(Congressman Mike Simpson Press Release, February 1, 2023)
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson last week joined Veterans Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) in introducing H.R. 592, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization Improvement Act, to further protect veterans’ access to quality healthcare.
Congressman Simpson has repeatedly raised concerns about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) rollout of the new Electronic Health Record (EHR) system at the Boise VA Medical Center (VAMC), which was postponed from the original go-live date of June 25, 2022, then to July 23, 2022, and now tentatively to 2024.
While initially intended to improve care coordination and increase efficiency, over the past year, the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released multiple reports detailing deficiencies with the new EHR system, which was first deployed at the Mann-Grandstaff VAMC in Spokane, Washington. These deficiencies have led to delays in patient care, refilling prescriptions and managing referrals, among other things. In April, Congressman Simpson raised concerns to VA regarding these OIG reports and requested information on steps being taken to ensure these issues do not further impede veteran care during the planned rollout at the Boise VAMC. Though a few of these deficiencies have been addressed, numerous outstanding issues remain.
In addition to actions Congressman Simpson has already taken by meeting with Boise VAMC leaders and providers, Veterans Health Administration stakeholders, and requesting the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to visit the Boise VAMC, this legislation will further protect Idaho Veterans’ access to healthcare by ensuring the new system is not fully implemented until certain criteria are met.
EHRM Improvement Act:
The bill would prevent VA from implementing the EHR at any new site until its director, chief of staff, and its Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) director certify that:
The build and configuration of the system are correct for the site;
The staff and infrastructure of the site are adequately prepared; and
The EHR will not have adverse impacts on wait times, patient safety, or quality.
The bill would also prevent VA from starting go-live preparation activities (such as readiness assessments, workshops, training, or testing) at any new sites until the Secretary certifies that:
The EHR has 99.9% uptime for four months; and
All improvements that have been tasked on Oracle Cerner’s contract at the time of the bill’s enactment have been completed.
“Providing adequate access to healthcare and resources for our veterans is absolutely essential. I am deeply concerned about the rollout of the new EHR system and remain committed to working with VA, hospital and provider staff, and veterans themselves to ensure this right for veterans in Idaho and across our nation,” said Simpson. “This bill is an important step in ensuring the EHR is safe and effective before it is implemented at another VA facility. Our veterans deserve the best treatment available on behalf of their sacrifice and service to our country and I am eager for the bill’s timely consideration on the House floor.”
(Governor’s Office Press Release, February 2, 2023)
Boise, Idaho–Governor Brad Little notified the Biden Administration today of his intention to sue the federal government for its failure to uphold the law and make a required finding on the State of Idaho’s petition to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
“Idaho’s entire congressional delegation and I are lockstep in our demand for answers from the federal government about grizzly bear delisting. Idaho has continually demonstrated leadership in species management, and we expect the federal government to uphold its duties in providing clarity around issues that greatly impact a variety of activities on the ground in our state,” Governor Little said.
Over 10 months ago, Idaho petitioned for delisting the “lower-48” grizzly bear because it does not qualify as a “species” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was required to make a 90-day finding by June 7, 2022, but failed to do so.
In today’s letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Governor Little said, “USFWS has provided only vague excuses and evasive answers as to why the agency has not made an initial determination on Idaho’s petition. USFWS’ lack of transparency on this subject has persisted, despite requests to discuss this subject at various meetings… In November 2022, Idaho’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to USFWS Director Williams urging response to Idaho’s petition and requesting a status report from USFWS. The delegation’s letter remains unanswered.”
“A determination on Idaho’s petition is what the ESA requires and what grizzly bear conservation and Idahoans deserve. Unless USFWS makes the initial determination on Idaho’s petition within the next 60 days, we intend to file suit,” the Governor added.
