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Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005

Wed., March 23, 2005, 10:30 a.m.

An end in sight?

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis told the Senate this morning that the plan is for the Senate to adjourn at noon this Friday, then not meet on Monday, to allow the House to catch up on pending legislation. Then, if all works as planned, both...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2005

Tue., March 22, 2005, 12:30 p.m.

Corporate incentive bills triumph in House

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s corporate tax incentive package – which gives an array of tax breaks to companies that bring in 500 new high-paying jobs and spend $50 million in the state – passed overwhelmingly in the House just now, as did another bill to give...

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Tue., March 22, 2005, 9:22 a.m.

Broadsword speaks out

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, wants everyone to know why she voted in favor of HB 33, the bill to define “economically viable alternative” to field-burning as only something that achieves the same agricultural results and costs farmers no more in the short or long term....

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MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2005

Mon., March 21, 2005, 6:56 p.m.

Any debate on 'this good bill?'

Lt. Gov. Jim Risch added a rare editorial comment on a bill as he presided over the Senate today. “Is there further debate on this good bill?” Risch asked, drawing startled glances from some freshman senators. The bill in question was HB 178, to require...

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Mon., March 21, 2005, 12:30 p.m.

Rep. Anderson is on the move

The first annual “Legislators on the Move” competition winners were announced today, and Priest Lake Rep. Eric Anderson finished in 5th place by logging 510, 981 steps, or roughly 255 miles. Nearly a third of the Legislature (28 lawmakers) signed up for the contest, which...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2005

Fri., March 18, 2005, 10:12 a.m.

Legislative horse-trading time

Here’s a hint as to why Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Dick Compton, R-Coeur d’Alene, was so hot to get a compromise bill passed to substitute for HB 143, the bill that would’ve removed the authority from the state DEQ to review many water and...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2005

Thu., March 17, 2005, 10:52 a.m.

Once every 11 years

Because state employees are paid every two weeks, a quirk of the calendar means that once every 11 years, there’s an additional paycheck within the state’s fiscal year. That’s because there’s slightly more than 52 weeks in a year, and over the years, those extra...

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Thu., March 17, 2005, 10:33 a.m.

Water funding bill in the works?

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, dropped a somewhat tantalizing hint as she was pitching the Idaho Department of Water Resources budget bill to the Senate this morning. She had noted that the budget includes funding for a feasibility analysis of adjudicating water rights in the Coeur...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2005

Wed., March 16, 2005, 12:32 p.m.

GARVEE bonds pass Senate

In the end, there were only four votes against Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s proposal to fund $1.6 billion in highway construction through GARVEE bonds, which bond against future federal highway allocations. The measure cleared the Senate on a 30-4 vote, after a bid to amend the...

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Wed., March 16, 2005, 9:15 a.m.

What lurks under the dome

Workers who have been cleaning and repairing the state Capitol dome have discovered something interesting as they work on the small dome that sits atop the larger dome, 288 feet up in the air. The smaller dome has a silver coating, but it’s just layers...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2005

Tue., March 15, 2005, 1:01 p.m.

Just don't look back

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, was carrying a bill on penalties for inattentive driving when House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, interrupted him with this question: “Would this take care of the driving habits of the gentleman from (District) 1?”Harwood responded, “I’m not sure anything...

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Tue., March 15, 2005, 9:20 a.m.

Dead, dead, dead - times seven

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee officially killed seven homeowner property-tax relief bills this morning, opting instead to call for an interim committee to study the issue and develop proposals for next year.Meanwhile, North Idaho folks are planning to rally for property tax reform Thursday...

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MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2005

Mon., March 14, 2005, 1:18 p.m.

License plate bill against license plate bills

Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, got worked up enough as she ran down the list of causes that want new specialty license plates in Idaho that she told the House there are even proposals to benefit “spraying and neutering of pets.”Wood, the House Transportation chairwoman, sponsored...

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Mon., March 14, 2005, 10:28 a.m.

Of all things

The Idaho National Guard has been plenty busy of late, what with its largest deployment in history under way. But now comes word that the Guard has discovered a new species of wildlife – never seen before – on its training site in southern Idaho.“This...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2005

Fri., March 11, 2005, 9:30 a.m.

Nez Perce agreement heads to full Senate

There was just one “no” vote, from Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, as the Senate State Affairs Committee voted this morning to approve the landmark Nez Perce Water Rights Agreement. The pact now heads to the full Senate. If it passes there, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has...

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Fri., March 11, 2005, 8:39 a.m.

A birthday budget

After months and months of intensive study and long hearings by a variety of committees and subcommittees, lawmakers set a budget for Medicaid this morning that adds $10 million above the governor’s recommendation to cover expected increases in caseloads. That comes after every other piece...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2005

Thu., March 10, 2005, 12:25 p.m.

Clark chairs first meeting - finally

Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, chaired his first committee meeting today – two months into the legislative session. That’s because the panel that he chairs, the House Ways & Means Committee, typically isn’t called into session until the speaker of the House wants to quickly...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2005

Wed., March 9, 2005, 2:41 p.m.

Noh more to say

Former longtime Sen. Laird Noh was in the midst of his testimony on the Nez Perce water rights agreement when Senate State Affairs Chairman Don Burtenshaw, R-Terreton, cut him off – his three minutes were up.“Y’know, I’ve always wanted to do that,” Burtenshaw said to...

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Wed., March 9, 2005, 10:59 a.m.

Nez Perce hearing

So far, today’s Senate State Affairs Committee hearing on the Nez Perce water rights agreement is a little more low-key than the earlier House committee hearings. Only about 100 people are in the audience at Boise City Hall, while two or three times that many...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2005

Tue., March 8, 2005, 9:58 a.m.

Land board mad at legislators

Idaho’s Land Board members – who include the governor, the attorney general, the state superintendent of schools, the secretary of state and the state controller – are ticked at the Legislature for backing them into a corner on school endowment funding.The Land Board a year...

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MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2005

Mon., March 7, 2005, 1:10 p.m.

Bicycle bill rolls on through

Sen. Joyce Broadsword’s compromise bill on when bicyclists should have to stop for red lights cleared the Senate today on a 29-3 vote, with the only surprise by that point being that anyone voted against it.From a brouhaha that had cyclists swarming committee hearings and...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2005

Fri., March 4, 2005, 12:08 p.m.

Noble's statement to the Senate

Sen. Jack Noble submitted this written statement to the Senate this afternoon:“Dear Mr. President: I was present this morning with council(sic) in the Senate Committee on Ethics for the debate and adoption of the Report on my conduct. I was extended every courtesy, treated fairly,...

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Fri., March 4, 2005, 11:11 a.m.

Senate-passed bills went in 'a hole'

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb has assigned a bill to expand family-planning services to more low-income Idaho women to a House committee that some of the bill’s backers consider a black hole. The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Hayden Lake GOP Rep. Jim Clark,...

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Fri., March 4, 2005, 8:23 a.m.

Panel votes to censure Noble

The Senate Ethics Committee has voted to censure Sen. Jack Noble, R-Kuna, for ethics violations, after a vote to expel him from the Senate failed on a 3-3 party-line vote.If the full Senate approves the committee’s recommendation, Noble will be required to stand in the...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2005

Thu., March 3, 2005, 2:21 p.m.

Gettin' a legislative spanking

When House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, asked for unanimous consent to move up the Nez Perce water rights agreement on the House calendar, as planned, Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, threw a wrench into the process by objecting. House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, who was celebrating...

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Eye On Boise

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