Idaho Attorney General Comes Out Strongly Against Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Oct 7, 2016

Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

This November, Idahoans will see a familiar constitutional amendment on their ballots. The measure, though, has a high-level critic in state government.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has written an op-ed strongly condemning the proposed constitutional amendment, called HJR 5. The measure would strengthen the Legislature’s right to have the final say on rules made by state agencies. The legislature already has that ability, but Wasden argues the amendment “threatens to permanently invade the Executive and Judicial Branches of Idaho’s government.”

“So who protects the citizens from the Legislature?" says Wasden in an interview. "And what protects the citizens is that balance of power among the three branches of power. And that’s why disrupting it is so wrong for the people of Idaho.”

Wasden says the measure opens the state up to further influence from lobbyists, especially in the legislature. The proposal, which was passed by both the House and Senate last March, needs to get a majority of votes to pass.

Another issue Wasden takes with the proposed amendment: Residents voted down a very similar measure two years ago.

Read his full op-ed below.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), has written an opinion piece in favor of the proposed amendment. 

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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