11:00 AM: Executive Session under Idaho Code §74-206(1)(f) to communicate with legal counsel for the public agency to discuss the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated. The mere presence of legal counsel at an executive session does not satisfy this requirement with potential action following adjournment of Executive Session (action item)
10:30 AM: Executive Session under Idaho Code §§74-206(b) to consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school and (f) to communicate with legal counsel for the public agency to discuss the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated. The mere presence of legal counsel at an executive session does not satisfy this requirement with potential action following adjournment of Executive Session (action item)
11:00 AM: Executive Session under Idaho Code §§74-206(b) to consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school and (f) to communicate with legal counsel for the public agency to discuss the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated. The mere presence of legal counsel at an executive session does not satisfy this requirement with potential action following adjournment of Executive Session (action item)
Wednesday, February 8, 2023:
There are no meetings scheduled at this time.
Thursday, February 9, 2023:
9:00 AM: Meeting to approve claims with Executive Session under Idaho Code §74-206 (1)(a)&(b) regarding personnel with potential action following adjournment of Executive Session (action item)
9:15 AM: Work Session (potential action items) (The agenda for the Work Session will be updated on Monday, February 13, 2023.)
7:00 PM: Community Engagement Meeting (Note: This meeting will be held at the McCammon Depot, 802 Front St., McCammon, ID)
Friday, February 10, 2023:
There are no meetings scheduled at this time.
More about BOCC Meetings
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is comprised of the three elected County Commissioners: Ernie Moser (District 1, Chair), Jeff Hough (District 2), and John Crowder (District 3).
The BOCC generally meets twice a week: regular business meetings are on Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. and work sessions are on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are generally held in the Commissioner’s Chambers at 624 E Center, Room 212, Pocatello, Idaho, unless otherwise noted. Times subject to change within 15 minutes of stated time.
During these meetings, the BOCC may: approve contracts, expend funds, hear testimony, make decisions on land use cases and take care of other County matters, and are open to the public.
Boise–In his recent newsletter, Representative Vito Barbieri [R] shared the following updates on several bills that are currently working their way through the Idaho House and Senate. He wrote:
House Bill 1-
House Bill 1 already passed the House and has now moved to the Senate. HB1 ensures that post-election audits of paper ballots are conducted using a hand count of those paper ballots. Read the Full Bill Text Here
House Bill 2-
NO FUNDS FOR ABORTION ACT
House Bill 2 was introduced last week and it is now waiting for a full vote by the House. This legislation amends the No Public Funds for Abortion Act. The new section adds 18-8709 to withhold sales and use tax revenues from local government entities that issue proclamations, or take similar actions, to defy state law and refuse to investigate or enforce Idaho criminal abortion statutes. Said funds may be released to an offending local government if compliance occurs within a certain time. Should the local government entity not comply, said funds shall be forfeited and deposited in the state general fund. Read the Full Bill Text Here
HOUSE BILL 20-
CHILD PROTECTION/FALSE REPORTS
HB 20 was printed in the House, it is now awaiting a full hearing. HB20 refers to Section 16-1607 related to reporting abuse, neglect or the abandonment of children under the Child Protective Act. Currently, a person who reports allegations to CPS that they know to be false or reports allegations in bad faith or with malice is subject to civil liability to the parties against whom the report was made. This legislation retains the civil liability and adds a misdemeanor criminal penalty for these types of reports. Read the Full Bill Text Here
HOUSE BILL 24-
STUDENT GRANT PROGRAM
This bill expands the existing Idaho Launch program to high school graduates starting with the class of 2024. Eligible graduates can receive a grant of $8,500 to be redeemed at the workforce training provider, career technical program, community college, or college of their choice. Preference will be given to students pursuing in-demand careers based on job market data. Read the Full Bill Text Here
SENATE BILL 1005-
VACCINATION EXEMPTION NOTIFICATION
