197 Zenbakia 2003-01-31 / 2003-02-07


The Idaho Memorial 114


The Idaho Memorial 114 Gloria Totoricagüena Egurrola Basque institutions in the communities of the American West have generally remained apolitical through the decades since their first waves of immigration in the 1850s. The individual Basque Centers' charters and by-laws or constitutions specifically state that the organization will not participate or promote any certain political ideology or party in the United States or in the Basque provinces. However, individual citizens have maintained their own private political interests and several have initiated significant movements that have mobilized Basques in the United States as well as those in the Basque Country. The State of Idaho legislative session of 2002 witnessed such a political initiative. In the fall of 2001 a group of politically interested Basques met at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center to discuss and debate what language and terminology should be included in a legislative memorial asking the Idaho legislature to recognize the political problems in the Basque provinces. A memorial has no force of law, but instead is a recommendation or statement of opinion of an elected State body. If passed by at least a majority, that Memorial continues on to the United States Congress and the President of the United States for their consideration. Secretary of State Pete T. Cenarrusa (Republican) had been planning an intervention for months, but because the Secretary of State is in the executive branch of government, that person is unable to propose legislation. The Idaho State Constitution states that legislation will be presented by an elected member of the House of Representatives, or of the Senate. Representative David Garmendia Bieter (Democrat) was eager to be that person to propose and carry this idea through the legislative process. The Idaho legislative session began in January 2002, and the testimony and first committee hearing for the memorial was held during the first week of March. Citizen speakers in favor of the memorial included Pete T. Cenarrusa, Toni Lawson, Joseba Chertudi, Mark Guerry, Tracy Basterrechea, and Gloria Totoricagüena, who each gave explanations and information regarding the political situation in the Basque Country. The committee passed the proposal unanimously and the next step was the vote of the entire House of Representatives. Pete Cenarrusa was allowed to serve as Speaker of the House for the floor debate on the memorial in honor of his decades to public service in Idaho, and his past experience as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The floor vote was unanimously in favor. Cenarrusa, Pete 1995 Boise, Idaho The Idaho legislative branch is bicameral, which forces every piece of legislation to go through scrutiny in both chambers, therefore the memorial proposal continued on the next step which was reading and debate in the Senate committee. Ten minutes before the committee meeting was to commence on that Friday afternoon, the Chairperson, Sheila Sorensen, was summoned for a conference call in Pete Cenarrusa's office with representatives of the office of the United States National Security Advisor. Senator Sorenson was told to hold the committee vote until Monday so that there could be negotiations about changing the language of the original proposal and adding language that included a specific condemnation of ETA. The original version stated a condemnation for all violence in the Basque region. The same five witnesses testified to the Senate committee, however, the vote was postponed to a Monday meeting, and after the specific language was added, the Senate committee voted unanimously to pass the memorial. The last step remaining was for the entire Senate to debate and vote on the proposal. Senator Robbie Barrutia, of Mountain Home, led another seven Senators who debated in favor of the proposal signifying that they were proud of the Basque population in the State of Idaho and the major contribution they have made to the economy, culture, education, tourism and industry of Idaho; they called for democratic application of enforcement and complete implement of the Statutes of Autonomy; and enforcement and implementation of the Economic Agreement between Gasteiz and Madrid. When the Senate vote was called, it was the fourth unanimous YES vote it received. However, because the version of the Senate was different from the first version passed in the House of Representatives, it had to be returned to the House of Representatives for another vote. The measure was again passed unanimously, was signed by the President of the Senate and by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Idaho legislature, and sent on to Washington D.C. Because of its controversial nature, the Idaho Memorial 114 in its entirety is printed here for the reader in exactly the same form in which it was passed unanimously by the Idaho Senate and the Idaho House of Representatives. Senate Joint Memorial No.114 SJM114..................................................... STATE AFFAIRS BASQUE HOMELAND - Stating findings of the Legislature and calling for the immediate cessation of all violence occurring in and near the Basque homeland; and to request that a peace process be undertaken. - 03/12/02 Senate intro - 1st reading - to printing Report printed - to 10th Ord Rules suspended - ADOPTED, voice vote Title approved - to House - 03/13/02 House intro - 1st reading - to 2nd reading Rules suspended - ADOPTED - voice vote - to Senate - 03/13/02 To enrol - 03/14/02 Pres signed - Speaker of the House signed 03/14/02 To