Idaho’s Prison’s Population Is Growing Again

Posted June 14, 2018 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

After a short respite, Idaho’s prison population is again growing. Population growth certainly contributes to the problem, however, Drug offenses, particularly among those on probation or parole seem to be a big driver.  At a recent meeting of the Idaho Board of Corrections, the information provided was that there are not marijuana possession issues, but meth, opiods and heroin.  Potential solutions include revamping sentencing, adding more more prison beds under various options, and in the short term – out of state transfers, to name a few. Our prisons and jails are full. A robust discussion was held at the meeting meeting which I attended. Betsy Russell has provided an informative synopsis of the discussion on this challenging issue in the following article.  This issue will be a critical one for the Board of Corrections, for the Justice Reinvestment Committee which I co-chair, and the legislature this coming session.  Information and data on both cause, and potential solutions will be the focus of  continuing discussions as we prepare to tackle this issue next session.

My View on Transfer of Federal Lands

Posted August 9, 2016 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

An issue of interest in Idaho and the West is the transfer of federal lands to the states. Opponents of state management paint this issue with a broad brush, accusing those who do not support status quo federal management of not supporting preservation of public lands. That argument is shallow, false and designed to mislead. My family and I enjoy public lands as much as any for backpacking, camping, fishing and hunting; however, use of federal lands should not be restricted solely to recreation. For example, the once thriving lumber industry decimated by federal policies and environmental lawsuits, has been replaced with increasing tax payer expenditures to fight fires.

To make it clear: I do not support sale of federal lands, except for occasions to trade or sell to acquire more publicly beneficial lands. I also do not believe Idaho legally has the right to compel transfer of federal lands. I do not support lawsuits based upon that claim.

I do support collaborative management and pilot projects to place some lands under state management. Additionally, Idaho does not receive tax revenue for the 62% of lands under federal control in Idaho. Other non-western states enjoy a much larger tax base to fund schools and other services because most property is under private control which generates tax revenue. Federal PILT payments (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) are a poor substitute, and are fiscally and politically unstable. Better timber management would increase state revenue and reduce fire risks. Judicious access to mineral resources would economically benefit Idaho. I support measures to move discussion forward between the state and the federal government to make the state a true partner in resource management. SB 1338 (2016) authorizing declaration of catastrophic public nuisances on federal lands was a measure to draw attention to the need for better timber management. While cooperative collaboration is always the preference, until that happens, I will continue to consider other steps to keep focus on the issue.


Tough Decision On SB1389 Today

Posted March 18, 2016 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

Today in the House State Affairs Committee we heard testimony on SB1389 – Permitless Concealed Carry. I received many emails and phone messages on both sides of this issue. Those views were also expressed in the committee hearing that we had today. Both sides had valid concerns from divergent perspectives regarding public safety. In the end, I was persuaded by the position expressed by our law enforcement officers on the street and voted for the measure. Both the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) representing those officers who are on the front line supported the bill. The letter from FOP states:

“The Idaho Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the largest police organization in Idaho with over 1800 members statewide and we support Senate Bill 1389. The Idaho FOP believes that law abiding, mentally sound and responsible gun owners are our partners in keeping crime rates low in Idaho. We are grateful for the legislators, the National Rifle Association and the Idaho Firearms Alliance for working with the FOP addressing our concerns, and crafting a responsible piece of legislation that our members support.”

The Idaho Sheriffs’ Association expressed similar support. Testimony by the Sheriffs’ Association resolved concerns about their ability to identify those who are felons or otherwise restricted from possessing guns through their electronic data system ILETS and other means. There was no evidence that a higher occurrence of gun incidents have occurred in other states with permitless carry, or in Idaho since permitless carry has been allowed outside of cities. Based upon the support of our law enforcement officials, I was persuaded to support their judgment regarding the safety of our citizens. Rep. Lynn Luker

Introduced 3 Bills This Week

Posted February 13, 2016 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

I introduced 3 bills this week in the Idaho House. HB 466 is a bipartisan bill that I am co-sponsoring with Rep. John Rusche D- Lewiston, to create an office of the Inspector General. It would provide a place for citizens and government employees to report waste, fraud, abuse and malfeasance in government, and tools to investigate such complaints. While I am not a fan of growing government, it is good government to provide a check on government bureaucracy and give citizens and employees a secure place to report concerns.

