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Eye On Boise

MONDAY, JAN. 29, 2007


Deep in the recesses of the capitol…

More than 100 years ago, an elaborate vault was built in the state capitol for the state treasurer to keep the state’s treasury – the money. “All state moneys in the custody of the state treasurer not otherwise deposited or invested … shall be kept...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 26, 2007

The deal: Single-story wings

Both the Legislature and the governor will ask the state Capitol Commission when it meets on Tuesday to approve a change in the capitol renovation and expansion plans to include single-story, rather than two-story, underground wings at either end of the state capitol. The idea...

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Deal on capitol wings

Members of leadership from both houses emerged from the governor’s office a few minutes ago and said there’s an agreement in principle on the capitol wings, though it’s not final. “It’s our opinion that the Capitol Commission still has a significant stake – so we...

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Deal in works on capitol wings?

House Speaker Lawerence Denney says he and other members of legislative leadership will be meeting with Gov. Butch Otter “sometime today” on the capitol wings issue that has stalled the entire renovation of the state Capitol, and put a damper on the opening weeks of...

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Grocery tax bills coming

House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, says he hasn’t been buried in grocery tax relief proposals, after asking all lawmakers to get him their proposed bills by today. He has Gov. Butch Otter’s bill in hand, and a couple others. “We’ll be having the print...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 25, 2007


'Ripe for investigation'

As Supt. Tom Luna proposes a big new state investment in textbooks, Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, decried “the overall cost of textbooks,” saying, “It just seems like such a racket out there, and something that’s ripe for investigation.” Luna acknowledged that the costs are high.

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Luna has the answers

So far, new state schools Supt. Tom Luna has had the answers when members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee fired questions at him about his budget proposal. First, Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, questioned Luna about his proposal to separate funding for improving technology...

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Jorgenson, Clark target urban renewal districts

Two North Idaho lawmakers are going after urban renewal districts, introducing legislation designed to sharply rein them in because of concerns over what Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, calls “taxation without representation.” His two bills, co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, were introduced yesterday...

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Luna pledges to start Indian ed office

Idaho’s new school superintendent wants to establish an American Indian education office in his department, but not add two positions, as former Supt. Marilyn Howard had recommended. Instead, Luna said he’ll come up with the positions from within existing staff numbers. “There has been talk...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 24, 2007

Kane letter warns Otter is risking 'millions'

Here’s an interesting letter sent by Idaho Capitol Commission Chairman Jack Kane, the former adjutant general of the Idaho National Guard, to Gov. Butch Otter about the standoff between Otter and the Legislature over the capitol renovation project:January 23, 2007Honorable C.L. Butch OtterState Capitol Building2nd...

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Bonners Ferry was the 'friendliest'

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s “Idaho Corps of Discovery Passport” program has expired, ending on Dec. 31, 2006, but the rave reviews are still being tallied from Idaho families who took the challenge to visit all 44 counties and get their “passports” stamped in each. The program...

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A bear of a message

Cute little teddy bears dressed in crisp white nurses’ uniforms graced the desks of every JFAC member this morning, as the joint committee heard budget pitches from the College of Southern Idaho and North Idaho College. Both colleges want to expand their nursing education programs....

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Otter budget funds nursing buildings, not faculty

Although Gov. Butch Otter wants to spend millions on building new nursing education buildings, his budget includes no funding for $13.6 million in additional faculty, training and pay recommended by a state Nursing Task Force.“You can’t have one without the other, can you?” asked a...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 23, 2007

Sali sponsoring anti-abortion legislation

New Idaho Congressman Bill Sali says he’ll be co-sponsoring a “Right to Life Act” to be introduced in Congress later this week “that affirms the personhood of the unborn.” In a statement, he said, “I promise to be a voice for these small humans –...

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NIC Prez Burke praised by lawmakers

North Idaho Reps. Bob Nonini and Marge Chadderdon, both Coeur d’Alene Republicans, heaped praise on outgoing North Idaho College President Michael Burke today, as he addressed the House Education Committee to tell the members about NIC and what it’s up to. Burke leaves in March...

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Seven miles away, 20 percent more pay...

Idaho’s higher education leaders talk a lot about how their faculty salaries lag behind comparable institutions in the region. The University of Idaho has a particular problem competing with Washington State University, UI President Tim White said, because it’s just 7 miles away, but has...

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UI attracting first-generation students

University of Idaho President Tim White told legislative budget writers this morning that 37 percent of new freshmen who enroll at the U of I are the first generation in their families to go to college. “That’s a proud statistic for me,” he said, noting...

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MONDAY, JAN. 22, 2007

They agree - Gould is tough, smart

Former state Rep. Celia Gould, R-Buhl, won unanimous confirmation from the Senate this morning as the new state director of agriculture. Senators noted her qualifications, including an extensive background in agriculture and service in the Legislature from 1986 to 2002. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, recalled...

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The one thing

If there were just one thing he could ask for, BSU President Bob Kustra told legislative budget writers this morning, it would be to preserve the proportion of state general fund support in the university’s budget. “Please keep that 28 percent where it is today,”...

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He can do it all

JFAC Co-Chair Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, marveled over the distinguished background of Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas, which she noted includes kinesiology, orthopedic surgery and poultry science. “So if you have a chicken with a bad foot…” she said to laughter. Vailas was in...

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FRIDAY, JAN. 19, 2007

No resolution yet on Statehouse wings standoff

Gov. Butch Otter met with legislative leaders from both parties and both houses this afternoon for an hour and a half, but there’s still no resolution to the standoff between the governor and the Legislature over expansion of the Statehouse. The meeting included experts involved...

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Seeing evil

One Boise attorney who sat in on the arraignment of convicted killer Joseph Duncan this morning in a Boise courtroom said he came because he wanted to “see evil.” Joseph Edward Duncan is accused of the most heinous and horrifying of crimes, the kidnapping and...

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THURSDAY, JAN. 18, 2007

Luna unveils budget proposal

New state schools Superintendent Tom Luna unveiled a $1.38 billion budget request for public schools today that calls for funding 3 percent in raises for teachers next year and making new state investments into classroom supplies and textbooks. “This budget supports our teachers in a...

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Eye On Boise

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