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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2006

TUESDAY, JAN. 24, 2006

Putting it away for a rainy day

Here’s how House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, described HB 409, the bill to put $70 million into the state’s rainy-day fund, also called the budget stabilization fund: “We’re finally to the point where we can stop robbing and start putting something back.”Her opening debate...

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MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2006

The meaning of life

Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, had this question today in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting: “I just kind of want to know, what is the meaning of life? … What does life mean?”It actually wasn’t a philosophical question – Richardson was wondering whether Attorney General...

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Only two reps oppose state employee raises

The House just voted 60-2 in favor of immediate, merit-based raises for state employees averaging 3 percent. The bill had earlier passed the Senate unanimously.The two House members who were against it? Reps. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, and JoAn Wood, R-Rigby. Eight other House members missed...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2006

Luci's crystal ball

The prediction of the week award has to go to State Board of Education spokeswoman Luci Willits, who, on the eve of votes in the House and Senate Education committees on the board’s high school curriculum redesign, said it would be close in both houses.She...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 19, 2006

They let Dell do it

House Rev & Tax members are chortling over how they got Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, to make the motion this morning to introduce a property tax reform bill that closes a tax loophole for developers and land speculators. The loophole opened after Raybould originally brought...

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And this one WASN'T unanimous

The House Education Committee this morning deadlocked 9-9 on the state Board of Education’s “high school redesign” plan to beef up the state’s high school curriculum and graduation requirements. That caused a flurry of confusion and dismay before lawmakers determined that the result was that...

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The new property tax bills

Here are the 12 new property tax bills just introduced in the House:• HB 418, sponsored by House Tax Chair Dolores Crow, R-Nampa; Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake; and Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star; to replace half the property tax funding for schools with money from...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18, 2006

He doesn't like what they said last Tuesday

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne today inexplicably released a rebuttal to comments last Tuesday – the day after his State of the State message – by Democratic legislative leaders critical of his proposed $50-a-head energy rebate.“I fully expected a rational discussion on my proposal to provide immediate...

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It's cheerful, colorful and crowded

It’s “Buy Idaho” day today, which means the capitol rotunda, on three floors, is packed with displays and free samples of Idaho products, from huckleberry hand lotion to potent salsas to pickled dilly beans. Legislators are among the happy crowds checking out and trying the...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 17, 2006

Sorry to disappoint the kid, but...

Over the weekend, I watched “Idaho Reports” with my 12-year-old son, and he distinctly heard the governor promise to send a $50 check to every “man, woman and child” in Idaho. He perked right up. “I’m a child,” he said. “I want my 50 bucks!”I...

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First property tax discussion is a wild one

People spilled out into the hallway and packed into the doorway as the House Revenue & Taxation Committee held its first discussion of the session on property taxes this morning. The interim committee that held a dozen hearings around the state and heard from 1,500...

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MONDAY, JAN. 16, 2006

MLK Day draws crowds to Capitol

The Statehouse was brimming with people lobbying, applauding, waving signs and standing up for human rights on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day.Joe McNeal V, age 11, read from King’s famous “I have a dream” speech as part of the...

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Why they did it

Wonder why the Legislature adopted the governor’s revenue projections, when their own estimates were $43.7 million higher for the current fiscal year and $77.3 million higher for next year?“Taking a cautious approach was warranted in this case,” said Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “If we have...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 13, 2006

Two big pieces of Guv's agenda clear JFAC - unanimously

Two giant pieces of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s agenda for this year’s legislative session cleared the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning on unanimous votes – giving state employees an immediate, permanent, merit-based pay raise averaging 3 percent, and depositing a big chunk of the state’s budget...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 12, 2006

Lawmakers more optimistic than governor - initially

The Legislature's Economic Outlook Committee's median revenue estimate was $77.3 million more than Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's figure - but then the committee voted 7-2 to adopt the governor's more conservative numbers anyway. The number matters, because it's the basis for setting the state budget for...

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Bleary-eyed Demos say it was good

Democrats are bleary-eyed in the state Capitol this morning, after many boarded a bus early yesterday afternoon for Pocatello and didn’t return until close to 2 a.m. The Democratic Party was holding its Stallings Banquet, with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 2006

Bogert to serve on Basin Commission

Michael Bogert, former legal counsel to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, has been staying away from Idaho issues he dealt with here in his new job as the regional head of the EPA in Seattle. But now, Bogert has been named the federal representative on the Coeur...

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Chances for supermajority change

When Gov. Dirk Kempthorne first asked lawmakers to lower the supermajority for school construction bonds from two-thirds to 60 percent, the idea didn’t go anywhere. It would take a change in the state Constitution, and that means, first of all, each house of the Legislature...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 10, 2006

And from the other side...

Idaho’s House and Senate Democrats held a joint press conference this morning to respond to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s State of the State message last night and point to their own priorities. Among their points:• Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, called Kempthorne’s $50-per-person energy cost...

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MONDAY, JAN. 9, 2006

The shoe heard 'round the state

When Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, made their presentation to legislative leaders this afternoon about the outcome of the interim committee they chaired – which is proposing major property tax relief – Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Geddes, R-Soda Springs, started it...

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They'll show us 'quick'

As the Idaho Legislature convened officially at noon today, members of both houses expressed hope for a short session. “We’re looking for a very quick session,” Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, told the Senate on behalf of the House. Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, the Senate...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 6, 2006

It's WGI and CH2M Hill - again

The Idaho Transportation Board has finished re-interviewing and re-ranking the two bidders who want to oversee the state’s biggest-ever highway project, and once again, Boise-based Washington Group International came out on top.The board will take a final vote on Jan. 18 to negotiate a contract...

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ITD board re-interviewing bidders

The Idaho Transportation Board is meeting right now to re-interview the two leading bidders to oversee the state’s biggest-ever highway construction project, the GARVEE bond-funded “Connecting Idaho” project. First, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Washington Group International each drew a card – PB pulled a 5 of...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2006

Otter: 'I was wrong'

U.S. Rep. Butch Otter has withdrawn “for now” his sponsorship of federal legislation to sell off millions of acres of Idaho’s federal public lands to raise money for Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. In a rather humble guest opinion sent out this afternoon to news...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 4, 2006

Keough makes most-influential list

State Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, is the only North Idaho resident who made the annual list of the 25 most influential people in Idaho put together by political historian Randy Stapilus and his Ridenbaugh Press. This year’s list focuses on “agents of change” in 2005...

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