Thursday, March 10, 2011

Right-to-Farm Passes, 57-11

House Bill 221, the right-to-farm legislation brought by House Majority Leader Mike Moyle has passed the Idaho House on what may have been a party line vote of 57-11.

The debate on House Bill 221 consisted of the objections of a few Democrats, namely Killen, Jacquet, Ringo and King, but was carried by numerous legislators invoking Rule 38 and stating their intention to vote regardless of their own personal agricultural interests.

Rule 38 states:
"(3) A member has the right to vote upon all questions before the House and to participate in the business of the House and its committees and, in so doing, the member is presumed to act in good faith and in the public interest. If a member's personal interest in the issue under consideration conflicts with the public's interest, the member's legislative activities can be subject to limitations, unless such conflicts are disclosed to the presiding officer or to the body. Upon disclosure of any such conflict, the member may vote upon any question or issue to which the conflict relates, unless the member requests to be excused." [emphasis added]
Moyle, Batt, Nielsen, Wood (35), and Raybould were among the representatives who invoked Rule 38. Rep. Raybould attempted to invoke Rule 38 for every farmer in the House, but was told by Speaker Denney that each would have to invoke individually. Eventually Speaker Denney would state that "unless it impacts you personally at a different level than any other farmer, I don't believe you have to invoke Rule 38." I would contend that Rep. Moyle absolutely needed to invoke Rule 38 and should not have voted. Additionally, Batt noted that her husband's client was who brought this legislation forward and that revelation should require invoking Rule 38 and she also should not have voted.

Aside from the Rule 38 discussion, it appeared that the majority of those against this bill were against it due to their constituents' fear of CAFOs. Rep. Jaquet cited the concerns of constituents in Camas, Gooding and Jerome counties.

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