Second, I introduced HB 462 to amend our breathtakingly broad hunting license law. Currently, the law states “No person shall hunt, trap, or fish
for or take any wild animal, bird or fish of this state, without first having
procured a license as hereinafter provided.” Taken literally, this applies to catching a mouse, gopher or other unprotected animal or predator. Curiously, there is an exception allowing children under 12 to hunt take or kill any predatory, unprotected birds and animals except by firearms. The bill would expand that exemption to anyone, and still require a license for hunting with firearms. It would not change any current classifications or definitions of game, predators or protected species.

Finally, I introduced HB 494 to reduce first offense alcohol violations by minors from misdemeanors to infractions. It will save public defense costs and spare kids from being marked as criminals on future job applications if they don’t repeat, while still making underage drinking illegal.

Senator Crapo Audio Clip Commending Representatives for Doing Their Job On Child Support Bill

Posted May 20, 2015 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

For those who have asked about where to find Senator Crapo’s comments, here is the clip:

Why SB 1067 Was Held In Committee

Posted April 12, 2015 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

Concern has been raised about the Idaho House Judiciary and Rules Committee holding SB 1067. Holding the bill was about protecting the due process and privacy rights of our citizens, and protecting the integrity of our state’s ability to study and analyze issues independent of the coercive threats of the federal government. On the surface, SB 1067 updates Idaho child support laws to recognize orders from foreign countries. It is, however, the product of a 2007 treaty. For the United States to participate, all 50 states must approve the exact language which is contained in SB 1067.

The federally mandated language in SB 1067 raises due process concerns. Courts in Idaho are required to accept foreign orders with only a few exceptions. Those exceptions include minimal requirements for notice and hearing; however, those rights are undefined and vary drastically from country to country. Our courts would be curtailed from looking behind those orders. One provision even bypasses court review and allows agency enforcement without court review.

Implementation of the treaty would open federal databases to foreign countries. An important child support enforcement tool is the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) which includes the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), as well as access to information from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, VA, the Department of Defense, NSA and FBI. Regarding the threat to personal information, counsel for the Congressional Research Service expressed significant concern in a report of July 15, 2013. The report states: “The expansion of access to and use of personal information contained in the FPLS, especially in the National Directory of New Hires, could potentially lead to privacy and confidentiality breaches, financial fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. There is also concern that a broader array of legitimate users of the NDNH may conceal the unauthorized use of the personal and financial data in the NDNH.”

Finally, the federal government uses coercion to force approval of the bill. It has threatened states with the loss of existing child support funding and technical support on all other cases if the bill is not passed. In other words, the federal government, in its effort to compel adding a few foreign child support collections, is willing to impair all other child support collections to force compliance with its mandate. Idaho is not dismantling its child support system, the federal government is threatening to do that.

A few citizens who testified at the committee hearing raised concerns about SB1067 leading to enforcement of Sharia law in Idaho, which ended up as the major focus in news articles. That was not the reason for holding the bill. The bill and treaty have serious risks and flaws. It is not our choice to interrupt current child support enforcement. Rather, it is the federal government that is using children as collateral to force its policies upon Idaho and its sister states.

Idaho Direct Primary Care Bill Enacted

Posted April 11, 2015 by lynnluker
Categories: Uncategorized

The “Idaho Direct Primary Care Act” SB1062 sponsored by Senator Steven Thayn and myself has been signed into law. The Act authorizes an alternate model for patients to receive low cost, personal primary medical and dental care, based upon a low monthly fee rather than a fee for service. Service includes convenient in-person, phone and email consultation without insurance company involvement. Most DPC contracts include discount lab, pharmacy and other services. Costs are lower due to the elimination of expensive insurance and government related paperwork. It is medical care like it used to be, just between the patient and the physician. A few physicians have already opened DPC practices in Idaho and the trend is growing. Here is a link to an article describing direct medical care in more detail.…/a-new-model-for-primary-ca…/