A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...

Medicaid expansion supporters vastly outspent opponents. Here is a number to remember.  Proponents of Proposition 2, the Medicaid expansion measure, outspent their opponents 26-1, roughly $1.6 million to $60,000.  That is according to the latest reports filed with the Idaho Secretary of State.

Is it possible that opponents realized they couldn’t win at the ballot box and that a court fight (the recently filed lawsuit) was their only viable approach? If so, that might explain their minimal efforts during the campaign.

Report still missing from Proposition 1 opponents. One campaign finance report that is now a week overdue is the one for Idaho United Against Prop 1, the successful opponents of the horse racing/gambling measure. The primary funding source had been the Coeur D’Alene Tribe in previous financial disclosures. The tribe poured in millions of dollars. It is odd that this high spending group hasn’t filed yet.

2020 primary calendar could minimize Idaho’s role. The Idaho presidential primary is now set for March 10, 2020.  But, the week before will feature a whole set of primaries, including California and Texas and seven other states.  The next week Idaho will be grouped with five other states, including Ohio.  Worse, a whole bunch of states have not yet locked in their 2020 dates yet and could jump these same windows.

Idaho’s influence on the process is likely to be minimal unless it can move earlier, but that could clash with the rules of both parties.

Idaho and Interior Secretary turnover. Interior Ryan Zinke is departing because of ethical issues.  As a Montana resident, Zinke was a neighbor of our state and could be pitched as such on Idaho issues.  Two of his possible replacements could also be friendly to Idaho.  One candidate is recently defeated Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller.  The other one is Utah Congressman Rob Bishop. Both are LDS and from neighboring states.  Other candidates are in play.

Rural economic angst. Last week’s New York Times had an interesting story on the 60 million Americans who live in rural areas.  For the past quarter center, that part of country has been in a substantial economic decline. Those areas of the U.S. have falling population, less worker productivity, low incomes and an aging population, with a median age 7 years older than the rest of the country.

This describes much of Idaho’s less populated counties.  Key proposals to reverse these trends include boosting worker skills, expanding broadband service and growing available investment capital. Sounds like an agenda item for the 2019 Idaho Legislature. . .

Texas decision could impact Idaho Medicaid expansion. Late last week, a Texas federal judge struck down the Affordable Care Act. The basis was two-fold. The first was a determination that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and the second was that provision was integral, therefore allowing the striking of the entire statute. This will be appealed. But, if upheld, it would gut Idaho’s Medicaid expansion.

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..