The Idaho Way: Firing squad is barbaric. Gov. Little has good reasons to veto bill

By Scott McIntosh, opinion editor

The Idaho Way is a weekly roundup of opinions, commentary and letters to the editor to encourage conversation on topics important to Idahoans. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend, and they can sign up here.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has a tough decision to make: Whether to sign or veto a bill that would make the firing squad a required method of execution if the state is unable to procure the drugs needed for lethal injection in death penalty cases.

Scott McIntosh is the Idaho Statesman’s opinion editor.
Scott McIntosh is the Idaho Statesman’s opinion editor.

Little has some very good reasons to veto the bill.

It’s expensive and his own department doesn’t want it. It might even end up delaying executions even more if a challenge of the firing squad ties up Idaho in the courts.

Further, it’s barbaric.

But even if Little doesn’t buy into the argument of the brutality and barbarity of a firing squad, he has other, very good conservative reasons to oppose it.

Read our full editorial here on how Gov. Little could make a case to veto the firing squad.

Meridian morality police’s new argument

Michael Hon, representing Concerned Citizens of Meridian, addresses the Ada County Commission, Monday, March 20, 2023, during a public hearing on placing a library district dissolution question on the November ballot for voters. Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman
Michael Hon, representing Concerned Citizens of Meridian, addresses the Ada County Commission, Monday, March 20, 2023, during a public hearing on placing a library district dissolution question on the November ballot for voters. Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

Based on the testimony Monday night before the Ada County commissioners to dissolve the Meridian Library District, it’s clear that this is not a serious effort and shouldn’t be taken seriously by county commissioners.

Of course, the idea to dissolve the library district over some books that a small group of people don’t like is ridiculous right from the start.

But at Monday night’s meeting, one of the group’s organizers said they want to dissolve the district and then turn around and form a new one.

“If our petition is successful, we will immediately submit our next petition to reestablish the library district,” said Michael Hon, a former candidate for Meridian City Council and one of the members of “Concerned Citizens of Meridian,” who brought the petition to put a dissolution vote on the ballot.

Read our full editorial here on why that strategy is a colossal waste of time.

Idaho solicitor general

Theo Wold, inset, is the Idaho solicitor general in the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
Theo Wold, inset, is the Idaho solicitor general in the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

The issue of whether Idaho Solicitor General Theo Wold has a license to practice law in Idaho has been floating around the Capitol ever since he was appointed solicitor general in November. The question rose to the surface last week, when Rep. Ned Burns, D-Bellevue, raised the issue on the House floor, where representatives sent the Attorney General’s Office’s budget back for revisions.

Well, does the solicitor general have a license to practice law in Idaho?

I asked him.

Here’s what he told me.

Childbirth services discontinued

Bonner General Health’s hospital in Sandpoint, in North Idaho. Provided by The Spokesman-Review
Bonner General Health’s hospital in Sandpoint, in North Idaho. Provided by The Spokesman-Review

Last week, Bonner General Health, Sandpoint’s only hospital, announced that it will soon cease delivering babies. No new obstetrics patients are being accepted, effective immediately. The hospital cited multiple reasons for the decision which lawmakers do not control, including the local cost of living. But there was one factor squarely in the Legislature’s wheelhouse. “The Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care,” the hospital said in a press release. “Consequences for Idaho physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines.”

Read our full editorial here on how Idaho’s abortion law has claimed its first casualty.

Freedom — to send doctors to jail

Sen. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, speaks during the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Capitol Clarity event on March 18 Bryan Clark/Idaho Statesman
Sen. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, speaks during the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Capitol Clarity event on March 18 Bryan Clark/Idaho Statesman

Idaho Statesman opinion writer Bryan Clark attended a recent “Capitol Clarity” event put on by the Idaho Freedom Foundation to see what all the freedom was about.

“I thought we believed in a patient-doctor relationship. So why is the government stepping in and telling these doctors that they can’t do that (administer drugs they believe are effective) to their patients?” asked Sen. Tammy Nichols at the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s “Capitol Clarity” event on Thursday.

That’s a decent argument, Clark writes. It just sounds a little strange coming from the mouth of a lawmaker who is in the midst of promoting a bill that would jail doctors, nurses and pharmacists who administer most brands of COVID-19 vaccines.

Read Bryan’s full column here on how this bill is the antithesis of freedom.

Accountability for extremism

Yvonne St Cyr, an Idaho resident, posted at least two photos on Facebook after getting inside the U.S. Capitol during a riot on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Facebook
Yvonne St Cyr, an Idaho resident, posted at least two photos on Facebook after getting inside the U.S. Capitol during a riot on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Facebook

Last week, Boisean Yvonne St Cyr was found guilty of two felonies and four misdemeanors for her participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attempted insurrection.

This comes after fellow Boiseans Josiah Colt and Pam Hemphill pleaded guilty to offenses related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In all, eight people have been arrested in Idaho on a variety of offenses tied to the attempt to overturn the election with violence.

None of these people were anything resembling a central figure that day at the U.S. Capitol — someone akin to Oathkeepers leader Stewart Rhodes. They could easily have had their actions overlooked by federal prosecutors.

But federal prosecutors have decided to be comprehensive. Well over 1,000 indictments have been issued so far, and more are expected to come for months or years into the future.

This stands in stark contrast to Idaho’s recently sad record of dealing with extremism.

Read our full editorial here.

Lunch with The Idaho Way

Join us for our new livestream show, Lunch with The Idaho Way, at noon on Wednesdays.

So far, we’ve tackled the issues of transgender rights with Eve Devitt and her father, Michael Devitt; school vouchers with Rod Gramer, president of Idaho Business for Education; school vouchers with Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville; and the issue of militias with special guest Dave Neiwert, an award-winning journalist, author and well-known expert on American right-wing extremism. This week, we talked about property taxes and local budgets with Kelley Packer, former state legislator and now executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities. Check out that episode here.

Register for this discussion for free at our Eventbrite and ask your question in advance. Click on “select a date” and choose March 29.

Or simply tune in at noon every Wednesday on Facebook or YouTube. Ask questions and join the conversation.

Check out the details here.

Capitol Letters

Capitol Letters newsletter is a daily look at Idaho Legislature’s session, from highlights and reported stories from the past day’s events to tomorrow’s important votes & hearings. McClatchy
Capitol Letters newsletter is a daily look at Idaho Legislature’s session, from highlights and reported stories from the past day’s events to tomorrow’s important votes & hearings. McClatchy

Idaho Statesman reporter Ryan Suppe and politics editor Hayat Norimine keep you updated on each day’s happenings in the Idaho Legislature and what to expect for the upcoming day.

Plus, I throw in our astute politics observations and opinions on a daily basis.

To sign up to receive Capitol Letters, click here.

I’m listening

Send me your story ideas, news tips, questions, comments, or anything else on your mind. You can reach me via email at smcintosh@idahostatesman.com.

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What you’re saying

Letters To Editor
Letters To Editor

This week, we received letters to the editor on Idaho Legislature’s lurch to the far-right, the definition of “woke,” the importance of voting and thinking about what Gov. Phil Batt would say today. You can read these and more letters by clicking here.

You can submit a letter to the editor or guest opinion by clicking here.

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