Over the last decade, we have experienced a digital revolution that sees people using the internet to manage more of their daily lives. Mobile applications, social media and search engines have become everyday tools, but their usage is accompanied by a shocking amount of hidden data collecti…

“We need to end the government monopoly in education by transferring power from bureaucracies and unions to families.” This sentiment expressed by Jeb Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida as well as son and brother to two former presidents, reflects the reason the charter school movement began in …

After arriving home from a wrestling meet at one o’clock in the morning, my friends asked for a ride. We soon realized that the mechanic who had worked on the wiring in my pickup had mixed things up. However, once we knew what each switch did, we felt confident we could still make our way home.

When we think of what it means to be healthy, we often think of physical health — maintaining an optimal weight, eating well and not having any ailments slowing us down. However, the definition of “healthy” includes not just physical but also mental and emotional wellbeing. Distressing stati…

House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill contend that Julie Ellsworth is a squatter in the Statehouse. They say the newly-elected Idaho state treasurer has been served an eviction notice but refuses to comply. They’ve sued Ellsworth so the House can take over the treasurer’s o…

My daughter was in her mid-teens—those years when young people think that their parents don’t know too much. She chafed at the requirements of home, having to do chores, having a set time for bed, and eating what everyone else in the family ate instead of getting to choose for herself. She a…

Almost nine years after Idaho adopted Common Core, state officials still can’t say whether the supposedly-more-rigorous education standards have made a positive difference. Worse, mounting evidence from across the country shows the standards are nothing short of a disaster.

Every July 4 we celebrate the establishment of our nation and the values that created it. The freedoms that our inspired founders affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, and upheld in our Constitution, are the guiding principles of our Republic. The Declaration proclaims, “We hold these…

When I was in high school, I had a little pickup that I drove everywhere. But one day it started smelling like burning plastic. After further inspection, I found that some of the wiring had shorted and melted.

The State Board set the end of June for the Gem State’s teachers to submit Master Educator Portfolios in the hopes of earning their black belts. I am hopeful that many teachers in Idaho will be dutifully awarded this distinguishment as those portfolios are evaluated.

On Sundays I often try very hard to have "good thoughts" in my mind on my way to church. But it’s hard.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is truly special. It is perhaps the last intact mountain ecosystem left in the contiguous United States which has a full complement of wildlife ranging from apex predators to the smallest hummingbird in the country. The Upper Henry's Fork Watershed is a crit…

After the Teton Dam broke and water flooded the valley, we all worked long, hard hours to rebuild our lives, homes, and businesses. While my brothers often went out to help in the flood area, I was left home to take care of the chores there. My father also had me help the mechanics who worke…

“Ninety-seven percent of land in Custer County is state and federally owned and exempt from taxation,” explained Custer County Commissioner and Idaho Association of Counties Public Lands Committee Chairman Wayne Butts. “Counties and schools like ours can’t operate without federal forest payments.”

After reading Bob Ziel's letter in the June 5 newspaper, it reminded me of something my father once said. My father speaking as a Mormon, born and raised in the city of Rigby, Idaho. Namely, he once said, "Mormons are Gullible..."

I was a young, married college student. My wife and I had one small daughter, and every day after school I went to the job board on campus to find work to earn money for my little family. People called in jobs they needed filled, and the secretary posted them on the job board. It was always …

tOur flag is a powerful image of our national strength and American principles. The flag has stood on the Moon. Determined American soldiers raised our flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was flown on buildings after the September 11 attacks. The coffins of our best and bravest, who paid …

Though their population has increased, there are fewer Idaho teenagers in the workforce than there were 20 years ago. In 1998, more than 25,000 Idahoans between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed, two decades later, about 24,500 Idaho youngsters earn a paycheck, according to government data.

One of the ways we can honor fallen heroes beyond Memorial Day is by making certain that the benefits they more than paid for to ensure the wellbeing of their families after their death are fulfilled. I co-led the introduction of the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act that will correct an …

John, one of my roommates, had never learned to cook. His family had always had a lot of money and servants. But just before he came to college, his family had had a major setback and lost almost everything. He not only had nonexistent culinary skills, but now he had very little money.

Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts and the Idaho State Police, collectively referred hereinafter as the Ministry of Vice and Virtue, continue to defend the arrest and prosecution of truck drivers who were innocently transporting non-narcotic hemp through the state.

