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Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2008

Time to choke off the session?

The dreaded sheep tie has arrived and been placed around my neck, and it turns out to depict a black sheep standing out among the fluffy white ones. Meanwhile, the Senate has received the report of the conference committee, taken HB 599 to the 14th...

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Senate votes 20-15 for primary bill

On the final day of the Legislature, the Idaho Senate has gotten itself embroiled in a protracted debate about primary election procedures. After moving SB 1507, the “call-for ballot” bill, to the 14th order for amendment, the Senate amended it to allow a party to...

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It's more, but it's less

In the end, the changes the House insisted on in the Senate-amended version of HB 599, the bill to repeal the personal property tax on business equipment, actually limited the tax break legislation further, rather than expanding it. “I’m very, very surprised at the House’s...

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A few more steps...

House Republicans on the conference committee so far aren’t too excited about splitting the difference to $87,500, and are pushing for sticking with their proposal of $100,000. They also want an economic “trigger,” and when Sen. Brent Hill asked if there’s general support for that...

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Some agreement, some disagreement

So far, there’s possible agreement on the concept of maybe adding some kind of an economic trigger to allow the tax break to be put off if the state’s budget dips, but no agreement on the question of the interplay between the 3 percent budget...

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Needs a majority from each house

Senate Majority Bart Davis, reading from Mason’s Rules, said his interpretation is that for the conference committee to reach an agreement, its report must be signed by a majority of the members from each house – not just a majority of the committee. That’s because...

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‘Get the flock out of here’

Click below to read my full story from today’s Spokesman-Review on the fight over the personal property tax break that’s dominating the final days of this year’s legislative session. Meanwhile, Statehouse reporters have been wearing ugly ties for the past week and a half as...

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TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2008

House votes not to concur

The House has voted 43-25 to not concur in the Senate amendments to HB 599a, the bill to repeal the property tax on business equipment. Those amendments, which the Senate had approved unanimously, would have limited the business tax break to equipment valued at up...

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Governor signs auto emission testing bill

Gov. Butch Otter has signed into law HB 586, the measure on vehicle emission testing to avoid federal sanctions in areas of the state with high levels of air pollution. “Clean air is among Idaho’s most precious resources,” Otter wrote in a signing message. “We...

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Both houses are back on

The House has gone right into debate on SJR 107, the bill regarding local government debt and “ordinary and necessary” expenses. The Senate, meanwhile, has taken up the newly House-passed measure restoring most of the vetoed substance abuse treatment funds.

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Senate passes community infrastructure districts

The Senate has voted 29-4 in favor of HB 680, to let developers set up “community infrastructure districts” to bond for public improvements related to new developments, with the bonds to be paid off by the future residents of the developments. Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg,...

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No movement on local-option bill

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee just met, but HB 688, the local-option tax enabling legislation, had disappeared from its agenda. Instead, the committee quickly passed HB 691, the replacement for the tax-deed sale legislation that Gov. Butch Otter vetoed earlier, and finished its...

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Rev & Tax calls for conference committee

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee has voted 10-6 to recommend not concurring in the Senate amendments on the personal property tax repeal bill, HB 599, and instead calling for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and the Senate. The panel’s five...

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A conference committee?

Now there’s talk of a possible conference committee to resolve differences between the two houses, should the House not concur in the Senate amendments to HB 599, the bill to repeal the personal property tax on business equipment. But there’s also talk that the Legislature...

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Transportation funding bill killed

House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, has asked the House for unanimous consent to return HB 689, the compromise $68.5 million transportation funding bill, to committee, and no one objected. “We’re nearing the end of the session, and it’s probably time that we work...

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MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2008

School zone speeding bill heads to governor

Fines for speeding in school zones in Idaho would rise to more than $100, under legislation that won final passage in the Idaho House today. SB 1361a, sponsored by Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, now goes to the governor’s desk. It would set the minimum...

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Tent gone, but the circus hasn't left town...

Something was missing from the Capitol Annex grounds today – the festive white tent in the back parking lot, with its scalloped-edge trim, that housed the deluxe flushing Port-a-Potties brought in for the legislative session. Though not heavily used, the potties were there to supplement...

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Governor signs grocery tax relief bill

Gov. Butch Otter has signed into law the long-sought break for Idahoans who have been paying full 6 percent sales taxes on their grocery purchases, ever since the Legislature raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6 in August of 2006. “After a year...

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'We wish we weren't here'

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, opened this morning’s Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee hearing with this comment: “Welcome everyone – we wish we weren’t here.” Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, responded, “The House concurs, Mr. Chairman – we wish we weren’t here either. But since...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008

Election names bill passes

SB 1514, the measure to require a parenthetical (a person formerly known as…) on the ballot following the names of candidates who have changed their names to political slogans, has passed the House 64-2 and now goes to the governor. Rep. John Vander Woulde, R-Nampa,...

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Local-option enabling legislation passes the House

The House has voted 66-0 in favor of HB 688, enabling legislation to accompany HJR 4, the local-option tax amendment. There was no debate. “This is necessary legislation and I would certainly urge your green light,” House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, told the House....

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Senators send missive to state board

The Senate Education Committee this morning approved letters to the state Board of Education and to Gov. Butch Otter summing up their findings from months of complaints and a dramatic hearing in which the senators grilled state board members about their handling of the ISAT...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2008

Personal property tax bill amended

HB 599, the bill to phase in a repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment, has been amended unanimously in the Senate. Senators changed the bill to exempt just the first $75,000 in value from the tax on business equipment, and to exclude...

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Eye On Boise

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