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Safety in the Statehouse

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne had just finished detailing all the safety problems in the state Capitol, as part of his pitch in his State of the State address for renovating the historic structure.

“Thousands of children visit this building every year,” the governor said. “Yet the only part of the Statehouse that has fire sprinklers is the area that caught fire several years ago. If you have a heart attack or any sort of a medical emergency, the paramedics’ gurney will not fit into either of the small, outdated elevators. There are no emergency exits.”

After the speech, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis was among a committee of lawmakers who formally escorted Kempthorne back downstairs to his office. On returning, a short-of-breath Davis reported to the House that Kempthorne had “wonderful sugar cookies in his office…in the shape of Idaho.” House Minority Leader Wendy Jacquet was quick to add that the cookies had frosting, too.

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb swiftly retorted that Davis should be “mindful of the governor’s speech.” Amid loud laughter, he said, “The paramedics’ gurney can’t fit in the elevators in case of a heart attack.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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