Senate Republicans held a caucus today and spent much of it going over the budget cuts. New Senate GOP Caucus Chair Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, said GOP senators talked about some way to avoid Otter’s proposed cut in public school funding next year, and, “Quite frankly, we don’t see it. I think the prevailing attitude is we don’t see a way of getting out of this without education being hit, but we are trying to figure out ways to soften the blow.” That’s the plan for the additional $20 million in one-time funds trimmed today - to use it for public schools in next year’s budget to offset some of the cuts. But Otter’s proposed cuts for education next year exceed $75 million.
Senate Democrats also caucused today - their caucus was open - and discussed legislation the caucus plans to propose, including election reforms and a measure to ban lobbyist contributions to legislators during the legislative session. Sen. Kate Kelly, D-Boise, said it’s in response to a case in which a lobbyist pulled a contribution after a candidate voted against his group on a regulatory board. Idaho’s “toothless” bribery laws don’t cover such a case, she said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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