On May 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation to observe the first National Foster Care Month. The proclamation followed the Senate’s passage of a resolution establishing this designation. This May is once again National Foster Care Month, an opportunity to acknowledge the i…

My daughter and her family recently moved to Alabama from California. They have realized there are quite a few differences between the two areas. First, in California they lived in Death Valley, and in Alabama they live in a lush area with lots of rainfall. This has translated into a great d…

In 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision determined that a state law (which included an exception to save the life of the mother) banning abortion, was unconstitutional. The court ruled that states were forbidden from prohibiting or regulating abortions performed in the first trimester; during the …

Domestic violence is abuse by one person to another; rich, poor, educated or not, young or old, could be a victim or the abuser. Behind closed doors the abuse occurs usually on women and children. You tube has short films to watch. One is “Love Shouldn’t Hurt’. Take a few minutes and learn a…

A new chapter in U.S. nuclear energy started with the enactment of two pieces of legislation that further nuclear innovation—S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) and S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA). These laws help ensure the resea…

My son called out from the back of the van, “Dad, you need to go faster. Everyone is passing us.”

The federal government should meet a high threshold of proving illegal activity when seizing personal property in a criminal investigation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should not be given cart blanche to take an American’s—hard-earned and legally-earned money—and then require the accu…

From time to time, accusations of indoctrination are leveled at the government-run education system, and we’re reminded to review the textbooks, lesson plans, student essays, or artwork to get a clearer picture of what kids are learning. Last month, anti-Trump ceiling tiles painted by studen…

Increasing college and university tuition and fees is one of the hardest decisions the Idaho State Board of Education must make. The Board knows full-well it results in a heavier burden on students and families.

My wife and my children are all very talented. They all play the piano, and most play multiple other instruments. My musical talent is limited to playing the radio. For those who know my brothers and sister and my parents, my lack of musical talent may come as a surprise. All my siblings are…

Patriots’ Day is an official holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. It has been a holiday for over a century in Massachusetts and Maine. It became a holiday in Connecticut in 2018.

A great outcome of the 2019 legislative session was the demise of a pension perk that exclusively benefited state legislators. That perk allowed our part-time senators and representatives to accept full-time positions in the bureaucracy, which made them eligible for a significant spike in th…

At the end of last year, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed by overwhelmingly bipartisan votes one of the largest, if not the largest, environmental bills. President Trump then signed this bipartisan bill into law. The environmental bill I am referring to is the ne…

For the past 25 years, I’ve had a front-row seat to the Republican-controlled state Legislature’s propensity to grow government. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the policies that require state and local politicians and bureaucrats to have more control over Idahoans’ lives. Happily,…

Jerry was trying to persuade his friend Steve to join the wrestling team. “You would be a natural at it,” Jerry said. “You’re quick, and you’re smart. Besides, we don’t really have anyone in your weight class.”

This tax filing season is a reminder of the benefits of the 2017 tax reform law already being realized and the long-term positive effects taking shape. These gains include an average 3.1 percent growth in our economy, the creation of more than 2.6 million jobs and a 3.4 percent increase in w…

The most monumental thing the 2019 Idaho Legislature did is what it didn’t do: The Legislature didn’t reauthorize thousands of pages of agency regulations. Those regulations, euphemistically called administrative rules, will expire this summer. The regulations cover every aspect of Idaho lif…

What does a person do with the skin of a skunk? Well, Rick decided that it might make a piece to use for a practical joke. He placed it on his doorstep, and he loved to watch people do a double take when they came to his door. Some people would see it from a distance and not even come to his…

Sport fishing is culturally and economically important to families and communities all across Idaho. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, more than 35 million Amer…

I went to a funeral this week for my former high school teacher, Sam Christiansen. It brought back lots of memories, some different from what you might expect. The main one was not even from school. It was from the summer before my junior year.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress wrote what would prove to be one of the largest blank checks in our nation’s history. The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against terrorists gave President Bush authority to attack the Taliban, the Sunni fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan and the …

Last year President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law. That Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp. With that, I only imagined our state politicians would loosen Idaho’s stringent anti-cannabis laws. When it comes to politicians, I need to learn to be more i…

I don’t know if anyone ever sees anything fun in want-ad postings, but sometimes the personality of the person doing the posting really shows through. Between that and the fact that sometimes the post probably doesn’t come out quite like the person intended, the humor in them can brighten my…

One of the biggest con jobs in all of government is “urban renewal.” The pleasant-sounding name obscures reality. Urban renewal is less about renewing urban areas and more about finding clever ways to fund big projects and to subsidize developers without drawing the attention, or having to g…

Idaho families struggling with debilitating diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or less common and rare illnesses, regularly share their heartbreaking, but also inspiring, personal experiences with me. These insights drive my longtime advocacy for necessary National Institute …