When millions of dollars are on the line in a community in an election, we think lots of people should decide on the outcome. But this Tuesday, 90 percent of registered voters in Twin Falls decided to sit it out. While non-presidential elections tend to have lower turnout, this school bond election seemed to have lower than average turnout. In Jerome County, just 7 percent of registered voters weighed in on the school bond. Minidoka County had the highest, at 20 percent. We all have busy lives, but it’s important to remember that local decisions can often affect us the most. Registering is the first step. Then, pay attention and, most important: vote.
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School across south-central Idaho are expanding their agriculture programs. We think that’s a great thing. Jerome High School’s ag program has gone from 45 to 400 students. And this school year, Jerome Middle School hired a full-time agriculture teacher and offers classes for seventh- and eighth-graders. In Declo, 200 of the high school’s 300 students are taking an agriculture class. Students are learning plant science, animal science, welding, forestry and wildlife, equine science and more. Students in these classes are learning skills they can use right here in Idaho. We hope these growing classes will continue to be supported by their communities.
Thursday, some Idaho lawmakers debated a bill that would restrict gun rights of those convicted of sexual battery of a 16 or 17-year-old. The bill eventually passed, but not before some legislators made some unfortunate comments. Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammet, debated against the bill and cited concerns about “unintended consequences” for young men who have sex with a teenage girl. “There is more than one way to destroy a life,” she said. Rep. Boyle also debated against the bill, arguing teen girls sometimes look older than they are: “Parents are not paying much attention to the way girls are dressed or the makeup they put on.” The bill clearly is talking about people who are convicted of a crime. Is it too much to ask that lawmakers understand that “I thought she was 18” isn’t a legitimate excuse for sexual battery?