Idaho Dispatch

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Board of Ada County Commissioners Respond to Commissioner Davidson’s Lobbyist Objection

By • December 6, 2023

The Board of Ada County Commissioners has sent out a response to the opinion piece written last week by Ada County Commissioner Ryan Davidson.

You can find Commissioner Davidson’s piece here: Op-Ed: Time to End the Practice of Taxpayer-funded Lobbyists in Ada County – Idaho Dispatch

At the end of the opinion article, Davidson encouraged Ada County residents to submit their thoughts to the general commission email address, Those who did so received this response,

“…No decisions have been made by the Board at this time. All contracts, including this contract for lobbying services, follow a prescribed approval process to ensure compliance with Idaho law.

As you are likely aware, Ada County has retained the services of a lobbying firm to assist us for a number of years now. Being a county commissioner in Idaho’s most populous county is a full-time job. Our days, and often evenings, are filled with meetings necessary for the proper operation of county government. Commissioners’ meeting schedules simply won’t allow us to be at all necessary legislative meetings and committee hearings on bills that impact Ada County.

Financial, public policy and other issues of great importance to Ada County will be discussed at the Legislature this session:

  • Criminal public defense reform, including the county obligation to provide child protection attorneys
  • Tax exemptions for non-profit hospitals
  • Emergency Medical Services authority and funding
  • Funding of court services for high profile trials
  • Governance and funding formulas for health districts mandated by the state
  • State water policy which impacts local land use planning decisions
  • Reimbursement to counties for state inmates in county jails

These are issues that will impact Ada County residents greatly. It is important for the county to have its interests represented well this session to ensure good public policy making.

Like all county expenses, the funds to pay for lobbyist services had to be budgeted. This spring and summer the Board of Ada County Commissioners went through the regular and extensive budgeting process and the funding for these services was approved unanimously. The county budget was approved line by line during presentations, approved again in its entirety as a Tentative Budget, and the final budget unanimously approved by the Board of County Commissioners in August of 2023.


Board of Ada County Commissioners

200 W. Front St., Boise, ID 83702
(208) 287-7000 office
(208) 287-7009 fax

Upcoming meeting schedules and agendas for the Board of Ada County Commissioners can be found at the Ada County website.

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Tags: 2024 Idaho Legislative Session, Ada County, Ada County Board of Commissioners, Budget, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Taxpayers, Lobbying, Rod Beck, Ryan Davidson, Tom Dayley

16 thoughts on “Board of Ada County Commissioners Respond to Commissioner Davidson’s Lobbyist Objection

  1. I agree with Mr. Davidson. County taxpayer funds should NOT be used to hire professional lobbyists. If commissioners are too busy to lobby for the good of the county, then they should use those funds to hire competent staff and delegate county work to free up some time for commissioners to personally educate legislators.

  2. Taxpayer funds for professional lobbyists.

    What the hell are the commissioners so busy with that they can’t do what WE PAY THEM to do?

    Real government is simple. Corrupt government is always found under endless, needless, and purposeful complexity.

  3. Taxpayer funds should NEVER be used for Lobbying services. The Commisioners needs to figure things out on their own or hire the appropriate staff to handle the job.

  4. If the commissioners can’t do their job without a lobbyist writing the script, then they shouldn’t have applied for the job.

  5. Lobbyist’s lead to Ada County’s own little Deep State.
    Boise’s “Cow Fart” Mayor must be so proud.

  6. I used to laugh at the comments that included “what do you think we pay them for” when referring to elected officials. Now, I realize that these comments are serious, fortunately not from anyone involved in making or enforcing laws. Elected officials (with the occasional exception) know hardly more than nothing about many of the items that the legislature deals with which have a direct impact upon the citizens that your elected officials have to enforce. Why regular citizens (almost all of whom know nothing about writing legislation) believe that they guy you sometimes don’t pay at all, and almost always pay them a fraction of what they could make doing the same thin in the private sector, should be responsible to lobby as well as everything else they are required to do, just flies in the face of reasonable expectations. I will tell you from my own personal experience, virtually every time I’ve done lobbying for roads I have been met with scowls, laughter and an attitude of “we can do this better than any local government”, so why even try? Our lobbyist earns at least 100X what he is paid for what he does for Ada County drivers. The past 2 1/2 years spent by the ACHD commission trying to get the State to pay for the Highway 16 connections yielded ZERO interest from legislative leadership. We were even threatened with the withholding of that $36M if we “interferred”. How’d you like to have to pay nearly $50M of roadwork in addition to what you already pay for? The efforts of our lobbyist at ACHD are priceless in terms of savings to the taxpayers.

    To those who are going to get all bent out of shape at the reality of this issue, stop your ehining and posturing, run nfor office, win the office, and maybe gain an understanding of what it actually going on out there, and you won’t even have to apologize when you discover how invaluable some lobbyists actually are.

    You’re welcome.

    1. Learn to write. Your emotional diatribe is bizarre, irrational and filled with all manner of errata. It is an explanation of exactly why our system is so broken; because of people like you. If you want to have an effect in this discussion, maybe author a thoughtful op-ed instead of ranting about how stupid your contouring is.

    2. You’re describing the role of an expert, not a lobbyist. Lobbyists are there to push an agenda. They aren’t the ones who have to implement it, however. And they frequently choose their partners and suggest them as the implementers. You try to paint this as if the government couldn’t do without them. All that does is emphasize how impotent the government is. Sadly.

      And I’m sorry, but I live in South Boise and the idiocy with respect to road construction in the past five years does nothing at all to bolster your claim of saving money. The people in charge of these projects are idiots who schedule major road projects on parallel stretches of road (Five Mile AND Cloverdale) or on linked intersections. Or they dig up and redo a road FOUR times (Lake Hazel). And don’t get me started on roundabouts.

      1. Lobbyists, in my experience anyway, perform many of the functions that you seem to feel they don’t. They do write legislation. They do clarify why and how proposed legislation either does or doesn’t meet the intent of the author, and so forth. If that doesn’t qualify them as experts, I don’t know what would. I’m sure that your experience writing and passing legislation is far more extensive than that of a lobbyist so bow to your expertise. Yes, sarcasm intended.

  7. Learn to write. Your emotional diatribe is bizarre, irrational and filled with all manner of errata. It is an explanation of exactly why our system is so broken; because of people like you. If you want to have an effect in this discussion, maybe author a thoughtful op-ed instead of ranting about how stupid your constituency is.

  8. Most County Gov. Hire Lobbiests to Represent their Legislative interests. This is an Annual Budget item paid by Taxpayers. The Real question is why should Taxpayers have to pay for 2 Professional Lobbyists? Counties are paying for IAC (Idaho Association of Counties ) for Legislative help, Why should they have hire anyone Else too?

  9. Lobbying services and lobbyists should be outlawed in government.
    That said, taxpayer money should not be utilized and if those who govern are that busy then they should learn to schedule and organize better. Good things take time and governing is no exception.

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