Are lawmakers dooming the state to being known as I-duh-ho?
Two news reports out of Idaho's state capital should make taxpayers wonder whether state legislators care about their duty to deal with real problems.
First, there's news that state Rep. Steven Thayn, an Emmett farmer with eight children, is hoping to enact laws providing incentives for mothers to remain home as they did in the 1950s, rather than working. His group's first recommendation: repeal the no-fault divorce law.
This would be a bonanza, of course, for lawyers who'd spend hours before a judge and collect handsome fees arguing infidelity, adultery, abuse, abandonment and who knows what other allegations instead of allowing quick, low-cost, no-fault divorces involving the same elements. Meanwhile, mothers could be trapped in a toxic environment of marital hostility with husbands they don't want.
Second, there's this: Only 26 percent of Idaho's 18-to-24 year-olds enter college, compared to 42 percent for states such as Michigan and Connecticut. Idaho was ranked with South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi—at the bottom of the list. And, Idaho is 46th among the states with tuition aid for students from low-income families.
This seems to be the pattern of the Republican-controlled Idaho Legislature's enmity toward education. It has spent the past 10 years ignoring a court order to repair the state's aging schools and now trumps that with indifference to declining college enrollment by Idaho students.
So, while real issues requiring real 21st century solutions await legislative attention, Rep. Thayn and others of like-minded distraction dither about returning to the make-believe TV days of Ozzie and Harriet.