BOISE -- There are about three weeks left in the legislative session and this past week several hot topics came to the forefront. From controversy over the agriculture security bill, to debates on guns on campus, and another appearance at the Capitol from the Adds the Words group, it was a big week at the Legislature.
Guns on Campus
The House State Affairs Committee sat through a seven hour hearing Friday on Senate Bill 1254.
The testimony was overwhelmingly in opposition to the bill, but it really didn't seem to have much of an impact, said KTVB political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby. It was a party line vote, the bill came out and it, no doubt, is destined for passage on the floor of the House.
Weatherby said with the Republican primary right around the corner he expects this bill to make it easily to the governor's desk.
I see no reason why, given the politics of this issue, that it will not pass and become law, Weatherby said.
Agriculture Security Bill
Friday afternoon, Gov. Butch Otter signed Senate Bill 1337, the agriculture security bill, into law.
Weatherby said those in the agriculture industry are concerned, adding that there are animal rights groups and activists who are really out to destroy the industry and through their films showing abuse could threaten the property and livelihood of dairy producers.
This issue had some strong opposition, too.
There are those who say that these kinds of abuses need to be exposed, said Weatherby.
Add the Words
This week saw another appearance from Add the Words protesters. This time, about four dozen people blocked committee rooms, resulting in another round of arrests and it has some starting to question whether this is helping or hurting their cause.
There are various ways to lobby legislation, said Weatherby. The powerful only have to symbolically whisper in the ear of a few legislators and they can get their legislation through. Those who are on the outside, who don't have power and do not have the influence that well-entrenched interest groups have, have to make noise.
Weatherby said the silver lining is individual cities in Idaho are passing their own non-discrimination measures.