One of the most controversial measures to come before the Idaho Legislature in recent memory faces one last hurdle this morning before it presumably heads to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
The Idaho House is scheduled to take up the third reading of the so-called guns-on-campus bill and launch a full floor debate. Today's action comes in the wake of the Feb. 28 party-line vote of the Idaho House State Affairs Committee to send the bill to the full House with a "do pass" recommendation.
Students, faculty and staff spent the better part of March 4 gathering signatures at Boise State University, in anticipation of delivering the petitions later today, urging Otter's veto.
To date, scores of individuals from Boise State and Idaho's other public universities and colleges have stood before the Idaho House and Senate State Affairs committees urging their no vote, but to no avail.
"If you think this bill was a collaborative bill and we were part of the process, it wasn't," Bruce Newcomb, former Idaho House speaker and current Boise State legislative liaison, told the House panel on Feb. 28. "It was a silo process. My suggestion is this: instead of ramming this bill through, invite all the stakeholders to the table."
In the just-published issue of Boise Weekly, we chronicle how the National Rifle Association, whose own lobbyist presented the guns-on-campus bill before the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee, has been an ardent political supporter of a number of legislators:
"The NRA did directly donate to Idaho politicians in 2010—a total of $7,500, ranking Idaho 24th in the nation in terms of contributions, according to [the National Institute on Money in State Politics]. Otter alone received $4,500, ranking him the sixth-highest grossing individual state-level candidate in the country. Other Idaho lawmakers to receive NRA money in 2010 included Sens. Bart Davis and Russell Fulcher, and Reps. Judy Boyle, Mike Moyle and Ken Roberts, the latter whom resigned from the House in 2012 to serve on the four-member Idaho Tax Commission."