Eye On Boise

Otter to bring tribal agreements to lawmakers

Gov. Butch Otter will bring four fuel-tax agreements he negotiated with Idaho Indian tribes to lawmakers for their approval, even though there's some legal question as to whether that's required. "Rather than having a debate about whether or not we should, I think the governor feels it's important to share that with the Legislature, let them see what the final product is, the hard work and dedication and result of our efforts," said David Hensley, legal counsel to the governor, "and in doing so, see if the Legislature can give us a positive response in the form of support."

Last year, skeptical lawmakers passed legislation over tribal objections seeking to impose the state's gas tax unilaterally on tribal fuel sales on reservations. But they included an out: Any tribe that signed a negotiated agreement with the governor by Dec. 1 would be exempt from the new law. All three Idaho tribes that operate gas stations have done so, plus one that could in the future. "We were able to negotiate in good faith," said Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Chief Allan. "It was a give and take on both sides." Read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.




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