Idaho Examiner -
Idaho Rep. Tom Loertscher

Monday, February 27, 2006

House Highlights - Week Seven 2006

By Tom Loertscher
You probably wouldn’t expect that there are so many traditions that have developed in the House over the years, but to one degree or another most of what we do around here is caught up in a certain amount of tradition. That’s not a problem but it might seem a little strange to a first time observer. One of those traditions is a light hearted “ceremony” centered around a little statuette of a bird, namely a crow. The tradition is that if a bill or a motion that is voted on the floor of the House does not receive at least twenty yes votes the crow “flies” to the maker of the motion or the sponsor of the bill. It happened this week as a bill to require ventilated smoking rooms in bowling alleys failed, having received only eighteen affirmative votes. The sponsor was caught between the head-on collision of two freight trains, the one group wanting an outright smoking ban, and the other wanting to preserve property rights.

It must be a developing tradition to create at least half dozen special license plates each year. There’s a broad range to choose from these days and there are more on the way if the Senate approves several new ones that cleared the House during the week. Two choices that readily come to mind are the veteran’s motorcycle plate and the historical plate. This has been a favorite way for organizations to raise a little extra cash. Here’s how it works. If you want to have one of these fancy plates you can pay the extra fee and the extra money then goes to that organization. The latest one has the proceeds going to the State Historical Society. Maybe someday we will run out of causes and there will be no more need for all this special treatment. I am reminded about what my uncle who lives in Texas told me once about special license plates in that state. Texas discovered how popular they were and raised so much money that they decided that it would be a great source for even more revenue. The fees were increased so much that Texans quit buying the novelties and now they aren’t so popular any more. In Idaho there is a mighty fine license plate for almost anyone’s taste. But there’s even more to this story. There has been a renewed effort undertaken to remove the words “Famous Potatoes” from the standard license plate. That effort has not been successful in the past and the Idaho Potato.

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