And in the end, hysteria triumphs in Idaho Legislature

” . . . our Legislature has completely abandoned reasoned discourse.”

Editorial basically says Idaho legislature has gone bonkers. And in the end, hysteria triumphs in Idaho Legislature. Magic Valley (Twin Falls, ID) Times-News.

Most of the comment on the blog has been about what happens to the wolves, but my take has also been if they pass crazy legislation like this in the Idaho legislature, can you imagine what other laws must be like? As they say, “when the legislature is in session, lock your gate and prepare to protect your life and property.”

I have been thinking about this and all the other frightening things the legislature has done this year (fortunately not to me directly). Sane Idahoans need to organize or they will lose their freedom, property, and many other rights.  Because it is such a Republican state by tradition, there might have to be a third party.

The legislature also just closed their primary election (that is they will now only allow registered Republicans to vote in it). The effect of this is to permanently lock craziness in power because independents and Democrats will have no say in who the Republicans nominate for office. In Idaho the winner of a primary election is pretty much the one who will win in November. Otherwise, the only hope is reform from within the Republican Party.

Will the (bighorn) “kill bill” mean an end of collaborationism in Idaho?

If Otter signs the bill, many think it will kill more than bighorn sheep-

It seems the preponderance of views in this forum is against collaboration in the Northern Rockies because it doesn’t work to really protect the outdoors and wildlife. Nevertheless, sitting down, holding hands, and talking has a lot or verbal support among Idaho’s media and many politicians.

Rocky Barker, who has in generally supported collabortion, has an article in today’s Statesman indicating the “kill bill” might put an end to this.

Will Idaho’s sheep bill mean the end of collaboration? Otter’s plan to bring all sides together to resolve conflicts over bighorns could collapse if he signs the measure. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Note: Ken Cole posted this link earlier as a comment.

Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group Waiting for Governor Otter

If SB1175 is signed into law collaborative group may collapse

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Today there was meeting of the Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group which ended early due to concerns of various groups about how Senate Bill 1175 will affect what the group does.

At the present time SB1175 is awaiting Governor Otter’s signature or veto and no-one is sure where he stands. The Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group was formed at the behest of the Governor to address how to protect both bighorn sheep and domestic sheep but many in the group fear that SB1175 subverts this process and defines the policy of the State of Idaho without the input of all parties.

At the beginning of the meeting Senator Jeff Siddoway, a Republican sheep rancher from Terreton, Idaho and sponsor of SB 1175, was in attendance and was asked to describe what the bill does and to answer other questions. He seemed, to my eyes, uncertain about many of the aspects of the bill and could not answer some pointed questions about it such as what is meant by “appropriate separation” between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep and what exactly is meant by this passage:

It is the policy of the state of Idaho that existing sheep or livestock operations in the area of any bighorn sheep transplant or relocation are recognized and that the potential risk, if any, of disease transmission and loss of bighorn sheep when the same invade domestic livestock or sheep operations is accepted

Specifically, what is meant by transplanted or relocated sheep? Does this refer to sheep that will be transplanted or relocated or does it refer to sheep that have been transplanted or relocated.  Also, what does recognizing existing sheep or livestock operations in affected areas mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Marvel says bighorn bill helps his cause the most

“It correctly constructs in the public eye the clash of values we are experiencing”

Bighorn Sheep ©Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep ©Ken Cole

Rocky Barker interviews Jon Marvel (my boss) of Western Watersheds Project about the recent bill SB 1175 which requires the IDFG to kill bighorn sheep that enter domestic sheep grazing allotments.

“The legislature is creating a trap for ranchers and the state as a whole,” Marvel said. “The state will begin to lose sovereignty over wildlife.”

Marvel says bighorn bill helps his cause the most
Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

Old line extractive occupations dominate key Idaho legislative committee

No committee of the Idaho state legislature have more influence over wildife than than the Senate and the House Resource and Conservation Committees. A look at the occupations of those on the committees show they represent an Idaho of days gone by.

This kind of occupational, and so viewpoint unrepresentativeness, is fairly common in legislatures, but many would say the figures below are dramatic. You should also notice the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Here is the rooster of the committees:

Idaho House Resource and Conservation Committee

Republicans

Chair John A. Stevenson (semi-retired farmer)
Vice Chair Paul E. Shepherd (Partner/Manager, Shepherd Sawmill & Log Homes)
JoAn E. Wood (Partner farm/ranch)
Maxine T. Bell (Retired Farmer/Retired School Librarian)
Lenore Hardy Barrett (mining, investments)
Mike Moyle (Agribusiness)
George E. Eskridge (Real Estate)
Dell Raybould (Farmer/Businessman)
Scott Bedke (Rancher)
Ken Andrus (Cattle and sheep rancher)

Read the rest of this entry »

Sheepman/elk farmer Siddoway’s bill to kill bighorn in domestic sheep areas advances

Bill passes key State Senate committee 7-2-

The bighorn is in big trouble in Idaho with the population dropping from 6,500 in 1990 to about 3,500 today. One full curl bighorn ram can be worth as much as an entire band of sheep.

Bill would prohibit bighorns in sheep grazing areas. AP

In an April 4 article in the Lewiston Tribune (subscription only)reporters Bill Spence And Eric Barker wrote that Hells Canyon on the Idaho/Oregon/Washington border once had about 10,000 bighorn, but it has dwindled to just 875 today.

Almost all biologists believe that the presence of domestic sheep near bighorn results in lethal pneumonia for the bighorn. A number of courts cases in Idaho federal courts the last several years favoring bighorn has caused a furious reaction among sheep operators.

I find it amazing that wolves get so much attention when it is bighorn in danger, not elk, although elk farms are a likely danger to elk due to the advancing front of chronic wasting disease and other pathogens.
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Note that yesterday, Siddoway abstained from voting on the bill.

Another Idaho Anti-Bighorn Attempt Falls

Rancher and Idaho state senator Jeff C. Siddoway

Rancher and Idaho state senator Jeff C. Siddoway

Yesterday I posted a review (with a little help from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office) about Idaho Senate Bill 1124, an anti-wildlife bill sponsored by rancher Monty Pearce that seeks to punish bighorn-sheep conservation efforts.

Today, the Idaho state Senate Resources & Environment Committee considered another anti-bighorn sheep attempt.  RS18882 was draft legislation, introduced to the committee by another domestic sheep rancher and Idaho state senator Jeff C. Siddoway.

Idaho not liable for sheep rancher lossesAP

RS18882 :

provides that domestic sheep and livestock operators will be held harmless from adverse impacts by the State of Idaho; provides for control of certain bighorn by the Director; and the shared veterinarian program between IDA and IDFG be dissolved.

The exact language of the legislation is not available because the draft legislation was rejected by the committee before becoming a bill. Read the rest of this entry »