Senate Bill 1005 was printed in the Senate, it is now awaiting a full hearing in Health and welfare. This legislation requires licensed daycare facilities to notify parents or guardians of their right to vaccine exemptions anytime the licensed daycare facilities communicate with parents regarding vaccination requirements. Vaccine exemptions for children attending licensed daycare facilities exist in Idaho code 39-1118. With the addition of this legislation, any notifications to parents or guardians regarding vaccinations must include a description of their right to exempt their child. Read the Full Bill Text Here
SENATE BILL 1012-
PATIENT’S RIGHT TO VISIT
SB 1012 was printed in the Senate and it is now awaiting a full hearing in Health and Welfare. The legislation seeks to amend Title 39, Idaho Code, by adding a new chapter that provides for a “Patient’s Right to Visitation”, where Idaho families will have the fundamental right to visit their loved ones who are receiving care in hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities. No healthcare facility in Idaho may require a vaccine as a condition of visitation and every healthcare facility must allow their residents and patients to be hugged by their loved ones. Furthermore, this right of visitation cannot be waived by an emergency declaration. Read the Full Bill Text Here
Last Thursday, Chloe Cole came to Idaho. Over the course of 24 hours, she spoke to a packed church in Caldwell, visited lawmakers, shared her story at IFF’s Capitol Clarity, was interviewed by KBOI’s Nate Shelman, and recorded a podcast with Wayne Hoffman. If you didn’t know her story, and simply met her on the street for an impromptu conversation, you would think she was just another young woman of Generation Z. Indeed, outside of the generation-specific lexicon she might well be a girl from any era.
Idaho Freedom Foundation brought Chloe to Boise last week to speak to lawmakers, parents, and fellow young people. She has been on with Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, Jordan Peterson, and many more platforms. Despite her young age she is an eloquent and engaging speaker, but her personality is not just for show. After spending time with her last week, I and the rest of the IFF staff found her to be as kind and humble away from the camera as she is in front of it.
You know her story by now. As a preteen she started using social media, and was soon bombarded with messages undermining femininity and promoting LGBTQ+ ideas. She began to identify as a boy named Leo, binding her chest and taking puberty blockers. She graduated to testosterone treatments and finally had a double mastectomy as a high school sophomore.
She began to regret her decision, especially after learning about the psychology behind breastfeeding, how it forms a bond between mother and baby. Despite disdaining the idea of motherhood as a young teenager. Chloe began to realize the magnitude of her decision, the permanence. At an age when she would not have been allowed to sign a contract, get a tattoo, or join the military, Chloe Cole had irreversibly altered herself, literally cutting herself off from any possibility of someday nurturing a child.
Thousands of teenagers across the country are going through the same process Chloe did, often after being algorithmically pointed toward LGBTQ+ content on social media. For Chloe, it was Instagram. For others it is YouTube or TikTok. Once the algorithm learns that you’re a teenager it starts presenting you with trans influencers who seem so happy to have taken hormones and gotten surgery so as to “live out their true selves”. Social media is designed to make being non-binary look exciting while normal is boring.
Chloe also mentioned that a lot of people she knew who identified as trans were on the autism spectrum, including herself. This makes sense to me. Being a teenager is already an awkward time, and being neurodivergent compounds those feelings. You feel like you’re not normal, that there’s something wrong with your body, that nobody else understands what you’re experiencing. Then you go online and find a whole community of people who get you in the way your friends and family don’t.
It seems like a lovely thing, but in reality it is a cult. People who study cults explain that in the initial stages, cult members love bomb their prospective initiate. They overwhelm them with expressions of love and acceptance, making the initiate feel like she has finally found her real home. The flip side is that if anyone leaves the cult, they are condemned with as much hate as they were welcomed with love. Leaving the cult is portrayed as betraying everyone in the family. And this is exactly what Chloe experienced when she stopped identifying as transgender.
Podcaster Darryl Cooper of Martyr Made sees a similarity between Jonestown and the transgender cult. He wrote on Twitter this week:
When I was working on my Jonestown series, it occurred to me that the internet might facilitate cults of unprecedented proportions, that rather than 1,000 people committing mass suicide, it could be millions. It’s increasingly clear that that’s exactly what the trans movement is.
