State Central Committee formally condemns Governor Otter, urges more Stand-Your-Ground legislation, declares Republicans the “Right to Life” Party and more
Seven resolutions were passed by the Resolutions Committee and accepted by the full body at the winter meeting of the Idaho Republican State Central Committee on January 4th and 5th.
This year’s Rules and Resolutions committees have been touted as the most conservative committees in recent memory. The voting record reflects the majority of members in both committees were aligned with the Tea-Party-esque faction of the Party, which some refer to as the “far-right,”, while others refer to the group as “liberty Constitutionalists.” While the name of the group may not be well-defined, one thing is certain. The conservative group has not hesitated to call its foe by one consistent name: “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only). The resolutions accepted by the State Central Committee are indicative of a shift of majority power. The “establishment” is no longer well-established.
1. Resolution Condemning C.L. “Butch” Otter and Thomas Loertscher
This resolution may be the most controversial. It was submitted by: David DeHaas, Legislative District 17 Chair, and Matthew Jensen, LD17 Vice-Chair, and passed by the LD17 Republican Central Committee.
What it says: “Therefore be it Resolved, that the Idaho Republican Party condemns and censures Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his endorsement of Thomas Loertscher’s write-in candidacy.”
- Chad Christensen and Representative Thomas Loertscher competed for the Party’s nomination for Idaho House of Representatives District 32B in the Republican primary election held on May 15, 2018.
- Christensen won the primary election.
- Loertscher, the incumbent who lost the primary, then ran in the general election as a write-in candidate.
- Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter publicly endorsed Loertscher’s write-in campaign.
What does censure mean? Censure is the expression of formal disapproval.
Why did the committee censure Governor Otter? The resolution included several reasons for the formal condemnation, including that the Governor’s endorsement of Loertscher:
- “Caused great confusion among Republicans and others about where the Party stands with respect to its nominee in the general election.”
- “Is wholly inappropriate.”
- “Casts a dark shadow on Governor Otter’s tenure of service.”
- “Is not in keeping with our values as a Party.”
The resolution also alleges, “Chad Christensen’s victory… largely can be attributed to voter dissatisfaction with Thomas Loertscher’s use of his position to block popular bills from receiving a hearing in the House; especially, bills related to firearms laws.”
The resolution passed on a vote of 8 to 6 at the winter meeting. Some were thoroughly disappointed and disgusted by the decision.
“What an embarrassment it is to condemn Governor Otter, who faithfully served our state and our Party for over 40 years. I hope we will not continue to see the divisive tactics of the far-right faction dictate the positions we take and the general impression we create as a Party,” said Gretchen Clelland, a Resolutions Committee member from Region 5.
“This is such a shame,” she said.
Others giddily applauded. Greg Pruett, founder and president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, posted to Facebook promptly after the resolution passed:
“The Idaho GOP State Central Committee just smacked Otter and Loertscher. Lol. Good stuff,” the public post read.
Pruett posted again, asking which the members of the committee voted against the resolution censuring the Governor.
“Resolution (passed) by the state GOP condemning Otter/Loertscher for the campaign they waged against Chad Christensen after the May primary. I’d be interested to know who voted against this.
I heard it was NOT unanimous.”
Others commented on Pruett’s post:
- “The usual RINO suspects…,” read one comment in reply, and called out names of specific committee members.
- Another comment read, “WOW, we must take Names and call them Out.”
- Former Representative Kerry Hanks, who was also defeated in the primary election, wrote that some “counties have a big establishment group,” and declared, “We have alot of work to do!!”
2. Resolution Reaffirming the Need for and Importance of Better Stand-Your-Ground Legislation
This is another resolution advocated by Pruett and the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. This resolution was submitted by the same authors of the condemnation resolution: David DeHaas, Legislative District 17 Chair, and Matthew Jensen, LD17 Vice-Chair. It was initially passed by the LD17 Republican Central Committee.
What it says: “Therefore be it Resolved, that the Idaho Republican Party exhorts its members in the Idaho Legislature to do whatever they can in supporting the passage of real and more effective Stand-Your-Ground legislation, like that of no duty to retreat from a place a person has a lawful right to be and reimbursement of costs for when a person is found not guilty by reason of self defense in 2019.”
Last year, the Idaho Legislature passed a version of Stand-Your-Ground legislation. The legislation passed was the weaker of two pieces of proposed legislation, according to the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. The resolution alluded to the recently enacted legislation: “While helpful and a step in the right direction, current Stand-Your-Ground law merely codifies current case law, and does not improve upon the correct and properly judicious recognition of the right to defend one’s life and situation.”
3. Resolution Calling for the Reform of Birthright Citizenship
Submitted by: Bjorn Handeen, Region 1 Chair; James McMillan, Shoshone County Chairman; Linda Yergler, Shoshone County State Committteewoman; and Chuck Reitz, Shoshone County State Committeeman and passed by the Shoshone County Central Committee.
The immigration conversation is alive and well. This particular issue may be moot, however, because President Trump said he may resolve this issue with an Executive Order if he is found to have authority to do so.
