There are many good reasons to divide the government into three separate branches — legislative, judicial and executive. Each has separate powers and duties and should respect the powers and responsibilities of the other two branches. The state Republican and Democratic Parties, organized on the county level, support the legislative branch. The parties do not execute the laws or rule on enforcement and constitutionality of the laws but are directly involved in selecting legislators who enact the laws.

Mark Fuller

Mark Fuller

Precincts for both parties are organized into legislative districts and are directly involved with campaigning for representatives and senators. Legislative districts under Idaho Code Section 59-904A nominate three individuals to fill legislative vacancies. The current law was based upon Republican state party rules, Article 8, which was recently amended to protect the legislative branch from partisan influence by the executive branch.

This change to Article 8 of the Republican rules allows legislative districts to nominate only one individual to fill a legislative vacancy. That nominee must then be appointed by the governor. The need to prevent partisan influence by the executive branch over the selection of representatives in the legislative branch is self-evident. By first changing the rule and then enacting a resolution requiring the Republican state party chairman to encourage the members of the state Legislature to amend Idaho Code Section 59-904A to conform, this unacceptable position can be changed during the current legislative session.

No logical basis exists for the governor to select a member of the Legislature. That selection should be made by the legislative district committee of the party selected by the voters in the most recent election. This is obvious if the governor is from a party different from those filling the vacancy. Republicans should never again allow a Democratic governor to select our conservative representatives. Democrats should never again allow a Republican governor to select a representative or senator from a liberal legislative district.

This rule change, followed by a change of the law, will be of great benefit to rural counties which may be unable to nominate three individuals to fill a legislative vacancy. Under current law, if your legislative district nominates only two individuals, the governor may select anyone the governor wishes to fill the vacancy. No governor, from either party, should have the authority to personally select legislators beholden only to the governor for their seat.

The bipartisan benefit of this change should appeal to both parties. The Bonneville County Republican Central Committee invites Democratic leaders to support this revision to assure a veto-proof majority in both the House and the Senate. Only those who prefer to increase the power of the executive can oppose this bipartisan proposal. The battle between the “king men” and the “free men” goes back thousands of years, but the time has arrived for both parties to unite in removing the partisan influence of Idaho’s governor over the people’s Legislature.

Mark R. Fuller is Bonneville County Republican chairman.