After House Education Chairman Bob Nonini declared on the floor of the House that Gov. Butch Otter’s executive order for new accountability measures at the Idaho Transportation Department was “not worth the piece of paper it was printed on,” there was much speculation that Otter would veto a bill that Nonini insisted on at the end of the legislative session. But last week, Otter signed the measure into law.
Quietly, the governor signed two education bills, HB 303a and HB 374, which both promote funding “virtual education,” or online classes, within existing school funding, and give school districts some temporary flexibility from “use it or lose it” funding rules for teacher pay during the state’s budget crisis. Nonini’s controversial HB 374 reversed an amendment that the Senate had made to HB 303, which sought to put a two-year limit on the sections expanding virtual education.
Asked why he didn’t go the veto route, Otter said his clash with Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, over transportation wasn’t related to the education bill. “I’m not into these games of executing a difference of opinion on a bill that is not part of the issue,” the governor declared.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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