Idaho House Passes “Greater Idaho” Bill
Greater Idaho, February 15, 2023
The Idaho House of Representatives voted in favor of the “Greater Idaho” bill Monday. The bill, numbered HJM 1, authorizes Idaho legislators to begin talks with Oregon about relocating the state line they share.
During debate on the floor of the House, proponents of the bill cited the desirability of applying Idaho law to eastern Oregon as a way to push Oregon drug laws farther away from Idaho’s current population. They also cited an economic analysis published last week for the Claremont Institute which shows that rural Oregon counties would be a net benefit to Idaho financially.
A press release on the Greater Idaho movement’s website, greateridaho.org, said, “we are asking Oregon Legislature leaders to give this idea a hearing in Oregon. Unlike any other bill, our Oregon bill SJM 2 is supported by the votes of 11 counties, and a poll a year ago showed that 68% of northwestern Oregonian voters want their officials to look into the idea. Eastern Oregon deserves a chance to present this proposal to Oregon state leaders.”
The next step for the Greater Idaho movement is probably a hearing in the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee. The Idaho legislative session ends in another month, so we’ll have to be quick.
During the debate on the House floor, Democrat Ned Burns claimed that the Trafalgar Group poll only polled Republicans. The Group’s own website clearly shows that is false. Trafalgar Group has staked their reputation and their business on their claim that they polled 1112 Idaho voters evenly balanced to reflect the likely general election electorate, as shown on their website. When the poll was conducted (October 2021), this famous pollster was one of the top 5 pollsters in the US for accuracy according to the most famous ranker of pollsters, fivethirtyeight dot com (Nate Silver). We spoke with the president of the company and he will issue a denial.
Rep. Burns also claimed that relocating the state line can only happen after the Idaho Constitution is amended. According to the Idaho AG’s office, that’s false. If the federal government approves an interstate compact between two states, it becomes the law of the land and supersedes even state constitutions, because of the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.
Another Democrat criticized eastern Oregonians for using Medicaid more than Idahoans do and said this would cost Idahoans too much. She didn’t mention that Idaho didn’t implement Obamacare, and Oregon did. Without Obamacare, some eastern Oregonians will go back to private insurance just like Idahoans.
Several senators claimed that the state line will never be moved. It is not a waste of time because there are strong reasons for Oregon to cede these counties. And polling of Portland-area voters is promising: 68% want Oregon government to look into this.