The Legislature’s 2021 theme song should be an adaptation of a song titled “Merry Minuet,” popularized by the Kingston Trio in the 1950s and ’60s.
Composed by lyricist Sheldon Harnick, it’s a tongue-in-cheek Who’s Who of hate. Its punchline is, “And I don’t like anybody very much.”
That sentiment is driving lawmaking this session and has produced a remarkably long list of bills that would punish the objects of right-wing Republican legislators’ disdain.
Two bills would strip the Idaho governor of the power to put emergency declarations in place beyond 60 days and for any reason beyond the retention of federal funding. Most legislators hated Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home orders to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
They are also heaping contempt upon Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. He has often enraged fellow Republicans by telling them to follow the law, warning that unconstitutional measures would be defeated in court, and failing to hew to political litmus tests. A bill would defund his office and allow state agencies to hire expensive private attorneys instead.
Public art, wolves and mountain lions really rankle the legislators. One bill would restrict local funding for such art, while other bills back efforts to nearly eliminate wolves and mountain lions in the wild.
Legislators axed Powerball jackpots because of the “suspect” expansion to Australia and Britain. That vote also deprived public schools of $14 million they receive from the game every year.
Voter initiatives, clean water, regional health departments, marijuana and public preschool are also in legislators’ sights.
They just don’t like anybody very much this year.
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