What it says: “Therefore be it Resolved, The Idaho State Republican Central Committee urges Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson to work with Representative Steve King to re-introduce the Birthright Citizenship Act; and,
Be it further Resolved, The Idaho State Republican Central Committee urges Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo to propose a companion bill in the Senate.”
What’s the Birthright Citizenship Act? Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced the bill for the past five consecutive Congressional sessions. It would amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, preventing children born to illegal-alien parents in the United States from automatically receiving U.S. citizenship.
The bill was introduced in Congress again last week (for the 5th time). The day before the resolution was accepted at the 2019 winter meeting of the Idaho Republican State Central Committee, January 3rd, Representative King reintroduced the bill (for the fifth consecutive Congressional session). Numbered as H.R. 140, the bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Neither Representatives Fulcher or Simpson are cosponsors.
Trump argues an act of Congress isn’t necessary. He plans to sign an executive order to remove birthright citizenship. President Trump told Axios on HBO on October 29th, 2018 that he “plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil.”
Trump said, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits.” “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end. It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order,” Trump said. In a review of constitutions and nationality laws, 30 of 35 nations in the Western Hemisphere provide birthright citizenship automatically to children of any immigrants. (Source: Culliton-Gonzalez, 2012.)
4. Resolution in Support of Life at Conception Act
The State Central Committee passed a pro-life resolution calling for clarity of when life begins. It was submitted by: Marilyn Giddings, Idaho County Chair and passed by the Idaho County Central Committee.
What it says: “Therefore be it Resolved, the Idaho State Central Committee to fully supports by and will actively campaign for, publicly promote in the news and social media, as well as urge our elected U.S. Senators and Representatives to cast every vote for a, Life at Conception Act, and do everything necessary to win its ultimate passage in the United States Congress.”
What would a “Life at Conception Act” do? “[A] federal law, by declaring that unborn children are persons legally entitled to constitutional protection, will rescue millions of un-born children from dying by abortion-on-demand.”
The resolution also notes:
- “Because of Roe v Wade, more than 61 million unborn children have died by abortion.”
- “We have formally declared Republicans are the “Right to Life” party.”
- “Science is clear that human life begins at conception.”
“The American people oppose abortion-on-demand and want innocent human life to be protected especially when it is most defenseless.”
5. Resolution Opposing the Construction of Wildlife Overpasses in Fremont County
This resolution was much more region specific. It was submitted by Rachel Hatton, Teton County Youth Committeeperson and was passed by the Teton County Central Committee.
What it says: “Therefore be it Resolved, that the Idaho Republican Party opposes the construction of wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and the required, tall, wire mesh fencing in Fremont County, Idaho.”
The resolution included various intrepid arguments. The authors asserted that “wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and the required fencing:”
- “Will cost millions of dollars of taxpayer road and bridge money.”
- “Will desecrate wide open spaces, vistas, and inherent natural beauty.”
- “Will require massive earth disturbance.”
- “May damage streams.”
- “Will invite disease and increased predation and depredation when concentrating wild ungulates in a relatively small area.”
- “Will curtail livestock grazing in the vicinity.”
- “Will disrupt the historical movement of wildlife from and to their winter and summer feeding areas.”
- “Will disrupt access to fishing.”
- “Will trap wildlife during wildfire and lead to their death.”
The resolution also says there is “over whelming opposition to wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and the required fencing in Fremont County,” and names several opponents, including Brad Little, the Fremont County Farm Bureau and “4000 citizens” whose signatures have been collection in opposition.
One interesting resolution which did not pass was the Resolution to Protect Idahoans from Lethal Exposure to Proposed 5G Millimeter Microwave Cell Tower Radiation.
This resolution called upon the Idaho Legislature to “recognize the adverse potential health effects of 5G cell tower radiation by blocking it from being deployed statewide.” It was submitted by Victoria Zeischegg, Chair of the Bonner County Republican Central Committee.
The full list of Accepted Resolutions from the 2019 State Central Committee Winter Meeting is available online on the Idaho GOP website.
Read about the monumental changes to the Idaho Republican Party State Rules from the 2019 State Central Committee Winter Meeting here.
The full list of Accepted Rule Changes can be found on the Idaho GOP website, as are the updated Idaho Republican Party State Rules.
What’s a resolution? Resolutions are used to express nonbinding positions of the body. They are often used to express strong opinions about an issue which may be interpreted as more prestigious and/or having more “weight” if passed by a vote of the body. Sometimes they are used to encourage or discourage a particular action, such as encouraging an elected official to support a particular piece of legislation.
Culliton-Gonzalez, K. (2012). Born in the Americas: Birthright Citizenship and Human Rights. Harvard Human Rights Journal,25, 128-182. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from http://harvardhrj.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Culliton-Gonzalez.pdf
Holly Cook is the Director of Communications for Idaho Conservatives. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Economy from the College of Idaho, has been active in Idaho politics for several years, and enjoys writing political commentary and news.