A new law passed this legislative session may allow Idahoans to have a larger voice in federal land management. This law deemed the “Federalism Bill,” appoints a group of legislators to help chart a better path for cooperative efforts between the federal government and its citizens. I have been asked to serve as a part of that group.
Our state and federal governments are built on a system of checks and balances, but Idaho’s relationship with the federal government is unbalanced, and there are only a few ways for us to keep the federal government in check. That ends now with our new Committee on Federalism. I, along with the other committee members, will be dedicated to advising and solving federal issues here in our state.
The committee will be part watchdog, and it will foster improved cooperation between our Idaho and federal leaders. That should help everyone by making families safer, creating jobs and improving the health of our forests and rivers. Eighty percent of District 7 is owned by the federal government, but that land is mixed in with state and private property, so any decisions made by bureaucrats in Washington D.C. affect us here, 2,500 miles away. It is time we have a bigger say in the future of Idaho.
I will join with four other members of Idaho’s Senate and five members from Idaho’s House to review any and all federal acts, laws and regulations that may impact our jurisdiction, governance and sovereignty. This group will address a wide range of issues, including health care, education, transportation, federal lands and agriculture.
The federal government has its fingers in a lot of Idaho pies, and its decisions affect your life, work and play every day. We will determine if those decisions adhere to the principles set forth in the U.S. Constitution. We will work in cooperation with the governor and report regularly to the full Legislature. A sunset clause is in place with the intent for us to wrap up in two years or allow us to continue based on outcome-driven results.
At the very birth of our great country, federalism was a compromise between the states and the U.S. government. It is still a compromise, and a balancing act: our great nation’s way of preserving its independence, while allowing states like Idaho to avoid federal overreach and outright totalitarianism. This committee will continue the vision of our forefathers with a new focus on cooperation. Because, let’s face it, we know what is best for Idaho.