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Eye On Boise

Bell: ‘I don’t have anything against it’

House Appropriations Chairwoman Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said she’s seen lots of attempts to eliminate the Idaho Women’s Commission over the years in JFAC.  “It seemed like there were always those, especially the males on the committee, who did not see the value of funding the commission. And frankly, there are some women on there now who feel the same way.” Former Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, often objected that Idaho had no men’s commission. “I remember remarking one time, ‘Well, you have a Sheep Commission,’” Bell said. “That didn’t go over too well.” Bell, who served a term on the Women’s Commission under Gov. John Evans, said, “I guess I don’t have anything against it, to be right honest with you. But it just seems that there were so many people who really couldn’t see the value in it.”


In 2006, four female legislators on the joint budget committee, including Bell, revamped and trimmed back the commission’s budget, winning a rare unanimous vote for its funding that year. “That was absolutely to keep them alive,” Bell said. The changes included cutting the commission’s director to one-sixteenth time, and targeting most of the budget into services, such as the book on Idaho family law that the commission produces and distributes every other year. Since then, the director has inched back up to one-third time, while the budget has dropped by $10,000.


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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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