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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2009

MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2009

And here's his big news

Here's Otter's big news in his State of the State and budget speech: "I'm calling for a reduction in total General Fund spending of more than 7 percent from what initially was approved for Fiscal 2009. That reflects a realistic and thorough assessment of our...

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Otter's first applause line

The governor's first line to draw applause in his State of the State speech: "It is my intent to continue an unrelenting scrutiny of state government programs that use Idahoans' hard-earned dollars."

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Idaho Gov. Butch Otter speaks to a joint session of the Legislature in his State of the State message, 1-12-09. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Governor: 'No doubt times are tough'

"There is no doubt that our nation is going through troubled times," Gov. Butch Otter told state lawmakers just now as he began his State of the State message. "But I firmly believe that Idaho can provide leadership for an anxious nation - to be...

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Joint session of the Idaho Legislature awaits arrival of Gov. Butch Otter. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Joint session begins

The statewide elected officials, state Supreme Court justices and other dignitaries have been escorted in, and the joint session of the Idaho Legislature has been convened to hear Gov. Otter's message. Please note: The time stamps on these posts is in Pacific time, but the...

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Senators file in to join House members for the Idaho State of the State address at the BSU Special Events Center. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Senators file in

Senators have filed in to join the members of the House in the BSU Special Events Center, where Gov. Butch Otter will soon give his State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature. While the state Capitol is being renovated, there's...

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Idaho House members talk after they convened their annual session, 1/12/09. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

The session is on 

The gavels have fallen, and both the House and Senate have begun their annual sessions. A few House members had some glitches figuring out their voting equipment, and when a committee of senators returned from the House to formally report on its status, Sen. John...

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Keough to miss first week

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, will stay home the first week of the legislative session because her husband, Mike, had a heart attack Friday night. "The good news is he's doing very well, and we were able to get to the hospital in time," she reported...

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SUNDAY, JAN. 11, 2009

Session opens in tough times

Bleak. Dismal. Gloomy. Difficult. Really, really tough. That’s how Idaho state legislators and officials are describing the legislative session ahead, with state revenues slipping, budget cuts bringing cries of outrage from some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, and the governor’s much-vaunted but stalled effort...

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Crapo: Promising sign for Owyhee Initiative 

A rare Sunday session of the U.S. Senate today brought promising news for the Owyhee Initiative, according to sponsor Sen. Mike Crapo, in the form of a strong 66-12 procedural vote on a larger bill containing the wilderness measure. The initiative is tucked into an...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 9, 2009

Duncan moved to Indiana 

Condemned murderer Joseph Duncan has been transferred to U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind. that houses the federal Death Row, but Riverside County, Calif. still is working to bring the killer there to try him in another case. “There is some paperwork that we need...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 8, 2009

Stimulus money and priorities...

Here's a link to my full story on today's brouhaha over Idaho's priorities for federal stimulus money. The Dover Bridge on U.S. Highway 2 in North Idaho has width and height restrictions and a lowered speed limit because of its condition, and Popular Mechanics dubbed...

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Gov. Butch Otter speaks to reporters at AP Legislative Forum in Boise, 1/8/09.  (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

'Not the year to have a wish list' 

Gov. Butch Otter and legislative leaders say looming budget cuts will color the upcoming legislative session. "This is not the year to have a wish list," said House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. Otter told reporters at the AP's legislative forum in Boise today that...

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Jockeying already on for leadership seat

Sen. Brad Little has vacated his leadership position as majority caucus chairman in the state Senate, now that he's the state's new lieutenant governor. Already, senators are jockeying to replace him in that GOP leadership role. Senate President Pro-tem Bob Geddes said three names he's...

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The favored projects

Here are the six projects ITD recommended stimulus funding go to (not in any particular priority order), ahead of the Dover Bridge project:1. U.S. 93, Twin Falls, new alternate route. $51 million2. U.S. 95, Moscow mountain, add passing lanes. $5 million3. U.S. 95, Whitebird grade,...

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ITD board passes over Dover Bridge project 

Idaho's Transportation Board - faced with a staff recommendation to make replacement of the deterioriated Dover Bridge a top priority for federal stimulus funds - instead dropped the project to No. 7 on its list in a special meeting yesterday, with only six projects likely...

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Craig dropping further appeals

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig now says he's dropping his attempt to appeal his conviction in an airport bathroom sex sting in Minnesota, according to the Associated Press. Here's the AP news item:MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A lawyer for former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig says they won't...

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Broder writes about Minnick

Washington Post columnist David Broder has an interesting column today focusing on new Idaho Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick. "Every new member has his own story. Walt Minnick's is more unusual than most," Broder writes. "For one thing, he is only the second Democrat to hold...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7, 2009

 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Gloomy economic news for lawmakers

Here's an example of the gloomy economic news that the Legislature's joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee is receiving as it holds two days of hearings on the state's economic outlook: Jane Wittmeyer, vice president of Idaho affairs for the Intermountain Forest Association, said,...

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Otter signs Pickens pledge

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed a pledge to join T. Boone Pickens' campaign to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. “One of my goals as Governor is to fully utilize Idaho’s resources to increase our own state’s energy supply,” Otter said. “Establishing energy security...

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Stennett, Malepeai to miss session kickoff

Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, will send a stand-in for the start of the legislative session on Monday as he rests up from the latest phase of his brain cancer treatment before resuming his full-time legislative duties. "It is hard to know all the...

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'Why should we be any different?'

Here's a link to my full story in today's Spokesman-Review on why the governor and other top state officials can't reject their scheduled pay raises. It stretches back to a state constitutional requirement aimed at preventing partisan politicians from eliminating salaries for their political opponents,...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 6, 2009

Guv can't turn down raise, will donate it 

Gov. Butch Otter's decision to turn down a scheduled 3 percent pay raise this year has run into an unexpected roadblock: An Idaho Attorney General's opinion has concluded that he can't do it. In response to a request from a state legislator, the AG's office...

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Brad Little is sworn in as Idaho's new lieutenant governor by Gov. Butch Otter, left. At right is Little's wife, Teresa. AP Photo by Katherine Jones. (Katherine Jones / Associated Press)

Otter: 'All said Brad'

Shortly after Gov. Butch Otter's press conference announcing his appointment of Brad Little as lieutenant governor, the governor swore Little in, in a brief ceremony in the governor's office. He's now on the job, pending confirmation by the Senate. Otter said Little got a particularly...

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Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, center, with wife Teresa, left, talk to political reporter Dan Popkey, right, after Little's appointment to the No. 2 state job, 1/6/08. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Little: 'Sure going to be a new adventure'

Brad Little, 54, Idaho's new lieutenant governor, is a five-term state senator from Emmett. He's a University of Idaho graduate, owner/manager of a cattle ranch and farm, has served on many boards including the Idaho Community Foundation and the Idaho Woolgrowers Association, and is a...

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'Rarely trusted with anything sharp'

As a former lieutenant governor, Gov. Butch Otter today couldn't resist a little joshing about his former job as he announced his appointee for the post, Brad Little. Otter said he made his pick from among "a terrific group of people that were willing to...

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