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Eye On Boise

Otter signs 49 bills into law, including public school budget

Gov. Butch Otter signed 49 bills into law yesterday, including SB 1200, the public school budget bill that delayed the end of the session by a week. Otter had no comment as he signed the bills; the school budget gives Idaho schools a 2.2 percent increase in state funds next year, slightly above the 2 percent Otter recommended but below the 3 percent state schools Superintendent Tom Luna requested. The school budget set for next year, at $1.3 billion, still lags $138.7 million below the school budget Idaho lawmakers set for fiscal year 2009.

Other bills signed into law by the governor yesterday included a half-dozen appropriation bills, including the budgets for higher education and community colleges; a measure authorizing any year-end surplus beyond $20 million to be transferred to the budget stabilization fund; a bill authorizing hospitalization of mentally ill minors; another giving school districts relief from two-thirds of their maintenance match requirement for next year; and one authorizing funding for the new Veterans Recognition Fund, which would route surpluses that had been building up at the Division of Veterans Services into a fund for veterans that could, in the future, fund a new state veterans home.

Also signed into law was HB 241, a measure sponsored by Avista Corp. and Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, to crack down on metal theft in Idaho. Among its provisions: Scrap dealers will be required to photograph those who sell them metal, along with their vehicles and license plates and the metal they sell; and it will become a felony to steal metal from an electrical substation that causes damage or service interruption.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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