One of my scouts asked me about my most embarrassing moment. I could think of many, but because I had just been to a wrestling match, I thought of one that had to do with that sport.

In 2017 alone, 1,432 patent applications were filed by residents of Idaho, and 752 patents were issued to Idahoans, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). USPTO reports that nearly the same amount of patents (744) were issued to Idaho residents in 2018. Consideri…

As the 116th Congress has begun, work continues to build on the progress made in the last Congress in restoring prosperity, stability and liberty for our country.

There’s a poster occasionally displayed in legislators’ offices that says, “Government: If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.” It’s common for legislators to ignore their own advice and plow forward with solutions equally as bad as the problems t…

That fall, as we prepared for our first high school football game of the season, our team was very much as it had always been. Though we worked and practiced together, we were not unified.

Washington, D.C., is a popular tourist destination at all times of year, but March through June are especially busy times for tours. People from all over the world visit our capital in the spring to see the cherry blossoms that frame the Tidal Basin in a cloud of light pink. The National Par…

This week I helped my son as he moved his family across the country to a new home. He has a one-year-old daughter, and the whole episode reminded me of our first move after my wife, Donna, and I were married.

When President Trump told Americans in his State of the Union address that “we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” one would assume he was talking to the openly socialist members of Congress, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I thank my friend, Bryan Smith, for defending the Idaho Constitution and America’s founding principles against the popularly-supported Medicaid expansion.

The collection, protection and use of personally identifiable information by both the government and private companies deserves close scrutiny. Americans are rightly concerned about the collection and use of their data, and how such data is secured and protected. So concerned, in fact, that …

Like thousands of families across Idaho, Vicki and I raised our children, and now our grandchildren, to enjoy the outdoors through hunting, fishing and recreation. Some of our best memories together have been spent on public lands across the state, which helped me develop a deep appreciation…

My old friend, Bill, walked into church, and I smiled. It was good to see him. Bill is in his eighties and is one of the most positive people I know.

As the legislature kicks into full gear this year, it’s worth taking a look at how new charter-friendly legislation is making it the Governor’s desk. The J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation has invested in growing charter programs in the Gem State. In particular, Albertson provides subst…

I saw a friend of mine, Alex, driving a new pickup, and I was excited for him. But I was also somewhat surprised. I knew he loved his old truck, yet I realized I hadn’t seen it in front of his house for a few days. I was happy that he had finally been able to focus clearly on how useless the…

CLARIFICATION—The opinion piece titled “State of the State fails to address concerns for Idaho” in the Jan. 16 edition of The Jefferson Star, submitted by Madison Liberty Institute Communications Intern Amanda Penrod, has the incorrect author credited for the piece. Penrod informed The Jeffe…

The Administration reports that there are nearly 25 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, and more than 8,500 human trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline here in the U.S. last year alone. Congress passed and President Trump signed four pieces of …

On Dec. 13, 2018, Judge B. Lynn Winnmill ruled that the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) must provide gender reassignment surgery within six months to a transgender person, Adree Edmo, who has been incarcerated in a men’s prison. He reasoned that withholding medically necessary surgery…

The math teacher was trying to teach about solving story problems using variables, but no one was listening to her because Dean was too busy making fun of the problem.

State lawmakers and Gov. Brad Little are starting to disclose what we in the policy research world have known for many months: It’s going to be difficult in 2019 to follow through on the promise to eliminate Idaho’s sales tax on groceries. But they should.

In his first State-of-the-State address, Idaho Governor, Brad Little, offered one or two conservative nuggets, but mostly delivered a big-government buffet. It was disappointing from a freedom, liberty, and Constitution perspective, but it was especially disheartening from a family, faith, a…

On December 11, 2018, with my support, the U.S. Senate passed the final version of the new Farm Bill by an overwhelmingly, bipartisan vote of 87-13. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation the next day also by a broad, bipartisan vote of 369-47 before it went to President Tr…

Even though it had been a few years since I had been a scoutmaster, I always tried to go on campouts with the boys when an extra adult was needed. This mostly fell on the high adventure in the summer, which lasted most of a week. Each year, as we hiked miles into the wilderness or attempted …

When a horde of people descends on a place, your instinct might be to build a wall. Sometimes those instincts are both right (“They’ll hurt our quality of life!”) and impractical (“It’ll cost a ton of money!”).

Idaho has a new report card for its public schools. But don’t call it a report card. Except for those times when it is. And that’s hardly ever, but not exactly never.

It was nearly November, and, as our high school English class was ending for the day, our teacher announced the next writing assignment. “For Veterans Day, each of you will write an interview paper. That means you are to interview someone and write about what you learned. The person you inte…

Bipartisan legislative achievements often get lost in the din of partisan rhetoric. But, the bipartisan accomplishments of the 115th Congress and this Administration are representative of how we can work together in the 116th Congress ahead to make further progress for our country. The follo…

Sam was tired of working his boring job and wanted to strike out and become an entrepreneur. He had a great idea for a business venture. He was going to start a fitness and weight loss center. He loved to work with people on losing weight, and he had trained as a fitness coach. It was the pe…

As we spend time with family and friends this Christmas season—tromping through the snow to get a Christmas tree, skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, ice skating, or just shoveling snow and ice off of our driveways and sidewalks—the snow we recreate in and move around translates into significant…

Congressional action to legalize hemp means the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little will have good cause to confront the state’s cannabis policy this winter. And it couldn’t have come at a better time: Idaho now finds itself surrounded on all sides by legal marijuana in one form or anothe…

As we look ahead to the new year, a new state government administration, and the 2019 legislative session, I offer the following select thoughts. The elections are over, it’s time for elected officials to dig in to do the hard work. So, let’s begin with chocolate.

Veterans serve on the front lines of our national defense, sacrificing for country, community, family, friends and fellow soldiers. Many people’s thoughts may go directly to how we can honor this service by better supporting our troops in combat or in memory; however, there is another compon…

America’s children represent our nation’s prospect for a bright and strong future. They are smart, hopeful, inquisitive and insightful. It is incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to keep them safe from harm and help them to have opportunities for promising and productive lives. The fac…

Jacob loved music. He sang while he milked the cows, changed sprinkler pipe, or rode his horse. But he lacked confidence in his ability. One of his brothers had heard him singing once and had made fun of him, so Jacob was careful to only sing when he thought no one else was around.

For many years, scientists have debated why some critters that live in caves and at great ocean depths have eyes yet are blind. Is the sightlessness of the cavefish—perhaps the most studied of darkness-bound species—the result of generations left in blackness, negating the need for visual in…

With the end of the 115th Congress, I will wrap up my first term serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has been a memorable, remarkable and historic experience. We have no doubt addressed some very difficult issues that have weighed heavily on the minds of committee members and all A…

For the last several years, I’ve used my pre-Thanksgiving Day column to write about a decades-old dumb Idaho law that cast a cloud on the season. Happily, this is my last column on this topic. Thankfully, Idaho lawmakers repealed that dumb law earlier this year.