Some weeks ago, I wrote here at length about the idiocy of the Idaho Legislature, ignoring sound legal advice and rushing headlong into expensive and immovable legal walls. Well, boys and girls, the current crop is carrying on that fine old, taxpayer underwritten tradition.

Idaho has a very competent GOP Attorney General in Lawrence Wasden who’s garnered national accolades from peers in other states and has an enviable track record of legal accuracy. He’s surrounded himself with a competent staff of lawyers whose collective backgrounds assure well-researched, sound legal responses to Idaho officials who ask for help.

Problem is, the Legislature often asks for his advice just before members decide to ignore it. So, over the years … even before Wasden … legislative types have cost Idaho taxpayers millions in court loses in a string of legal defeats. And, as they say, “the beat goes on.”

In a year when the only thing that should be on the plate is budgetary matters, the Idaho group is getting itself embroiled in the non-political topic of abortion. Yes again. Details of this particular waste of time aren’t important here. Suffice it to say the A.G. has warned them officially they’re going down a bad road and, more than likely, will lose in the end. After, of course, another court fight and more tax dollars thrown at it. The physician/legislator who sought the advice agreed with the decision but not the rest of the pack. So the outside Idaho Attorney Retirement Act, funded by the taxpayer, is alive and well.

Then there was the issue of “nullification” when the body decided to tell the feds Idaho wouldn’t abide by the new health care laws. A. G. said “You’ve got another loser here.” One house passed it overwhelmingly before wiser political heads intervened. Outside attorneys were already salivating.

Oh, and the guns. A few legislative NRA types have a bill headed to approval to allow concealed weapons on all university and college campuses. The schools have shouted “NO.” The response? “Damned liberals. No sense of the need for personal protection.”

Boise State University could be especially affected. Several facilities on its campus are used for major sporting events and national touring musicians and shows. Things like the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships. Shows by Garth Brooks, Elton John, Reba McIntyre and others.

The NCAA clearly says in it’s rules: “Firearms and explosives of any kind not permitted.” Same language, more or less, in the performer’s contracts. No. None. Period.

So BSU stands to lose big bucks because nobody’s rule banning guns is going to override state law. Kids can drink the beer, carry the guns and that’s it! Interesting note here: the BSU lobbyist who’s saying “no” the loudest is a former, long time GOP Speaker of the Idaho House where his old companions slam-dunked the bill. Also interesting that the same Legislature is cutting BSU’s state revenue. Double hit.

Legislative deep thinkers have also eliminated $35 million in Medicaid spending. Smart? No, dumb! Idaho gets back more federal dollars than it pays out … about $2 fed for every $1 state. So, cutting $35 million costs the state an additional $73 million. Nearly $100 million gone from elder care, home care (a bargain for the buck when compared with institutions) and all other Medicaid spending.

So, at what cost the $35 million savings? Ask any county commissioner about indigent medical bills as payer-of-last-resort. Ask any sheriff about people who should be institutionalized but who are dangerous on the street. Those that do get institutional care will cost more because their care will be more expensive. And every dollar … every one … will be an Idaho tax dollar because there’ll be no federal underwriting. Finally, ask the care-giver and family.

The state is also estimating 1,000 people will be laid off as a result of the action. That’ll cost the state in unemployment claims at a Dept. Of Labor already in the red and mooching other federal bucks.

Reduced care. Much more costly care. Higher unemployment. But as one legislator said in debate for the winning side, “We don’t need no more federal dollars in Idaho.”

Well, boys and girls, I’ll keep an eye on the upcoming, losing legal battles of our neighboring state. And of the effects of alcohol and concealed guns on their university and college grounds. And I’ll try to total the dollars lost as major sporting events and national performers fly over …and not into … Idaho.

The suffering of those who lost their freedom, dignity and independence in the Medicaid “savings?” The local governments hit with yet another fiscal whammy? Who will add all that up? Nobody in the Idaho Legislature, I’d bet. After all, they sure showed those feds!

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