriate means of halting federal encroachment into their daily lives.
A 'yes' vote is a vote for our constitutional republic and for the people of Idaho, and more importantly it sends a message to those people in Washington that they're not shepherds and we're not sheep, saidDennis Davui who testified in favor of the bill.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill of Rexburg voted against the bill -- even though he says he and other committee members agreed with many who testified when it comes to problems with federal healthcare laws.
But he says he cast a no vote because nullification is not in the state or federal Constitution.
Although we sympathize with the goals of many of the people there, we raised our hand to the square and swore to support the Constitution and nullification just is not a constitutional process, said Hill.
Hill says the way the Constitution is written, states can challenge federal laws, but not in this way. He says the way to fight the healthcare act is through the judicial system, which Idaho is pursuing.
With the committee vote, the bill is now held there. Under legislative procedure, that same committee could take the bill back up, but Hill says with that strong of a vote against the proposed legislation, that's unlikely.