It bears every hallmark of a cult: isolates from former relationships, demands total identity transformation, irreversible acts to display one’s commitment, intolerance of heresy, severe penalties for leaving the group… It’s not suicide, but removal of genitals is one step away.
It seems clear at this point that gender dysphoria is contagious in the same way Tourette’s has been observed spreading to young girls via Tik Tok. More experienced members initiate new acolytes – look up what they mean by “cracking the egg” for more on that.
I think I’m right about this, and that a Jonestown-style cult has infiltrated all major media corporations, the education system, and has even cowed most politicians.
Most people find puberty to be awkward and strange. In previous eras, children would grow out of these feelings and accept themselves as adult human beings. That is the definition of growing up. The internet changed everything. There was on old post on 4chan that explained the power of the internet in creating communities based on awkward fetishes. In the old days, if you had a strange predilection as a teenager, you either grew out of it on your own or well-meaning friends and family told you to shape up. Now, you go online and find a whole community of people who share your predilection. You become convinced that this is a legitimate thing, and you demand power and representation in society, as well as actively recruit for your cause.
I have heard numerous stories of people drawn to the idea of puberty blockers simply out of fear of growing up. Puberty is a scary time for children, as their bodies start changing and behaving differently than they ever did. Drugs that halt puberty do more than prevent cosmetic changes, however. Bones do not develop properly, and can make people much more prone to severe injuries than they should be. Brain development slows down too, leading to adults whose minds are literally arrested in a prepubescent state.
Puberty is a natural part of development, and interfering with it leads to a host of unintended consequences. But doctors and activists don’t tell that to the children who are pushed into making these decisions.
When I attended Boise Pride Fest last year I saw a lot of people who were hurt and broken. Many were likely shunned by the popular kids in school, so they have found strength in a community that celebrates what sets them apart rather than opposing it. They reject any suggestion that there is anything harmful about their lifestyle, directing their aggression toward parents that don’t accept them, society that doesn’t validate them, and the God who had the audacity to create them.
When I was in school in the 1990s, many of the teen girls who felt like they didn’t fit in to the normal high school social system presented themselves as goth: they died their hair black, wore black nail polish, and adorned themselves with heavy metal and satanic paraphernalia. They seemed to delight in shocking the older generations. Most eventually grew out of this phase with little permanent harm. Unfortunately the transgender phase causes irreversible damage.
Abigail Shrier’s book of the same name is required reading for all parents today. The author interviews dozens of trans-identifying people and their families. A familiar refrain emerged: preteen girl gets a mobile phone and goes on social media, finds herself immersed in LGBTQ+ ideas. She tells her parents she wants to be a boy, or non-binary, and they take her to a counselor or psychologist to figure out what is happening. The counselor tells the parents to follow their daughter’s wishes – call her by a boy name, cut her hair short, buy her boy clothing, allow her to bind her chest – lest she commit suicide.
This is the gun that the transgender lobby holds to the heads of shell-shocked parents: Transition your child or they will die. Chloe Cole says her counselor told her parents the same thing, though she says she never had any inclination toward suicide. The truth doesn’t matter so much as the approved script. The goal of the medical system is to push children into transition, no matter what. They take advantage of children with real issues – issues with fitting in, issues with identity, issues with self esteem – and push them to life-altering choices.
And they get paid, too. Last year Matt Walsh exposed how Vanderbilt University’s transgender clinic made big bucks on trans surgeries and the inevitable follow-ups:
BREAKING: My team and I have been investigating the transgender clinic at Vanderbilt here in Nashville. Vanderbilt drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors. But it gets worse. Here is what we found. Let’s start at the beginning.
7:54 PM ∙ Sep 20, 2022
Transgenderism is big business because it creates patients for life. First there are the puberty blockers, then there are the hormones, then the surgeries, then the follow-ups for life. Of course, most patients don’t pay directly, rather they are subsidized by insurance companies and even government funds.
