Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 12, 2009

MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2009

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, won a two-way race for Senate majority caucus chairman on Monday. 1/12/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Fulcher wins leadership post

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, has won former Sen. Brad Little's leadership post as Senate majority caucus chairman, in a two-way race against Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls. "It's always an honor when your peers choose you, so I'm very honored," Fulcher said. "However, the attitude...

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Luna: 'Education will receive less money'

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna said after Gov. Otter's State of the State message, "There's no doubt that education is going to receive less money than they got this year. No one is happy about that, but it's the situation that we're in." Asked...

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Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, and Gov. Butch Otter engage in an impromptu debate about state funding priorities after Otter's State of the State speech, 1/12/09. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

An impromptu debate

As Gov. Butch Otter left his State of the State speech, after talking with the media, he got into an impromptu debate with House Democratic leaders over his budget proposal. First, House Assistant Minority Leader James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, said with Idaho families struggling, "This is...

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Gov. Butch Otter addresses the press after his State of the State speech, 1/12/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Otter's third State of the State 

A few observations about the governor's speech: It was a somber speech, rarely interrupted by applause (only five times in the 45-minute speech). And the venue forced a rather unusual atmosphere at the after-speech scrum, when Otter usually is surrounded by reporters and TV cameras...

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Otter: We do care

The governor closed his State of the State speech with an unscripted moment, recalling a mother of an autistic child who came to one of his Capitol for a Day meetings in despair over state cuts in her child's treatment hours. Otter said he was...

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Another way to define 'compassion'

Gov. Butch Otter told lawmakers, "I know that you share my administration's goals of promoting responsible government, enhancing economic opportunity, and empowering Idahoans. I know that you are as devoted as I am to advancing those goals decisively - with certainty - but also with...

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Otter touts Winter Games

The upcoming Special Olympics in Idaho "will include more athletes and participating nations than the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City," Gov. Otter just told lawmakers. "The World Winter Games will be the largest multi-day winter sporting event ever held in our state." The...

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'Talk about going the extra mile'

While touting a program pushed by a committee of health care experts he appointed to offer affordable private-sector health insurance plans to Idahoans aged 25 to 40, the group most likely to be uninsured in Idaho, the governor said the committee's chairman, Stephen Weeg, headed...

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Guv proposes Ed Board shakeup

It won him his third round of applause - Gov. Butch Otter has just proposed a "comprehensive plan for reorganizing our education policy and governance system on the state level." That means, he said, that the State Board of Education should no longer be involved...

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Second applause line

Gov. Otter said of his transportation proposal, "Six months of listening to the Idahoans who hired us tells me that this conservative, measured and phased-in approach will work. ... I can tell you that we are shirking our responsibility and ignoring the facts if we...

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Where he'd get the money

Idaho's governor is proposing a 2-cent per gallon increase in the state's fuel tax each year for five years, resulting in a 10-cent increase in the tax in five years to 35 cents per gallon. The first year, that'd bring in about $17.6 million. After...

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Transportation plan: Three points

Gov. Otter told lawmakers that his transportation proposal "boils down to three points": Accountability and efficiency, generating new revenue, and a task force to study inequities in Idaho's truck registration system. "No amount of efficiency - however important - will make up for the hard...

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It's cut less than the rest

Gov. Butch Otter noted, "The $1 billion, 425 million I'm proposing for K-12 education next year still represents almost half our total general fund budget. And the fact is that my proposed public schools budget is reduced FAR less than I'm recommending for other state...

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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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Eye On Boise

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








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