Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed a small army of bills into law last week, including a pair reflecting Idaho's changing attitudes toward schools. First, Idaho's existing law books were amended to hold parents legally responsible for the school attendance records of chronically truant children. According to the new law, once the board of trustees of a school district determines that a child "repeatedly has violated the attendance regulations established by the board," the board will notify the prosecuting attorney in the county in question. If the prosecutor is able to prove that the parent or legal guardian has "failed, neglected or refused" to force the brat through the school doors, that parent will face a misdemeanor charge. Here's the good news, parents: If your churlish, disobedient offspring are at least 16 (read: driving age), the law doesn't. So let 'em run wild.
The second school-oriented law is not nearly so dire as the first, but just as telling. On March 17, Kempthorne signed a bill commemorating Idaho's private and religious colleges in their very own specialty license plates. After coasting through the House and Senate, the law will allow Albertson College of Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University and Brigham Young University-Idaho their own plates-although the privilege had previously only been granted to public universities. These plates will also be the first in Idaho to commemorate openly church-aligned institutions (as opposed to secretly church-aligned institutions like the Idaho Legislature). Rep. JoAn Wood will also introduce legislation this week proposing the end of all specialized license plates, but we still can't help but wonder: Can a "Keep the Ten Commandments" plate be far away?