Today the fetish of transgenderism is not only amplified by social media, but protected and endorsed at every level of government. Texas father Jeff Younger went on Timcast Friday night to share his harrowing story. His wife wanted to transition their then-two year old son into being a girl, and he refused to allow it. They divorced, and Mr. Younger got a Texas court to stop any medical transition without both parents’ consent. The former Mrs. Younger took the boy to California, where homosexual State Representative Scott Weiner has been working very hard to allow as much grooming as possible, and a Texas court refused to stop her.
Seeing a mother with a trans toddler is like seeing a pet owner who says her dog is vegan. You know who is calling the shots there. Having a trans child is a mark of prestige for social climbers in certain classes.
I believe there is something else going on here at a higher level. There is a common thread in the stories we hear about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and transgenderism – a desire to supersede God and nature:
God created the mind of man, but we will create a superior AI
God created the natural world, but we will create a better world in the Metaverse
God created us male and female, but with drugs and surgery we can be whatever we want
It is the same hubris that has tempted mankind since the dawn of time: “You will be like God.”
I appreciate what Chloe Cole is doing in sharing her story across the country. It is one thing to debate this issue in theory, but to see a young woman who went through it herself and has come back from the brink to warn others is much more impactful. The fruits of her activism are twofold: Education for parents and motivation for lawmakers.
I have heard many stories of parents who were caught completely off guard by what happened to their son or daughter, and only realized too late how pernicious social media and the medical industry has become. Yet the time of ignorance is over. Watch Chloe share her story. Listen to Jeff Younger’s sad tale. Read Abigail Shrier’s book. Learn to recognize the monster that is coming for your children.
Tell your lawmakers to protect our children. Here in Idaho, Rep. Bruce Skaug of Nampa has introduced a bill to ban transgender surgeries for minors. You would think it would be common sense, but this bill is attracting opposition from Democrats as well as from the medical industry. Remember that St. Luke’s, right here in Boise, provides puberty blockers, hormones, and even surgery for minors who claim to be transgender. They stand to lose, financially and ideologically, if Rep. Skaug’s bill passes the legislature. We must do whatever we can to help it pass. Keep an eye on the House State Affairs Committee for House Bill 71 and be ready to share your own testimony in support of this important bill.
“Good government throughout Western Civilization has a legitimate purpose, and that is to restrain evil,” said Rep. Skaug on Thursday. He is absolutely correct. Our laws must protect children from the irreversible damage being promoted by the transgender cult. But laws are not enough. At Valley Church in Caldwell last Wednesday, Chloe Cole said, “Several states have started to ban transitioning children, but this is not something that can be caused by legislation alone. We need to show love to our children that are struggling with gender issues.”
Stay connected to your children. They need to know that their family loves them, that the awkwardness of puberty will pass naturally in time, and that activists on social media do not have their best interests at heart. Speaking with Wayne Hoffman last Thursday, Chloe said the best things for children are the “three H’s: hugs, hikes, and hobbies.” If children are plugged into real life then they are not likely to be seduced by the transgender cult. We as parents must take a proactive role in raising our children, or else social media, pop culture, and the schools will do it for us. Let’s make sure no more children go through the same trauma as Chloe Cole.
Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history. His work can be found on Substack, here.
Pocatello–The Steven D. Merrell Detachment #698 of the Marine Corps League, a local service organizationofformerMarinesandFleetMarineForceCorpsmen, is accepting applications for the Roy Weaver Memorial Scholarship. Any high school seniors, including those enrolled in home school, may apply. Application materials may be mailed to Steven D Merrell MCL #698, 300 N Johnson, Pocatello, ID 83204, and must be received by the Detachment no later than April 1, 2023.
The Roy Weaver Memorial Fund was established at the Idaho Marine Corps League Department Convention in 2011. The purpose of the Fund is to present Scholarships to local students seeking post-secondary education. Last year the Department awarded a $1,000.00 to an applicant that applied through the Steven D. Merrell Detachment. (See the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer story, here.)
