Senator Lee Heider’s State Senate Shenanigans

Senator Lee Heider’s State Senate Shenanigans

Folks in the Twin Falls area may be shocked to know what their allegedly conservative senator, Lee Heider has been doing at the state capitol. Recently, as the Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, his shenanigans included continuing to keep locked in his drawer a bill, SB1227, which would protect parents’ rights regarding their choice to exempt their children from vaccinations and keep their medical information confidential from meddling government agencies like the Department of Health & Welfare when putting their child into school or daycare. Senator Heider assured Senator Dan Foreman, who agreed to carry the bill this year, that Senate Bill 1227 would be on last Monday’s agenda, but of course, it never appeared. Heider pulled the same stunt last year, but also had agreed to carry the bill himself to insure that it would never leave his drawer and have a chance of being passed.

The good people that live in Twin Falls area might also want to know just how Lee Heider has been voting. According to the American Conservative Union’s Accuratings and the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Index for last year, Senator Heider votes for our freedoms and conservative values a mere 53%-55% of the time. Wow! That sounds very much like he is voting as a liberal/progressive.

A Bit of Background

Senator Lee Heider (Republican – Dist. 24) has been using his position as the Chairman of the State Senate Health & Welfare Committee to block legislation that would protect parental rights and freedom of choice in health care, while simultaneously assisting very controversial agendas of government agencies.

Prior to the 2017 legislative session, Senator Lee Heider agreed to sponsor a bill that would clarify the existing statute and protect the rights of Idaho’s parents from the attempts of the Department of Health & Welfare to gather confidential medical information with their intentionally discriminating/incriminating form.  IDHW had written a rule that was contrary to the intent of the statute, and had been mandating their form be used when attempting to register children for school.

On January 23rd,  Heider met again with Sarah Clendenon and Miste Karlfeldt, members of Health Freedom Idaho, a nonprofit organization interested in protecting the freedom of health choice for Idahoans, to discuss plans to present the bill.  Surprisingly, Heider then informed them that it was already too late, as the deadline for personal bills was the following day.  He also made it clear that his Senate Health & Welfare Committee members would never agree to pass the bill.  HFI requested that Heider move forward with the bill anyway, as planned, but Heider ignored their requests, until Representative Christy Zito agreed to carry the bill.  At that point, Senator Heider put the issue before his committee, and they agreed to have bill, SB 1050, printed.  

Who Does Senator Heider Work For?

However, it quickly became apparent that Senator Heider, did not intend to ever let the bill leave his drawer.  In fact, Senator Heider told Miste Karlfeldt, Executive Director of Health Freedom Idaho that he had instructions from Governor Otter, directing him to keep the bill drawered.  The governor and Dick Armstrong, the director of the Department of Health & Welfare, had plans for a bill that would change the statute to specify that IDHW’s form be required from parents when attempting to register their children for school after exercising their right to exempt them from vaccinations.  After members of Health Freedom Idaho and other concerned parents inundated the governor’s office with phone calls and emails protesting such actions, the controversial bill was never presented.

The Bait and Switch

 After more phone calls and emails to Senator Heider and his committee members, requesting that SB 1050 be heard, it was finally scheduled for February 23rd.  However, Miste Karlfeldt received an email at 4:50pm on the 22nd stating that Heider had changed the agenda and SB 1050 was no longer to be heard the next day.  All those that had prepared to give public testimony and travel to Boise to support the bill were left high and dry. The email did state that HFI could give the presentation they had requested to give to the Health & Welfare Committee, but that Dick Armstrong would first be presenting on IDHW’s updated form. Senator Heider had previously informed HFI that no public testimony would be allowed during presentations.

In the Health & Welfare Committee meeting on the 23rd, it appeared that Heider had changed the rules, and that testimony would be heard, of which many from IDHW were fully prepared for.  Though not fully prepared, but frustrated with Heider’s manipulations, many from HFI signed up to testify anyway.  Heider told Dick Armstrong to take all the time he needed to present the “benefits” of his revised form. Finally, Leslie Manookian with HFI began her presentation. Heider rudely interrupted Leslie partway through her presentation to inform her that there were many who wished to testify, and asked if she could please quickly conclude. 

Finally, in one last attempt to sway the outcome of the meeting by manipulating who got to testify, Heider informed those present that since there was not enough time to hear testimony from everyone, he was going to skip around on the list.  IDHW’s group were favored with more testimony opportunities including the final testimony given by Dick Armstrong, himself.

After all this, SB 1050 was never heard in committee. With Senator Heider’s dishonest tactics and rule manipulation, how can good bills ever get past “his” Health & Welfare Committee?

Don’t let Heider get away with this – he works for you, after all – contact him TODAY!    
phone: 208-731-1631    

Leave a Reply