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ISP megaload escorts spur JFAC discussion

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has voted 17-3 to authorize the Idaho State Police to spend up to $41,000 on overtime and associated costs for state troopers to accompany Emmert International megaload truck shipments on U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston to Montana; Emmert is paying the cost, but the legislative approval lets ISP spend the money it receives from them. Several members expressed concerns about avoiding any state expense, especially since the initial megaload truck shipment, sending giant coke drums to the ConocoPhillips Billings Refinery, experienced several unexpected delays. "I want to be sure we're not putting any general funds into this," said Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum.

Wayne Hammon, the governor's budget chief, told the joint committee that any additional expenses would be brought to the Board of Examiners for approval to receive the private funds; the state wouldn't have to pay. Jaquet said, "We have so few officers. ... And certainly this first trip took longer. ... In a way it ends up being a cost to the state because people aren't able to cover their state jobs they could be covering ... because this contract is taking longer. This is an extraordinary kind of escort which is taking a lot longer." Jaquet was joined by Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, and Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, in voting against the supplemental appropriation.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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