Political Sleight of Hand – Committees Shuffle Rules

Political Sleight of Hand – Committees Shuffle Rules

Health Freedom Idaho has a team of volunteers who spend hours starting the week of Legislative session combing through the agendas, announcements, and communications from the Capitol to see when and where the public needs to be present to ensure our voices are heard. Political games were played this week to keep both the public and committee members ‘in the dark’ about the content of the rules voted upon in committee. Then in an act of arrogance, the committee chair Senator Fred Martin mocked Health Freedom Idaho members in a social media post.

So first, for anyone who does not know, the term ‘anti-vaxxer’ is derogatory, degrading, and demeaning. It is hurtful and insensitive. Most parents who do not vaccinate their children did so at one time. They may now choose not to because they have a child with a vaccine injury. Maybe one of their children died from a vaccine. Maybe they have a niece or nephew or child of a friend whose grave they now visit because of vaccines. Or maybe a parent does not vaccinate because they did what parents do – they heard or read information contrary to their previous knowledge and they started researching and stopped vaccinating their children before something tragic, devastating, and lifelong occurred in their child’s life. 

Anti-vaxxer is a derogatory term used by politicians, media, and the pharmaceutical companies who own them both, to silence and gaslight parents who have children who were harmed by vaccines.

According to a Harvard Medical School study conducted between June 2006 and October 2009, vaccine injuries and deaths are vastly under-reported. It concluded that fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. This study was funded by a grant from the CDC. Once these reports came in, the CDC completely stopped communication with Harvard.

Yes, you read that correctly. The government agency that physicians look to for safety information and guidance ghosted the prestigious medical school whose study results did not align with the narrative being perpetuated. (Vaccine Safety: Under Reporting of Vaccine Adverse Events)

The people of Idaho understand the importance of parental rights in medical decision making. We understand and respect that these rights are fundamental and unalienable. These rights can not and will not be disrupted.

3 Years…3 Bills and Finally Administrative Rules were Modified

Health Freedom Idaho worked diligently for 3 years to ensure that Idaho Code matched the Administrative Rules from our state Department of Health and Welfare concerning the exemptions to vaccines for school and daycare attendance in our state.

We brought forward three bills – SB1050, SB1227, and HB133 in attempts to remedy the fact that our Administrative Rule did not reflect the right of a parent to submit a simple signed statement opting their child out of the vaccine mandates for school and daycare attendance in our state. These bills would have modified the controlling statutes, Idaho Code 39-4802 and Idaho Code 39-1118.

Finally, in 2018 the Department of Health and Welfare re-wrote the incorrect rules, bringing them into agreement with those controlling statutes. Parents across the state celebrated their rights being recognized and respected.  (Health Department Rule Change)

Between the time the temporary (correct) rules were published in the Spring of 2018 and the time they were to be confirmed by the Legislature in January 2019, the Department of Health and Welfare went through the rule that applies to school attendance, IDAPA, and everywhere the rule used the word “child,” it was changed to “student.”

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is huge. Firstly, the rule must match the controlling statute. The statute uses only the word “child.”

Secondly, the vaccine mandates do not apply to a person who is over 18 and no longer a minor child, but Idaho schools and daycares have consistently withheld as much information about the mandates and exemptions from Idaho parents as possible. Many 18-year-old students will likely be made to believe they must have these vaccines in order to attend high school and college, with no option in Idaho law for exemptions. 

In the 2019 House Health and Welfare hearing to confirm the rule, citizens and parents went to the Capitol and voiced their very valid complaints about the wording change the Department had made with no public input.

The Department acknowledged to the committee, on record, that the word “student” needed to be changed back to “child.” The Department representative assured Chairman Fred Wood this change would be made and the rule would be corrected after the committee confirmed it.

Wood allowed the motion and vote to confirm the rule, and it passed with a majority vote. THE DEPARTMENT WENT BACK ON THEIR WORD AND NEVER CORRECTED THE RULE. So now, after 4 years of work, we are back to a place where the rule does not match the statute.

Public Petitions for Hearings on the Rules in Counties

This summer hundreds of people came to testify at public hearings before the Health Department. Hundreds more sent in concerns about this problem throughout the state to their legislators. They expected their voices would be heard and listened to. (Standing Room Only at Public Hearings)

Now, We Have A Problem

Now, in the matter of the Administrative Rules confirmation happening right now in the Idaho Legislature, we have a problem.

Last session (2019), the House and Senate could not agree on the bill to reauthorize Idaho’s entire set of Administrative Rules. Because of this, every rule is temporary and has to be confirmed by one committee in either the House or the Senate. This seems simple, and like a perfect opportunity to complain about our exemption rule not matching our exemption statute.

Health Freedom Idaho has been trying diligently to track down which committee would hear that particular set that contained our rule in question, and when exactly it would be heard so that we could testify against the current, inappropriate wording.

Unfortunately, it has not been simple at all.

It seems that the powers that be panicked, knowing the potential to have the entire legislative session tied up with citizens challenging rules (as they should be).

So the rules were divided up in ways that seem intentionally counter-intuitive in order to make finding one in particular very tough to chase down.

That is exactly what happened.

The House committee on Wednesday, Jan 8 passed as a whole the dockets that included IDAPA 16.01 and 16.03.

We tried to figure out where IDAPA 16.02 was.
Had it been moved to a different day?
Was it excluded completely for some reason?
So many questions that none of the representatives we talked to could answer for us. During the committee hearings, the Representatives were attempting to understand and asking questions, which seemed to also go unanswered.

Ultimately authorization motions and votes took place, with many on the committees not understanding what they had reauthorized.

This is certainly not a transparent, representative government. 

Thursday, January 9, while Health Freedom Idaho was at the Capitol giving tours, the Senate Health and Welfare committee had the docket on its agenda that included IDAPA 16.02. Unfortunately, we did not realize it was happening right at the time we were there.

The next day, the chairman, Fred Martin, had the audacity to post this extremely insensitive and outrageous description on his Senate Facebook page:

Health Freedom Idaho has had multiple conversations with this man about the problem with the word “student” being used instead of the word from Idaho Code – “child.” He is well aware of the problem with the way this rule was written. Especially because of his position as chairperson, Fred Martin had the very important responsibility of having this discussion in his committee and remedying this problem.

What did he do instead? He publicly mocked the parents of vaccine-injured and vaccine killed children. He puffed his chest and proclaimed what a friend he is to Idahoans who value and defend health and medical freedom. He promotes himself as a Republican, a person concerned with personal liberty, parental rights, and bodily autonomy. HE IS NONE OF THOSE THINGS. He is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who takes thousands of dollars in campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies. He ignores, mocks, or completely deletes discussions that parents try to have with him about these issues. He wants nothing more than to destroy our right to make medical decisions for our children.

Fred Martin is an enemy of freedom. 

Here is the good news: It appears we may be able to pull this rule back up in committee for a discussion. Health Freedom Idaho is working to figure out exactly what that looks like and how to do so.

Please be on the lookout for our call to action. We need Idaho parents to show up and testify about the problem with this rule and why the people of Idaho demand it be fixed immediately.

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