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Eye On Boise

Court saga continues

After a two-hour hearing, the Senate State Affairs Committee today voted 5-4 for a resolution calling for tearing down the historic Ada County Courthouse across from the state Capitol and replacing it with a new building – a measure the same panel had rejected last week. Its hearing room was packed with 100 people – all of whom favored preserving the historic structure. The cost of renovating and expanding it is close to the cost of razing and replacing it.

Before the decision, Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, proposed an alternate plan: Add “wings” on either side of the state Capitol to get more space, rather than do anything with the now-vacant courthouse. That proposal went down on a 4-5 vote.

The tear-it-down measure passed only because Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, changed his vote from last week, when he’d favored renovation. Davis said he just wanted something done. The building has been standing empty for three years because lawmakers can’t decide which way to go.

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.