On the ballot: Idaho Supreme Court, constitutional amendment

A look at the Idaho's statewide races, including an Idaho Supreme Court races and a proposed constitutional amendment.

BOISE - Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. In addition to voting for president, congressional races and a number of local races, Idahoans will also be asked to decide a Supreme Court race and a proposed constitutional amendment.

For a look other races you'll find on your ballot, check out the following links:

Rupert attorney Robyn Brody will face off against former state senator from Nampa, Curt McKenzie, on the general election ballot. They are vying to replace Chief Justice Jim Jones, who is retiring in January 2017 after 12 years of service. The runoff election comes after none of the four candidates picked up at least 50 percent of the vote in the May primary. Brody and McKenzie collected the most votes - 58 percent combined - leading to the November runoff.

MORE: Idaho Supreme Court race headed for runoff

 

Idaho Supreme Court
To succeed Justice Jim Jones:

Also on ballots, a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution. If approved, House Joint Resolution (H.J.R.) 5 would tweak the Constitution to allow lawmakers to reject rules created by executive branch agencies.

RELATED: Verify: Details of measure to amend Idaho Constitution

The tweak would apply to an important but tedious process that takes place in the first few weeks of each legislative session, when Idaho lawmakers review a breadth of rules submitted by executive branch agencies. Once executive agencies present those rules to the Idaho Legislature, lawmakers can reject them without the governor's signature - otherwise known as a legislative veto. This rare authority is what lawmakers want protected inside the Idaho Constitution.

MORE: Obscure initiative reappears on Idaho ballot

The ballot initiative needs a simple majority to pass. A similar proposal was narrowly voted down two years ago.

House Joint Resolution (H.J.R.) 5

Ballot Question:

“Shall Article III, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a new Section 29, to provide that the Legislature may review any administrative rule to ensure it is consistent with the legislative intent of the statute that the rule was written to interpret, prescribe, implement or enforce; to provide that, after review, the Legislature may approve or reject, in whole or in part, any rule as provided by law; and to provide that legislative approval or rejection of a rule is not subject to gubernatorial veto under Section 10, Article IV, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho?”

Meaning, Purpose, and Result to Be Accomplished

The Legislature writes the laws of the state under which the state agencies adopt agency rules. By statute, agencies make rules that only interpret and implement these laws, and the legislature reserves the authority to review and reject agency rules if a rule is contrary to the intent of the law.

The Legislature's ability to approve or reject agency rules is an important aspect of the separation of powers, because these rules have the force and effect of law. The Legislature currently oversees that rulemaking process by accepting or rejecting agency rules. The proposed amendment confirms and protects the Legislature’s practice to authorize agency rulemaking, and to accept or reject agency rules.

Statements FOR the Proposed Amendment

1. The proposed constitutional amendment safeguards the ability of the legislature - elected by the people - to review and reject agency rules created by unelected state officials if those rules conflict with legislative intent. This will protect Idahoans from unfair or over regulation.

2. The legislature's current ability to review agency rules is in the law. Idaho's Supreme Court previously held that statute valid, a future supreme court could potentially declare it invalid, because Idaho's Constitution does not expressly recognize the ability of the legislature to review agency rules. The proposed constitutional amendment would protect the legislature's authority to ensure that agency rules conform with legislative intent.

3. If a future court determined the legislature did not have the right to review and reject agency rules, then Idahoans would have to hire lawyers and file lawsuits to challenge agencies' rules. That would be a much more expensive and time-consuming process than the current system which this amendment proposes to protect.

4. A Governor's veto is not required, because agency rules are proposed by the Governor's departments and agencies.

Statements AGAINST the Proposed Amendment

1. This constitutional amendment is unnecessary because the legislature already has legal authority to review agency rules. Even if the legislature did not have this authority, sufficient methods of challenging agency rules exist: the legislature can pass a law limiting an executive agency's rulemaking ability, or a rule can be challenged in court.

2. The legislature is overly involved with state agencies when it examines their rules to see whether they conform to legislative intent, and that practice should not be in Idaho's Constitution. Legislative review of agency rules is time-consuming and makes it more difficult for state agencies to conduct day-to-day business.

3. The legislature responds to agency rules in different ways. One way is to pass a bill, which it does every year to extend the agency rules from previous years. The proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit any veto of a rule approval or rejection and would infringe on the Governor's right to veto bills under the Idaho Constitution.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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