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Cheers and Jeers

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Last week and with little warning, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke changed the way representatives vote in the House.

It was a subtle change, and one we absolutely agree with.

Under the old system, a large board on the floor lit up with each rep’s name in green or red as they cast their vote, allowing everyone to see how their peers were voting. That was especially convenient for lawmakers who hadn’t read the bills – they could just vote the same as a political ally. Or, they could change their vote to match their allies depending on how others were voting.

It wasn’t unusual to see a name flip from green to red to green until the speaker closed the vote.

Under the new system, the board no longer lights up until all the votes are cast. No more looking at your neighbors to see what to do – or changing your vote for political games.

Now, lawmakers actually have to read the bills, listen to the debate and vote with their hearts.

Jeer

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead this Sunday for daylight saving time. But what if we didn’t have to?

The time changes were designed to cut down on energy use. But studies are increasingly showing that changing our clocks may be doing more harm than good.

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Writing for Bloomberg, Ben Steverman points out studies that show changing our clocks doesn’t have much of an effect on energy consumption. In fact, when Indiana finally adopted daylight saving time in 2006, energy consumption actually went up. And losing an hour of sleep each spring has some surprising consequences. Car accidents, strokes and heart attacks spike, Steverman writes, after the time change each spring. Sleep-deprived judges even hand down harsher sentences.

Nor does the time change spark consumer spending, according to recent analysis of 380 million bank and credit-card transactions by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

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Given the choice, we’d take the extra hour of sleep.

Cheer

Hundreds of high school seniors across the Magic Valley are putting their final touches on their senior projects – a state requirement for graduation since 2013.

Students have to spend 40 hours of hands-on work in an interest related to academics, a future career or community service. And every student has to have a community mentor.

Thousands upon thousands of hours go into these projects. We highlighted some of the most ambitious projects in a story in Thursday’s edition. One student created a lacrosse club. Another built first-aid kits for needy people in the Philippines and traveled to the country to hand them out. Another created a student film festival.

We strongly support the concept of senior projects. They prepare students for their next steps in life, and, perhaps most important, teach them about community service.

Congratulations to all the area’s seniors on projects well done.

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