People Ban: ID State Update


A win for property rights
Mar. 22, 2012

In a major victory for property rights and the battle against government overreach, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in favor of an Idaho couple locked in a wetlands fight with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The decision paves the way for property owners across the country to challenge dubious bureaucratic edicts that limit how they may use their own land.
The case originated in Idaho, where Mike and Chantell Sackett bought a 0.63-acre lot in a subdivision near a scenic lake in the state’s panhandle. In 2007, the couple obtained local building permits in order to build a home there.
When site preparation commenced, however, officials from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers demanded that work stop, claiming they thought the land might contain wetlands, which are regulated by the Clean Water Act.
The agencies subsequently ordered the Sacketts to restore the site to its natural state before construction could begin. The couple faced fines of up to $37,500 a day — almost $15,000 more per day than they paid for the property — if they failed to comply.
The couple argued that there was no reasonable way to challenge the ruling without risking huge financial losses because they weren’t allowed their day in court until the EPA decided to sue to collect the fines, which could take months or even years.
The agency countered that allowing judicial review of such “compliance orders” would hamper its ability to act quickly to stop potential environmental degradation. That position found a sympathetic ear in the lower courts, including at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court wisely recognized the danger of granting bureaucrats such wide latitude.
If the federal government prevailed, Justice Samuel Alito noted in a concurring opinion, it would “put the property rights of ordinary Americans entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency employees.”

This is a just and proper outcome. Our constitutional protections don’t exist to make things easier for federal agents to impose their will on ordinary Americans. Quite the opposite. Those who appreciate that vital concept will vigorously applaud the court’s ruling.

Healthcare Commission endorses statewide smoking ban
KIFI – Idaho Falls,ID,USA
A similar smoking ban bill failed in this year’s legislative session. Beth Worthen is assistant commission director. She says that even if the smoking ban …
Legislators look at statewide smoking ban
KIFI – Idaho Falls,ID,USA
AP – August 25, 2007 4:05 PM ET CASPER, Wyo. (AP) – The Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Interim Committee has voted to draft a bill to ban smoking …


Sen. Says Veterans Smoking Ban ‘Injustice’
January 12, 2005

COUER D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho state senator wants to allow smoking in the state’s homes for veterans, arguing that forcing former service men and women to go outside is an “injustice” that needs to be remedied.
Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, introduced the Idaho Senate’s first bill for the 2005 session Tuesday, asking the Legislature to allow residents of veterans homes to smoke in designated areas. Under an indoor smoking law passed in the 2004 session, all smoking in restaurants and public buildings was banned, and that included state veterans homes.
Studies have shown that Americans often take up smoking after joining one of the branches of the military. Air Force officials discovered that when civilians join the military, 28 percent smoke, and after one year of duty, about 41 percent are daily smokers.
If Goedde’s bill is successful, veterans will be able to smoke in designated smoking rooms inside the homes. He said the smoking rooms provide good ventilation for the veterans and make sure smoke doesn’t spread to other parts of the homes.
“It seemed like an injustice,” said Goedde. “The (veterans) have to go outside in 100-degree heat or below-freezing temperatures to smoke. That’s not right.”
Idaho has three veterans homes in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello, which are managed buy the Idaho Division of Veterans Services.
The American Cancer Society does not oppose Goedde’s proposal.
When it supported the legislation last year, officials said they intended that state-owned veterans homes be afforded the same flexibility as other nursing homes in the state, which by law can allow designated smoking areas for their residents.
“We want to protect the non-smokers who are there and the workers and people coming to visit,” said spokesman Brad Hoaglun. “But at the same time there are certain areas where administrators need to have some flexibility.
“An 86-year-old veteran is probably not going to be quitting the habit,” Hoaglun said. “To have a separate room that’s ventilated and where nurses can keep an eye one them is probably the best way to go.”
The smoking issue was the top priority for all the veterans organizations in the state, said Pat Teague, acting division administrator for the Idaho Division of Veteran Services.
“I believe for most of our veterans in the stage of life they’re in, smoking is one of few pleasures left,” Teague said.
Some veterans advocates say that residents of the facilities are already approaching the end of life and shouldn’t be denied one of their few remaining joys in a comfortable environment.
“It’s not like smoking is going to kill them,” said Dusty Rhoads’, District 1 commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “They are all on their last leg anyway.”
Goedde said this bill is just the first on his list of seven. The fact that it’s the first of the 2005 Legislature shouldn’t take on any additional significance, he said.
Goedde and other North Idaho lawmakers were behind an attempt last year to make an exemption to the smoking ban for restaurants that have bars.


Put this in your pipe and smoke it
Guest Opinion
November 28, 2005
As an unrepentant smoker who has seen smoking move from a mainstream middle class activity to a marginalized and even demonized activity, the current initiative to create a smoke free campus is extremely troubling.
In defense of smokers’ rights and liberties in general I would like to make several points.First, as I understand the statistics provided, about a third of those polled support a smoking ban. Last time I looked this was not a majority. Are we living in a democracy or a theocracy?
If a public organization wishes to ban a legal activity I would suggest it be required to attain a super majority at least and in this poll the super majority did not support this proposed ban. As a state institution we have an obligation to be inclusive. Smoking is currently a legal although restricted activity. The statistics reported show a substantial number of students, staff and faculty smoke.
Do we as a state sponsored institution have a right to exclude 10 to 20 percent of the law-abiding tax paying public? The argument is that smoking students are less desirable students. Is this a hidden attack on Class differences? There was no problem with smoking when it was a middle class activity but now that the majority of smokers are working class it’s ok to discriminate against them.
Isn’t a goal of the public education system in this country to use education to improve the society? How can this goal be reached when we exclude those that often need education the most? Additionally, I question the statistics used. Simple frequencies often hide spurious effects. Smoking is already highly restricted on campus. Do we need yet more restrictions on our liberties?
How about we enforce the policies we already have? If we ban smoking what will be next. The argument made is often that second hand smoke is a health hazard; that is why we have been relegated to the great outdoors.
What about those often unregulated lawn maintenance implements spewing out foul fumes and obnoxious noises or the cars and buses polluting our pure campus environment? Maybe we should ban them as well. We already have so many restrictions that we do not enforce on this campus.
Daily I witness numerous near misses as those on foot dive for cover from the illegal activities of bicyclists and skateboarders. Will it take litigation from an injured individual to wake us up to the real dangers on this campus? Educate and enforce the policies we have now, don’t make new, more restrictive ones that will drive people away.
Are we trying to become a Metropolitan Research University of Distinction or a university famous for gimmicks? According to the statistics released, 16 other universities, of the thousands of colleges and universities in this land, ban smoking. That is not a bandwagon or even a trend, so why should we jump on it.
If we want to attract top students how about we fund our education system appropriately instead of offering dubious bells and whistles? Catch phrases and pretty pictures will not attract and keep the top students, top programs will. Much more could be said but my space is limited.
We as a society once before tried to ban a morally questionable behavior and what was the result of prohibition? If we ban smoking what will be next and who will decide? Steven Patrick is a professor in the Department of Sociology



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