Thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...

Mexico strikes back on trade. Last week Mexico responded to Pres. Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum by imposing its own tariffs on a wide variety of products.  American potatoes and dairy products going Mexico will pay a 10-20% tariff. As the largest U.S. potato state and one of the largest dairy producers, Idaho agriculture will be hurt.

Hopefully, Trump really intends to follow through with his musings at the G-7 meeting to create a tariff-free zone between North America and Europe.  Otherwise, this is just the beginning of a course that will hurt both the U.S. and Idaho economy.

Contest for Idaho GOP chair. Reports are circulating in East Idaho that Idaho GOP chief Jonathan Parker may face a challenge from recently defeated State Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg). If so, that contest will be decided at the Idaho Republican convention in Pocatello at the end of June (which is featuring Oliver North as a guest speaker). Presumably, Parker has the upper hand.  But, will other candidates enter the race?

Will the May primary results trigger changes? Several Idaho commentators and political leaders are floating various reforms to Idaho’s electoral system.  Two proposals are most common: 1) Require a runoff election between the top two primary candidates or, 2) Institute a top two-candidate system where the top two vote getters -- regardless of party -- end up on the general election ballot.

The trigger is the outcome of the Republican primaries for governor and lieutenant governor.  The idea is that a Little/Labrador runoff or a McGeachin/Yates general election would have been more representative of Idaho voters than the May 15 splintering between multiple candidates.

For instance, some Raul Labrador supporters believe that he could have won in a head-to-head match-up with Brad Little. The contrary argument is that Tommy Ahlquist supporters were more likely to back a “more mainstream” candidate like Little over “hard-right” Labrador.

Others are intrigued by a California or Washington style system where the top two primary vote getters face off in November.  Under that system, two Republicans – Little and Labrador --- would square off in the general election because both obtained more votes than the Democratic candidate, Paulette Jordan (Labrador exceeded her vote total by 50%).

My own personal preference would be a requirement that primary nominees obtain 50% of the vote in their party’s primary election.  If no candidate met that threshold, I would hold a runoff election between the top two four weeks later, ie. in mid-June.

Fake CBD oil products & Idaho. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 52 people were sickened by fake CBD oil products originating from an undetermined source in Utah between October 2017 to January 2018.

Of note, some Idaho legislators have pushed to legalize CBD oil products.  The CDC encourages state regulation of such product to avoid future injuries. Utah has legalized CBD oil but requires testing, regulatory oversight and restricted access. Idaho legislators may want to explore Utah’s approach on the issue.

Latest Doyle Beck lawsuit. Idaho Falls businessman Doyle Beck is drawing lots of head shaking in the Idaho Falls area for his latest lawsuit. It specifies no named defendants but targets five “Does”, or parties to be determined.  Is this some sort of fishing expedition, somewhat like his infamous “secret society” suit that was dismissed a couple years back or is something else going on?

The asserted factual basis is a website (www.Idahoconservatives.com) which allegedly defamed Beck for referencing his taping a few years back of then-Idaho GOP chair Steve Yates and sharing the video on YouTube.  Beck asserts that the website implied he had engaged in illegal conduct. I’m not seeing that based on the referenced statements, but I’m intrigued to see this one develop.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..