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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 1 - 7, 2003


Idaho’s family-unfriendly Legislature

A pattern of conduct continues to emerge largely among the Idaho Legislature’s Republican majority—putting the squeeze on social services that touch families.

The unhappy suspicion is that lawmaker mischief is more than just tightwad budgeting. Instead, an ideological hostility seems to be at work.

The most recent victim is Idaho Planned Parenthood, which is quitting its participation in a federal family planning program in exasperation.

The group’s president, Rebecca Poedy, says Planned Parenthood simply anticipates the Legislature’s renewed attempt to force the organization to quit accepting federal funds. Moreover, she expects anti-abortion GOP lawmakers to impose new rules that make Planned Parenthood’s contractual work even more impossible.

The current contract expired at the end of September.

So, who then will care for 8,000 low-income women that Planned Parenthood had been serving?

Dictating the legislative agenda from the sidelines, Idaho Chooses Life anti-abortion advocate David Ripley is joyous. But like so many anti-abortion crusaders, Ripley talks and demonstrates a lot but does little to care for women in need of family planning.

Along with family planning, public education is another hapless victim of legislative ideologues.

For years, schools have been shortchanged: Defiant lawmakers, who claim to be strict law-and-order adherents, have ignored a judge’s landmark ruling that orders state funding of school repairs.

The reckless Idaho tax cut that drained the treasury, and now is used as an excuse for starving state programs, has eerie parallels in President Bush’s deficit-exploding strategy that has created a $500 billion deficit this year and excuses that federal programs—except for the military and "anti-terrorism" agencies—must be placed on rations.

Ominous warnings continue to be ignored. One of the darkest came last week from University of Idaho professor James Foster, who told state Senate Education chairman Gary Schroeder that "the message I’ve been getting is that education is doomed in the state of Idaho. I sense hostility toward K through 12 especially."

And to what end? Idaho can’t possibly benefit from needy women unserved by family planning and public schools existing as paupers.

Which public program is next on the GOP’s chopping block?



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.