Eye On Boise

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2005, 10:12 A.M.

Legislative horse-trading time

Here’s a hint as to why Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Dick Compton, R-Coeur d’Alene, was so hot to get a compromise bill passed to substitute for HB 143, the bill that would’ve removed the authority from the state DEQ to review many water and wastewater system plans – even though Compton made it clear he hated HB 143, calling it a “crappy, crappy bill.” The sponsor of HB 143, House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, was holding Compton’s simulcasting bill hostage in the House.

Compton’s bill, SB 1074, is designed to allow the off-track betting on simulcasts of horse and dog races that now occurs at the Coeur d’Alene Greyhound Park to move to another location within Kootenai County if the park’s owner sell their facility or convert it to another use. It passed the Senate on a 24-11 vote on Feb. 24th. But instead of popping up for a House committee hearing, SB 1074 went to House Ways and Means – the leadership-controlled committee that is used to bury bills or hold them hostage when that’s politically expedient.

After Compton’s committee voted, at his urging, to introduce a new compromise bill to replace HB 143, the Ways and Means Committee met and agreed to refer the simulcasting bill to the House State Affairs Committee, where it is scheduled for a hearing on Monday.

Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, is the House Ways and Means chairman, and he said he favors SB 1074, and in fact plans to sponsor it. But he went along with the leadership’s order to hold the bill all this time because that’s his role as Ways and Means chairman. “I do what I’m told to do,” Clark said.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.