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Eye On Boise

MONDAY, FEB. 7, 2005

Mon., Feb. 7, 2005, 1:43 p.m.

Closed caucus discusses state budget

Idaho Republican senators went behind closed doors today for about an hour to discuss the state budget – specifically, a shortfall in the public school budget that’s anticipated this year because enrollment is up higher than anticipated.Often, enrollment falls short of projections, leaving extra money...

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Mon., Feb. 7, 2005, 10:57 a.m.

It finally surfaces

Now that we’re into the fifth week of the legislative session, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s big tax-incentive package to attract corporate headquarters to Idaho is going to be unveiled. “The long-awaited corporate incentive bill from the governor’s office has arrived,” House Tax Chairman Dolores Crow told...

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Mon., Feb. 7, 2005, 10:14 a.m.

Not saying they're sorry

House Tax Chairman Dolores Crow issued a warning to her committee this morning: “From now on, it’s crunch time,” she said. “We will be getting a lot of bills.” She warned lawmakers that if they see a proposal they don’t support, “for heaven’s sake don’t...

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FRIDAY, FEB. 4, 2005

Fri., Feb. 4, 2005, 10:05 a.m.

Idahoans hate those fax ads

The biggest complaint from Idaho consumers to the Attorney General’s consumer protection office in the past year was about unsolicited fax ads – by far. Of the 4,078 consumer complaints the office received in 2004 – the highest number since 1998 – 2,726 were about...

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 2, 2005

Wed., Feb. 2, 2005, 4:54 p.m.

She worked there 14 years ago

When new state Environmental Quality Director Toni Hardesty came before the Senate Health & Welfare Committee for a confirmation hearing, Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, zeroed right in on one line in Hardesty’s resume.“I have some concerns – you’ve come from Region 10 of EPA,” Broadsword...

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Wed., Feb. 2, 2005, 9:25 a.m.

Court saga continues

After a two-hour hearing, the Senate State Affairs Committee today voted 5-4 for a resolution calling for tearing down the historic Ada County Courthouse across from the state Capitol and replacing it with a new building – a measure the same panel had rejected last...

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TUESDAY, FEB. 1, 2005

Tue., Feb. 1, 2005, 4:34 p.m.

Are these two guys related?

Not sure how much Idaho Senate President Pro-tem Robert Geddes, R-Soda Springs, has in common with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. But the buzz in the Statehouse is that the two kind of look alike…

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MONDAY, JAN. 31, 2005

Mon., Jan. 31, 2005, 12:54 p.m.

Courthouse remodel goes down

After a debate that ran well into the lunch hour, the Idaho Senate defeated SCR 102, the bill to remodel the old Ada County Courthouse, on a 16-18 vote. Sen. Hal Bunderson, R-Meridian, led the opposition, arguing that a remodeled version of the historic structure...

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Mon., Jan. 31, 2005, 9:23 a.m.

Just think what they could do

Beautiful, startling images of Idaho’s landscape, wildlife and people soared across the display screens as Idaho Public Television General Manager Peter Morrill presented his budget request and an update on IPTV to legislative budget writers. But there was also a caricatured image of Morrill that...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 28, 2005

Fri., Jan. 28, 2005, 10:25 a.m.

Marriage amendment clears committee

After a hearing that stretched for more than three hours and saw dozens of people give heartfelt testimony on both sides, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 – with no discussion at all – to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 27, 2005

Thu., Jan. 27, 2005, 1:20 p.m.

Two girls for every boy...

North Idaho College President Michael Burke has been making the rounds of legislative committees, giving his budget pitch to JFAC this morning and briefing the House and Senate education committees yesterday. At the Senate Ed Committee, he revealed that NIC’s enrollment is now 63 percent...

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Thu., Jan. 27, 2005, 10:40 a.m.

Dueling press conferences?

How could this happen? Groups both opposing and supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment have scheduled press conferences today – both at noon, both on the second floor of the state Capitol, both apparently unaware that the other will be there, too.The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 26, 2005

Wed., Jan. 26, 2005, 11:42 a.m.

