C. Scott Grow.
C. Scott Grow serve as a freshman Republican senator from Eagle.
C. Scott Grow prevaricate.
He says his bill that tightens the screws on the ability of ordinary Idahoans to pass their own laws “isn’t anti-Medicaid expansion.”
Then why now?
The last time lawmakers placed more impediments in the path of people trying to put initiatives on the ballot came after voters repealed then-state schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s anti-teacher reforms in 2012. The following year, legislators requiried initaitive organizers not only to get 6 percent of the registered voters to sign petitions, but to also round up 6 percent of the registered voters from 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. The rationale then was to give rural counties an equal say about initiative campaigns.
However, those obstacles failed to stop volunteers committed to overturning the Legislature’s indifference toward 62,000 low-income Idaho adults. Reclaim Idaho, the movement behind the Medicaid expansion initiative, certified Proposition 2 in 21 legislative districts, including some of the most rural areas of the state such as Boundary, Idaho and Teton counties.
When Prop. 2 passed with nearly 61 percent of the vote, it was the second time in six years that Idahoans had repudiated their Legislature. First it was about public education policy. Next came a public health issue. That’s a big swath of state policy lawmakers got wrong.
C. Scott Grow fib.
“This just puts the public and the Legislature on an equal footing,” he said.
Oh, that’s why his bill would require initiative campaigns to collect not 6 percent of the registered voters — roughly 55,057 — but 10 percent — about 91,762.
That’s why organizers would not have 18 months to gather those signatures but 180 days.
That’s why instead of getting signatures from 18 legislative districts, they’d have to secure them from 32 legislative districts.
C. Scott Grow fabricate.
“The effort here is to allow the rural districts to also be involved in the process and not just have the cities dictate what’s happening,” he said.
By requiring petition gatherers to fan out across 18 legislative districts, the 2013 Legislature essentially gave rural Idaho not only a voice but a virtual veto over qualifying any initiative for the ballot.
What Grow is doing is going one step beyond and silencing urban voters.
Here’s how: As things now stand, you sign a petition in your home county. It’s then up to the county clerk to determine where you live and assign your signature to the appropriate legislative district.
Grow wants people to sign a petition designated by legislative district. If they make a mistake and sign up for the wrong district, their signature is disqualified.
That’s not much of a problem in places such as Lewiston, Sandpoint, Rupert or Blackfoot — where entire counties are folded into the same legislative district.
But Ada County has nine districts.
Kootenai County is divided into three.
Canyon County is split five ways.
Twin Falls County spills over into three districts.
Bannock County has two.
Bonneville County is split four ways.
And those districts change shape every 10 years as Idaho’s population expands and shifts.
What Grow is proposing is a change so radical that it all but short-circuits any grassroots campaign. Only special interests with the resources to hire professional signature gatherers and to surmount the other challenges would be able to prevail.
So say goodbye to initiatives helping the uninsured, the underpaid and the politically disenfranchised.
Say hello to initiatives backed by the Idaho Farm Bureau, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and the National Rifle Association.
Here’s the strange thing: Grow does not represent rural Idaho.
He’s from metropolitan Ada County.
C. Scott Grow dissimulate.
“I’m trying to include more citizens in the initiative process,” he said. “That’s my objective.”
Citizen input is the last thing Grow and his fellow lawmakers want.
It’s not just gumming up the initiative process.
Under the Capitol dome, you have lawmakers thwarting the will of the voters by trying to kick people off the expanded Medicaid program they approved.
Others are negotiating in private a school funding formula that will reward some schools at the expense of others.
And there’s the GOP’s recent attempt to undermine Idaho’s citizen redistricting commission and restore partisan gerrymandering.
Grow and his fellow lawmakers claim they really care what you think about all of that.
C. Scott’s nose grow. — M.T.