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Eye On Boise

Report raises residency questions about Boise senator

KTVB-TV reported Friday that Idaho Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, is now splitting his time between Idaho and Washington state, where his wife is now employed as a teacher near Seattle; reporter Jamie Grey also reported that the Idaho Legislature has no residency rules once a senator has been elected, though candidates are required to live in their district to run; you can see her full report here.

Grey visited Durst’s home and found him there working in the yard, though his house is largely empty; there’s a rather entertaining interview in which she talked to and filmed him through his fence, when he declined to emerge. Durst told Grey he’s spending at least 50 percent of his time in Boise. “I still have a bed and clothes all here. All my stuff's still here. Everything else is gone,” Durst said.

He later emailed a statement to KTVB, saying, “I am and will continue to be the state Senator from District 18. As any professional, I have looked beyond the borders of my legislative district for meaningful employment. However, I am committed to serving my constituents and have been doing so diligently. I am attending meetings on their behalf, conducting research, and keeping abreast of issues impacting District 18 and the state of Idaho. I look forward to continuing to serve my community in the legislature into the foreseeable future. Any discussions of ethics are simply an attempt to distract people from the real issues facing our state that I am attacking relentlessly head on.”

Grey also spoke with Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, who said, “It justifies some investigation. I'm certainly not in a position at this point to say that anything inappropriate is going on there. But it is an unusual situation, and we should look into it and make sure that Senator Durst's constituents are being served, as well as the interests of the Senate itself.”

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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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