Drugs, Jails, and Saving Face?

Since last week when the governor and the legislature were going back and forth, specifically on HB516, the entire fiasco was starting to really piss me off. I’ve been following those who have been faithfully following the course of that bill, as well as others – see below, but like I said, becoming more and more irritated.

And now this

The Legislature’s budget committee passed compromise budgets for the Office of Drug Policy Monday, restoring 90 percent of the drug treatment funding vetoed by Gov. Butch Otter. …..The funding must still be approved by both chambers.

So instead of $16.8 million, it’s $15 million for funding. Does ole’ Butch think this is a game? Do the legislators? Not according to the comments some of them have made regarding the absolute necessity of funding this program. However as this AP piece from KTVB demonstrates, it’s a frickin’ game. A pissing contest.

At the time, Otter had said the funding had been expanded beyond its original scope.

By now agreeing to 90 percent of the original amount, Otter can rack up a symbolic win in his push for greater government accountability.

Meanwhile, lawmakers get to say they got nearly everything they wanted.

Senator Dean Cameron, chairman of the budget-writing panel, says “Politics is the art of the possible, and that’s what’s possible at this stage.”

Special kudos out to Tara at The Political Game, MG at The Mountain Goat Report, and Idaho Rocks for keeping track of this legislation and issue at the forefront. I’ve been mulling over how to integrate all their work into one thoughtful post. Still mulling…..


Tara at ‘The Political Game’ has been faithfully following a couple of bills in the Idaho legislature dealing with drugs, alcohol and the issue of treatment, more specifically, HB516. From Tara:

IdahoRocks has a post up tonight outlining the relevance (and increasing irrelevance) of both the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency in the continuing war on drugs and how these departments are being overlooked in the current discussion as Idaho looks (quite daftly) at current drug laws. These agencies are being neglected as are the judicial powers of sitting judges who do not have the option of choosing treatment for nonviolent drug offenders over incarceration.

Idaho Rocks writes a stellar piece on HB516:

And Senator Denton Darrington and Representative Jim Clark are leading the way to oppose this bill, no questions asked, no consideration given, no compassion shown, and, well, basically no rational thought given to the good this bill might do, not just for Idaho people, but for the state as well.

Eye on Boise with the following quote

“Enough is enough – we’re tired of paying for people to be in prison,” Cameron said.

“Doesn’t it seem smart to try and treat those individuals while they’re incarcerated so that they don’t re-offend? Doesn’t it seem smart to try to affect those individuals before they’re incarcerated so that they don’t offend in the first place?” He noted, “This budget isn’t an increase – this is a maintenance. … We couldn’t afford to do more than we did this year. … So the question before you is, do you want to maintain the effort that we’ve started over the last couple of years or do you want to slide backwards? … This isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Yeah – doesn’t it?

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