One's closed, the other's open

It’s happened again, for a second day in a row. The House Majority Caucus met behind closed doors for about 45 minutes to discuss the state budget, including presentations from experts on various line items and how the budget works. At the same time, the...

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Wed., Jan. 26, 2005, 8:51 a.m.

Crowd had other things on its mind

Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood had a full house this morning when he briefed the Senate State Affairs Committee on the work of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council, which he chairs. The committee room was standing-room only, and people spilled out the doorway. “The events...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 25, 2005

Tue., Jan. 25, 2005, 4:04 p.m.

Packed room, no decision

After almost two hours of heated testimony and questioning, the Senate Transportation Committee decided by one vote this afternoon to delay a decision on a bill that would mandate all gasoline sold in Idaho be at least 10 percent ethanol by 2010.On a 5-4 vote,...

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MONDAY, JAN. 24, 2005

Mon., Jan. 24, 2005, 3:56 p.m.

'Welcome to the inquisition'

Senators on the Senate Education Committee grilled state Board of Education member Karen McGee for an hour today at her re-confirmation hearing, on everything from concerns about charter schools to a new alternate teacher-certification test.“Welcome to the inquisition,” said Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur...

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Mon., Jan. 24, 2005, 10:21 a.m.

The guv was there

When the Red Hot Mamas from Hayden went by in the inaugural parade, there was a familiar face standing at the side of President George W. Bush – Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.Kempthorne, who spent the past week in Washington, D.C. working with other governors to...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 21, 2005

Fri., Jan. 21, 2005, 12:48 p.m.

Changing the rules

Senate Republican leaders want to change the Senate’s internal rules to allow official Senate committee meetings to be closed for any reason. They also want to delete a section of the Senate’s internal rules that notes that if there’s a conflict between the rules and...

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Fri., Jan. 21, 2005, 9:16 a.m.

Not what she said

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, had questions when legislative budget writers were reviewing budget requests from the state’s public health districts. Among them: Why, when an employee retires, they get credit only for half of their unused sick leave, rather than all of it. Some...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 20, 2005

Thu., Jan. 20, 2005, 3:43 p.m.

Senators impressed by judges

Senators on the Health & Welfare Committee were so impressed by a presentation from 1st District Judge John T. Mitchell from Coeur d’Alene and 7th District Judge Brent Moss from Idaho Falls that they want to see the two judges’ “mental health courts” expanded statewide....

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Thu., Jan. 20, 2005, 1 p.m.

Fish are people too?

Those friendly folks at PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, put on a little demonstration in Boise today to let people know that “Fish are Friends, Not Food.”At the Skipper’s seafood restaurant, the group pushed its “fish empathy project,” which, according to the...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 19, 2005

Wed., Jan. 19, 2005, 10:34 a.m.

And for the next act...

The entire state Capitol has turned into something of a three-ring circus today, with the first, second and third floors of its ornate central rotunda crowded with displays, booths, and crowds of browsers sampling Idaho products. It’s the annual “Buy Idaho” show, which showcases dozens...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 18, 2005

Tue., Jan. 18, 2005, 8:33 a.m.

Not the conventional wisdom

Legislative budget writers usually talk about saving money by privatizing government services, but this morning, the Department of Health & Welfare told them they could save millions by doing the opposite – “in-sourcing” a bunch of information technology workers who now are outside contractors.“The state...

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MONDAY, JAN. 17, 2005

Mon., Jan. 17, 2005, 2:52 p.m.

Everybody's doing it

Citing the many health benefits of cannabis, medical marijuana activist Tim Teater outlined a proposal to legalize the drug at a press conference at the Capitol this afternoon. In front a smattering of reporters and cameras, Teater said it’s time for Idaho to join other...

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Mon., Jan. 17, 2005, 12:41 p.m.

So that's the word

What do you call a third-year college student who’s in her second year at North Idaho College? A “super-sophomore.” That’s according to Heather Erikson, NIC student body president and super-soph.

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Eye On Boise

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