The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights March from Boise State to the Idaho Statehouse has been effectively maneuvered off the capitol grounds this year while a coalition of so-called "patriot groups" will monopolize the iconic south steps on Monday.
Instead, students will march to Boise City Hall where they will hold a rally, which starts at about 11:30 a.m. Monday. At noon, marchers can attend the state's official MLK commemoration and proclamation signing on the second floor of the Statehouse.
Meanwhile, in front of the Statehouse, Tea Partiers and members of what is called the Sovereign Idaho Coalition, will call on law makers to implement a gun rights law aimed at challenging federal regulation of firearms, a currency law requiring gold and silver to back state debts, and a memorial opposing health care reform, pushed by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, that has already been introduced.
According to the Sovereign Idaho blog, the state GOP Central Committee endorsed all three planks of their agenda at its meeting last weekend.
Francisco Salinas, director of student diversity and inclusion at Boise State, said he initially thought the Statehouse would still be under construction when he scheduled the rally at City Hall. By the time he realized the Capitol would be available, the south steps had already been reserved.
Salinas e-mailed the Tea Party group and said they actually invited his march to join theirs. He declined, but wished them well.
“We might expect a certain political flavor to that group that is very different from our group," Salinas said, "and we don’t want to exacerbate any tensions …”
"We try to be helpful to other groups that believe in limited government low taxes, economic freedom and so on…" said Hoffman, who now has a staff of six, including three "reporters," someone building a legislative vote database and a statewide event coordinator.
Also Monday, the Idaho Community Action Network, along with the ACLU of Idaho, Applied Research Center, Idaho Human Rights Education Center, Idaho Women’s Network, the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, and the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, will release a report on the Legislature's "disappointing" record on racial equity. They will be on the east steps of the Statehouse at 10 a.m.
And state workers, who have the day off, will be swarming the Capitol to protest job and benefit cuts.