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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2008

Governor vetoes substance-abuse treatment funds

Gov. Butch Otter has issued his first veto of the legislative session – using his line-item veto to nix $16.8 million in substance-abuse treatment funding, a top priority that numerous lawmakers have been working on for several years. “There is no question that we need...

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ITD audit bill wins Senate committee support

Legislation calling for a $550,000 outside performance evaluation of the Idaho Transportation Department cleared the Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon on a unanimous vote, buoying House members who are insisting on the audit as a condition for going along with revenue bills to raise more...

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Grocery tax credit hike passes Senate

A move to send the grocery tax relief bill to the amending order failed 10-25, and then the Senate voted 27-8 in favor of the bill, sending it to the governor’s desk. The move to amend was for fear of the out-years financial impact of...

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What's left of the big review...

Here’s a link to my story in today’s paper about what’s become of the big push to review all of Idaho’s tax breaks and see whether they’re still warranted, called for by a joint legislative interim committee. At this point, it’s down to three bills...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008

State retiree benefit cut passes Senate

A plan to cap medical benefits for current state retirees and eliminate medical retirement benefits for future hires passed the Senate late today after a heated debate, on a 23-10 vote. The bill, SB 1447, now moves to the House. Click below to read the...

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Rammell: 'Jim Risch is too old'

Here’s an item from the Associated Press: Former elk rancher Rex Rammell has shed his Republican ties and will run for U.S. Senate as an independent because he says his former party has anointed Lt. Gov. Jim Risch as its chosen candidate. Rammell, 47, who...

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Personal property tax bill amended

The House has approved an array of amendments to HB 599, the personal property tax repeal, but defeated one to cap the break at $50,000 in value for each business. That move would have cut the eventual cost of the business tax break from more...

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Election consolidation bill pulled

The sponsors have asked the House State Affairs Committee to hold the giant, 93-page election consolidation bill, HB 637, and will instead work on the bill more over the summer and bring it back next year. Lobbyist John Watts said, “There’s a lot of ragged...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2008

Otter signs liquor bill for Tamarack

Among bills signed by Gov. Butch Otter today was SB 1382, proposed by Tamarack Resort to let it have 12 special non-transferable liquor licenses instead of just three. Click here for a complete list of bills signed by the governor, by date.

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Grocery tax relief clears Senate committee

A motion to send the House-passed grocery tax relief bill to the Senate’s 14th Order for amendment failed, 4-5, and then the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee voted 7-2 to send HB 588 to the full Senate with a recommendation that it “do pass.”...

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‘Madam speaker’ gets House applause

Rep. Margaret Henbest, D-Boise, is currently presiding over the House of Representatives, filling in for Speaker Lawerence Denney. When the first representative rose to present a bill, Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, and said, “Madam Speaker,” Henbest responded, “That sounds great, doesn’t it?” and the House...

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One little problem with felonious sheriff bill...

There was just one problem with the bill to ban convicted felons from running for sheriff in Idaho – it was unconstitutional. You can read my full story here. And here are links to my other stories in today’s Spokesman-Review: Float-home bill advances despite objections...

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MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2008

Re-vote passes Election Day liquor bill

Sen. Lee Heinrich, who had voted on the prevailing side – against the bill – served notice that he’d ask for reconsideration of HB 348a, the bill to end Idaho’s longstanding ban on Election Day liquor sales (though the state has long allowed beer and...

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Hoover to retire as College of Idaho prez

Former University of Idaho President Bob Hoover, who has served as president of the private College of Idaho in Caldwell for the last five years, has announced that he’ll retire in June 2009, or sooner if the college’s board of trustees finds a replacement earlier....

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House is unanimous for ITD performance audit

The House has voted unanimously, 67-0, for a $550,000 performance evaluation of the Idaho Transportation Department. Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said “another set of eyes” is needed on the department. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, said ITD has had three directors in the past three years,...

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Bayview developer fights float-home bill

Bayview developer Bob Holland pulled out all the stops in the House State Affairs Committee this morning, with both his development manager and his attorney arguing forcefully against SB 1433a, the bill to allow binding arbitration in float-home rent disputes. Nevertheless, the bill, which already...

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Arizona-style immigration law rejected

The Senate State Affairs Committee has declined to introduce a bill this morning that would have sought to impose an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration effort that would penalize employers who hire illegal workers. “The reality is that this law has passed in Arizona and has gone...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2008

Weatherby: 'Closing the door on local option'

BSU Professor Emeritus Jim Weatherby, who has watched the Idaho Legislature for decades, says, “Idaho has always been very centralized in its tax decision making.” But asked if the House GOP leadership’s contention that it’s actually now willing to open the door to broad local-option...

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Urban renewal bill killed in House

HB 616, promoted by Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, to put new restrictions on urban renewal districts in Idaho, was just voted down in the House, failing on a 33-37 vote. Much of the debate focused on the bill’s proposed ban of “shoestring” annexations into urban...

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Local-option amendment gets party-line vote

A constitutional amendment to restrict all future local-option taxes in Idaho to two-thirds supermajority votes at the November general election, and to be only by city or county, cleared the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning on a 13-5, party-line vote. Democrats on the...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008

Goedde pulls teacher firing bill

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, pulled his bill this afternoon that sought to streamline the process for firing teachers. Goedde had reached agreement with the Idaho Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, on an amendment to the bill, SB 1437, to bring...

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Lake dock bill killed, 5-4

Legislation to turn the legal clock back to 1953 to try to guarantee some Lake Coeur d’Alene property owners the right to put in a boat dock – though their property is now separated from the lake by a public road - died in a...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2008

From mosquito abatement to cemeteries

According to the state Tax Commission, Idaho has 1,093 taxing districts, of which 931 levied property taxes in 2007. And that’s not counting irrigation districts, which technically aren’t taxing districts, and a few other types of districts. It does count cities, counties, school districts, highway...

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Personal property tax repeal clears Rev & Tax

The IACI bill to phase in repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment – which would give Idaho businesses a $100 million-plus tax break when it’s fully implemented – passed the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning on an 11-7 vote, after...

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.