Roy Weaver, for whom the scholarship was named, was a member of the Marine Corps League Pappy Boyington Detachment, #966 Coeur d’Alene and of the Military Order of Devil Dogs (MODD). He held several offices in the Department of Idaho Marine Corps League and was Senior Vice Commandant. He also served as Senior Vice Pack Leader of MODD. Weaver passed away in 2010.
The Detachment will review the applications received and select one finalist to forward to the Idaho Marine Corps League Department for final consideration. The Department will select the final awardees from the applications submitted by each Detachment.
On Monday, February 6, the group “Patriots for Liberty & Constitution” will begin discussing Henry Hazlitt’s classic book, Economics in One Lesson. The discussion will be led by Art da Rosa.
According to the event notes, “We will start a new book, Economics in One Lesson. For our next discussion, we will be discussing 3 chapters. Chapters 1, 2, 3. Representative Ron Nate generously donated books for this class. Come and get one.”
The group meets at Mountain Valley Baptist Church, 202 S. 7th Avenue in Pocatello, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Mar-a-Lago, FL–President Donald J. Trump released a new video detailing China’s increased espionage within the United States and Joe Biden’s weak leadership in allowing China to trample on American sovereignty.
“As President, I took the most dramatic action of any administration to curtail China’s ability to conduct espionage in the United States,” President Trump said. “And when I’m back in the White House, those efforts will be expanded in a very, very big way. Instead of hunting down Republicans, a reformed FBI and Justice Department will be hunting down Chinese spies.”
President Trump posted on Truth Social to let the American people know exactly where he stands on the China spy balloon.
Joe Biden has surrendered America’s borders to illegal aliens, and now he has surrendered American airspace to Communist China. Biden is deliberately allowing a Chinese spy balloon to soar freely over the continental United States.
Biden is weak on China because he is controlled and owned by China. He dismantled the Trump administration’s initiative countering Chinese espionage in the United States, he canceled the ban on the Chinese intelligence weapon known as TikTok, and he is allowing China to buy up critical infrastructure all over the country, including real estate near sensitive U.S. military bases.
When President Trump is back in the White House, he will kick Chinese intelligence operations out of the country and force China to give up any U.S. holdings that put national security at risk. A strong signal must be sent that America will not allow China to trample our sovereignty and illegally surveil our country.
(Idaho Department of Education Press Release, February 3, 2023)
Boise–A paper written by current and former College of Idaho students and their professor has been accepted for in-person presentation at this year’s fifth annual World Literacy Summit, to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom on April 2–4 at the prestigious Oxford University.
Dr. Sally Brown of College of Idaho (C of I), along with C of I alumna Meg Osterhout and current C of I junior Jaden Hernandez, have been invited to present their research project, “Working to Teach Every Child to Read: Increasing Outcomes on Dual Fronts.” Their research project explored the effects of literacy interventions on individual students’ literacy outcomes, while also measuring pre-service teachers’ perceived growth and knowledge about assessment and intervention.
Hernandez and Osterhout are particularly excited to bring their unique Idaho perspective to this prestigious conference. Hernandez is a 2020 graduate of Vallivue High School in Caldwell, and Osterhout is a 2016 graduate of Capital High School in Boise. Osterhout currently teaches fourth grade at Lewis and Clark Elementary in Caldwell.
Their research was selected following a competitive application review process that sees submissions presented by researchers and thought leaders from all over the world. They will present their findings at the summit on April 4.
“This is an incredible opportunity for these students,” says Dr. Brown. “Having their work recognized and also connecting with others that are so passionate about literacy will impact their future work in Idaho!”
The World Literacy Summit, presented by the World Literacy Foundation, brings together leaders from 85 countries, representing over two-thirds of the world’s population, all with a single focus: advocating, championing and educating on the vital importance of improving literacy levels across the globe. This is the world’s largest gathering of international literacy specialists, including NGO leaders, researchers, academics, literacy entrepreneurs, education companies, publishers, practitioners and government representatives.
This year’s summit will address topics including adult literacy, new technologies, sustainable development and more. Click here for a full description of this year’s program streams or to view this year’s summit presenters.