Eye On Boise archive for Sept. 2009

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2009


Idaho orders first H1N1 vaccines 

Today was the first day the National Centers for Disease Control accepted orders for H1N1 flu vaccine, and Idaho got its order in - for 9,000 doses. They're expected to start arriving early next week, going directly to hospitals, community health centers and public health...

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ITD has its own money problems...

Here's a link to my full story in today's Spokesman-Review on the joint legislative committee's decision yesterday to delay shifting gas tax funds away from the state parks department and ISP for another year, until July 1, 2011. The panel's decision is a recommendation to...

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 29, 2009

A germ of good economic news...

It's not huge, but state officials are pointing to a germ of good news in the latest economic data: Economic activity in four Idaho metro areas, Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston, Pocatello and Idaho Falls, rose in 2008 for the second straight year, according to the latest...

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Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, right, said she'd like to hear more about the possibility of funding the Idaho State Police through a $1-a-month surcharge on car insurance, which would raise $19 million a year. At left is Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Bell motion passes unanimously

Rep. Maxine Bell's motion to delay the shift of gas tax funding away from the Idaho State Police for a year has passed unanimously, winning the 8-0 support of the joint legislative task force. Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, a retired state trooper, said, "I...

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Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Bell: Delay on ISP fund shift, too

Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, has moved to also delay the funding shift of gas taxes away from the Idaho State Police for a year. "This is an area where we need a revenue stream - we need a dedicated revenue stream," she said, "and again,...

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Labrador motion on intent passes, 8-0

Rep. Raul Labrador's motion to add a statement from the joint legislative task force that its intention in delaying implementation for a year on the parks funding shift is to permanently reinstate the 3 percent gas tax diversion for parks, has passed unanimously, 8-0. Rep....

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Hammond motion passes, 7-1

Sen. Jim Hammond's motion to delay the parks funding shift for a year has passed on a 7-1 vote, with just Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, objecting. Labrador then said he wants language added noting that it's the panel's intent to repeal the shift, not just...

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Guv is 'caught, he's stuck'

Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said he and Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, met with Gov. Butch Otter to discuss the parks fund-shift. "The dilemma is that the governor recognizes a significant funding shortage for transportation," Cameron said. "He had a certain dollar amount he was trying...

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If they do nothing...

If the legislative task force today chooses to do nothing about parks funding, on July 1, 2010 the state parks department will lose 10 positions and $4.25 million, including: $1.2 million from the waterways improvement fund; $1.2 million from the off-highway vehicle fund; $1.2 million...

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Col. Jerry Russell, chief of the Idaho State Police, briefs lawmakers on how much the state could raise to fund ISP from an array of different surcharges or fees. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

How to fund ISP...

Col. Jerry Russell, chief of the Idaho State Police, told a legislative task force that whatever funding source is identified to replace gas taxes for ISP, "We believe that it should be one that will grow with the state of Idaho." He noted Utah's approach,...

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Reps. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, and Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, listen to a briefing by legislative analyst Keith Bybee as they ponder how to address funding for state parks and the Idaho State Police if they lose gas taxes. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Some costs of Idaho's seat belt law... 

Idaho also is losing out on $4.5 million in one-time funds available for highway safety because lawmakers have refused to stiffen the state's seat belt law, lawmakers were just informed; another $5 million to $6 million because the state hasn't attained 85 percent seat belt...

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Legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee briefs a legislative committee on Tuesday. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

One possible funding source: Late fees

If Idaho were to follow the lead of Ohio and start charging a $20 late fee for driver's license renewals and vehicle registration renewals (after a 7-day grace period), it could raise a little over $5 million, legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee just reported to...

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Audience members, including recreationists who oppose a shift of parks funding to roads, await the start of Tuesday's day-long hearing by a legislative task force on that funding. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

'We'll make some decisions'

There are a couple dozen people gathered in the audience for today's legislative task force hearing on alternative funding sources for the Idaho State Police and the state parks, once they lose gas tax funds next July - a move many task force members now...

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SUNDAY, SEPT. 27, 2009

Delays stall Duncan appeal 

Thirteen months after multiple murderer Joseph Duncan was handed three death sentences by an Idaho federal court jury, his appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remains stalled at its earliest stage: The appellate court has yet to rule on whether it can even...

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FRIDAY, SEPT. 25, 2009

Members of the press await Gov. Butch Otter's announcement Friday of new state budget cuts. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

To listen or watch... 

There was intense interest in Gov. Butch Otter's announcement today on new state budget cuts; this shot shows the line-up of TV cameras at the press conference. Not visible are many additional reporters and photographers (including me) who were ranged around the sides of the...

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ITD also making cuts

The Idaho Transportation Department has announced an $8.6 million holdback on its own department budget - a 3.4 percent cut - even though it wasn't required to participate in Gov. Butch Otter's holdbacks because the agency receives no state general funds. ITD Acting Director Scott...

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Bedke: 'The impacts now are going to be real'

Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke said, "We're ready to stand and work with the executive branch to work this thing out." He told Eye on Boise that many lawmakers are wary of spending down the state's budget reserves, when they already face a...

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Eye On Boise

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






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