Secretary of State Bill Text Legislature of the State of Idaho Fifty-sixth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2002 IN THE SENATE SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL NO. 114 BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE A JOINT MEMORIAL TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION REPRESENTING THE STATE OF IDAHO IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE PRESIDENT OF THE BASQUE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT, THE FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, THE SPANISH PRIME MINISTER AND THE KING OF SPAIN. We, your Memorialists, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the State of Idaho assembled in the Second Regular Session of the Fifty-sixth Idaho Legislature, do hereby respectfully represent that: WHEREAS, during the early part of the twentieth century, a wave of Basque immigrants left a stretch of coastline along the Bay of Biscay destined for the state of Idaho where many initially found work as sheepherders in the ranges and pastureland of Idaho; and WHEREAS, the state of Idaho has long since been known as the North American center of the Basque population and many citizens of the state have kept close ties to the homeland of their forefathers; and WHEREAS, in the year 1972, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Idaho assembled in the Second Regular Session of the Forty-first Idaho Legislature passed Senate Joint Memorial No. 115 condemning the totalitarian dictatorship of Franco and insisting on total general amnesty for all Basques and Spaniards imprisoned or exiled for their political and social 23 activities; and WHEREAS, the Basque people are the oldest indigenous people in western Europe and have a long history of personal accomplishment and a devotion to the preservation of their national heritage; and WHEREAS, the Basque homeland was claimed in the mid-seventeenth century by the emerging nation states of Spain and France and is now divided into seven provinces, four of which are located in Spain and three of which are located in France; and 31 WHEREAS, notwithstanding this division, the Basque people have sought to maintain their autonomous culture, their ancient language and their self-government; and WHEREAS, despite conflicts associated with the configuration of the Basque Country and its relationship with the Spanish and French states, all but a marginalized fraction of Basques oppose all incidents of violence; and WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature of the State of Idaho in adopting this Joint Memorial to: 1) Express strong support for an immediate end to violence in the Basque homeland located in Spain and France and the establishment of peace through all lawful means available to the governments of Spain, France and through all lawful means available to the governments of Spain, France and the Basque Autonomous Region; and 2) Condemn all acts of terrorism and violence committed by any and all organizations and individuals within the Basque homeland and throughout the world, including those organizations, such as ETA, who are defined by the government of the United States as terrorist organizations pursuant to the applicable laws of the United States; and 3) Reiterate its unqualified support of and participation with the gov ernment of the United States and those of all other nations in the war on terrorism.NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the Second Regular Session of the Fifty-sixth Idaho Legislature, the Senate and the House of Repre sentatives concurring therein, that the state of Idaho calls for an immediate cessation of all violence occurring in and near the Basque homeland, and that a peace process be immediately undertaken between the governments of Spain and France, the Basque Autonomous Government, and other groups committed to peace. The state of Idaho further supports the right of the Basques to self -determination.BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate be, and she is hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of this Memorial to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State of the United States, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Congress, the congressional delegation representing the State of Idaho in the Congress of the United States, the President of the Basque Autonomous Government, the French Prime Minister, the Spanish Prime Minister and the King of Spain. Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Impact Statement of Purpose RS 12220C1 Idaho is the home of thousands of the descendants of Basque immigrants. Over the decades since the early 1900's, the Basques have worked to gain a place in Idaho, while at the same time preserving their cultural heritage and ties to their homeland. Through this joint memorial the Idaho legislature stands with the Basques and all Idahoans in opposing all violence in the Basque Country and calling for the immediate convocation of a process to bring about a lasting peace. The Basques are the oldest indigenous people of Western Europe. Since the beginning of recorded history, their language and culture have been present in the same area of what became parts of Spain and France. Out of respect for this heritage and America s commitment to our own struggles f or freedom, this memorial expresses Idaho's support of the right of the Basques to self determination. Fiscal Impact There is no fiscal impact to the general fund. Contact Name: Pete Cenarrusa Name: David Bieter ----------- Gloria Totoricagüena Egurrola Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada Reno.