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Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, JAN. 15, 2008

One in four lawmakers are UI alums

University of Idaho President Tim White started off his budget pitch to JFAC this morning by paying tribute to some famous alumni, including Burton French, who was elected to the Idaho Legislature during his sophomore year at the university in 1898, became House Republican floor...

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MONDAY, JAN. 14, 2008

'We are now officially in the black'

The Idaho State Board of Education has just voted 5-2 to approve amendments to its $22 million contract with Data Recognition Corp. for ISAT testing, officially canceling 9th grade testing and making other cost-cutting changes. “We are now officially in the black,” board President Milford...

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PNWER, INL team up on energy

The Idaho National Laboratory signed an agreement with the Pacific Northwest Economic Region today to research electrical transmission options and costs in the region, with the research stretching across state and even national borders. “We have a transmission problem in the Pacific Northwest,” said Rep....

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SUNDAY, JAN. 13, 2008

FRIDAY, JAN. 11, 2008

Bill makes dog fighting a felony

Dog fighting would become a felony in Idaho, and attending a dogfight – now legal – would become a misdemeanor, under legislation introduced today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Brad Little, R-Emmett, presented the bill and it was quickly and unanimously...

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Survey: Idahoans say Craig should go

The annual BSU Public Policy Survey was released this morning, and this year’s edition included a new question: “In your opinion, should Senator Larry Craig remain in office to complete his term?” The results: 57 percent said no, 37 percent yes, and 6 percent weren’t...

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Getting it going

Sandpoint Sen. Shawn Keough says she’s taking to heart the advice to speed things up this session – and that’s why she filed two personal bills in the Senate on Thursday. One would withdraw northern Bonner and Boundary counties from the upcoming North Idaho water...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 10, 2008

Lawmakers endorse Otter's revenue forecast

The Legislature’s joint committee charged with examining the state of Idaho’s economy and determining a revenue figure on which to set the state budget has endorsed the Otter Administration’s forecast, which calls for 3.4 percent revenue growth in fiscal 2009, following 3.5 percent in the...

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Minnick: 'Reports won't fix roads'

Walt Minnick, one of three Democrats running for GOP Rep. Bill Sali’s seat, issued this response to Sali’s remarks to the Legislature on transportation, including the GAO report Sali requested on barriers to road construction: “Congressman Sali’s remarks today are a perfect example of why...

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Otter to bring tribal agreements to lawmakers

Gov. Butch Otter will bring four fuel-tax agreements he negotiated with Idaho Indian tribes to lawmakers for their approval, even though there's some legal question as to whether that's required. "Rather than having a debate about whether or not we should, I think the governor...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9, 2008

The saga of the wandering coatrack

Everyone’s cramped in the temporary Statehouse, none more so than the press. The Statehouse press corps is crammed elbow-to-elbow into a 10-by-10 foot room, with overflow space consisting of a table in the basement hallway downstairs (pictured here, with AP reporter John Miller working away)....

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Idaho education ranked worst in nation

Ouch. Education Week has released its latest ranking of education quality among the states, and Idaho is in a six-way tie for last place. Joining us at the bottom of the rankings, with a grade of D+, were Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and the District...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 8, 2008

Those stars were familiar

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna has been calling his teacher merit pay plan “iSTARS,” an acronym for Idaho State Teacher Advancement and Recognition System. But Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, who co-chaired a legislative panel with Rep. Bob Nonini over the interim that looked...

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Craig attorney issues statement

Sen. Larry Craig’s lead defense attorney, Billy Martin, has issued this statement: “Our brief contains legal arguments supporting Senator Craig's position that the district court abused its discretion by refusing to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. Pursuant to Minnesota law, there is an...

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So it's not really a new problem...

Phones in the Senate chamber have been ringing at inopportune times, and the Senate was just informed that they’ve now all been silenced until the new phone system can be sorted out enough to control the ring volumes. Commented Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, who was...

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Whoops, no vets cemetery in North Idaho

The $10 million that Idaho welcomed from the feds last year for a new veterans cemetery in North Idaho ran into a bit of a snag, according to Gov. Butch Otter’s budget director, Wayne Hammon. Hammon just told JFAC that the feds chose a site...

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MONDAY, JAN. 7, 2008

Phenneger joins Senate race

Post Falls businessman Richard Phenneger commissioned a poll that showed only 21 percent of Idahoans were satisfied with the two major-party frontrunners for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat – Republican Jim Risch and Democrat Larry LaRocco – and now Phenneger’s running too. Phenneger, a...

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Denney wants it to be short

House Speaker Lawerence Denney, thanking Otter for his State of the State message, told the governor, “We look forward to working with you, and to having a very short and productive session.”

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Guv makes transportation proposals

Gov. Butch Otter says he’ll support a proposal from Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, and others to raise Idaho’s vehicle registration fees to pay for fixing roads. “We must act without delay to address our growing transportation infrastructure needs,” Otter said. He also called...

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Otter wants 5 percent for state employees, teachers

Raises averaging 5 percent should be granted for all state employees – including teachers, Otter told legislators just now. Lawmakers interrupted him mid-sentence with applause. “My budget proposes a 5 percent pay increase for all our state employees,” he said, adding, “And we must advance...

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Meth ads kick off today, guv says

The governor is touting the graphic anti-meth ads that are starting to air today all over Idaho – and calling for a $1 million state contribution to the effort from the state’s tobacco settlement fund. “You’re going to see disturbing and even shocking images of...

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'Some would have liked a different outcome'

Gov. Otter defended the fuel tax agreements he negotiated with four Idaho Indian tribes, calling them “landmark agreements.” He added, “A lot of credit goes to the leaders of the Coeur d’Alene, Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce and Kootenai tribes. I realize that some people would have...

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Lawmakers awaiting governor’s speech

Legislators and onlookers have been filing in to the BSU Special Events Center, milling around and waiting for the governor’s State of the State speech. First, a note on the time stamps that appear on these blog posts – they’re in Pacific time, as are...

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View from the top

So who’s sitting in the new upper level of the House chamber? Its denizens include Reps. Bob Nonini, Eric Anderson, Frank Henderson and Cliff Bayer. It’s not that they got the short end of the stick. “We wanted to be up here,” said Nonini, R-Coeur...

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Eye On Boise

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