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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2007

They’re talking…

Talks between House and Senate leaders and the governor appear to be bearing some fruit, possibly in the form of a new version of the GARVEE highway bonding bill. “We’ve all been down in the governor’s office,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley....

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Senate kills GARVEE bill

After two hours of tense debate, the Senate has voted 23-12 to kill a controversial highway bonding plan that pitted the House against the Senate. The defeat, which throws into doubt the plans to wrap up this year’s legislative session today, came because the bill...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007

Election bill backer hoping for more time

S-R reporter Parker Howell reports that advocates of changing Idaho's primary election system to avert a potential legal battle between the state and the Idaho Republican Party have come up with yet another plan. The proposal comes hot on the heels of SB 1244, introduced...

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‘Rotting on the docket’

Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, says last Friday was really time for the Legislature to go home – but they’re still going. Today, he’s come up with a new “term of art” to describe bills still on the calendar – they’re “rotting...

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House votes to override veto on grocery tax

The House has voted 48-22 to override Gov. Butch Otter’s veto of HB 81a, the bill to increase the grocery tax credit across the board. Otter wanted a targeted, means-tested plan instead, but lawmakers didn’t support that. “Everybody knows the track record with this bill...

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Who's afraid?

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, just noted that Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis was “frowning” so he said he’d refrain from a comment he was about to make in JFAC. Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said, “Don’t be afraid of my leadership – I’m not...

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JFAC backs list of GARVEE projects again

On a 12-8 vote, JFAC has just approved a motion from Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, to fund GARVEE projects next year at the same level as his earlier successful motion – $246 million – with the same list of dollar amounts per project. That...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

Otter willing to wait on grocery tax?

Gov. Butch Otter today, for the first time, sounded ready to let the grocery tax relief issue go for this year. “My bill wasn’t going to take effect until 2008,” he said. “What I’m saying is that we could get busy in early January next...

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House members debate how to pay teachers

As the House debated the public school budget today, there was lots of back-and-forth about the budget plan’s 3 percent raises for school employees, as opposed to the 5 percent merit-pay increase state agency employees are getting, reports S-R reporter Parker Howell. House Education Committee...

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Revolving door bill wins speaker’s support

The House Ways & Means Committee has voted unanimously to introduce legislation to ban former legislators from working as paid lobbyists for one year – with House Speaker Lawerence Denney as a co-sponsor along with House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet. “This is one of the...

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Now they're moving

The three public school budget bills that the Senate passed this morning have been rushed over to the House, where they’ve suspended rules and taken them up right away. This kind of speedy movement happens only at the end of a legislative session – and...

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Otter sets April 17 water summit

Gov. Butch Otter has scheduled his long-promised “water summit” for April 17th in Burley. “The Idaho Supreme Court’s March 5 ruling that the state has authority to manage ground water and surface water as a single resource cleared the way for that summit to occur,”...

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Apple slices vs. orange segments

Kurt Douglas, an engineer at Micron Technology, is filling in for Boise Sen. Elliot Werk today. In the Senate, Douglas spoke out on the school budget and the 3 percent vs. 5 percent for raises. “Five percent of an apple is always going to be...

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Senate adjourns in memory of Rep. Miller

The Senate has just adjourned until tomorrow in memory of former Rep. Janet Miller, R-Boise, whose funeral is this afternoon. The former lawmaker and longtime Republican activist died last week of cancer. Both houses are adjourning early today to allow lawmakers to attend her funeral.

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Senate passes public schools budget bills

The Senate has passed the remaining pieces of the public school budget – a key move toward finishing up the legislative session. The bills still need House approval and the governor’s signature to become law. Objections to the budgets came from a handful of senators,...

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Lurching toward – adjournment?

The news yesterday about the prospects for ending this now-overdue legislative session was almost too depressing to post – there was none. House Speaker Lawerence Denney said at noon that he hadn’t spoken with the governor since the previous Wednesday. This morning’s JFAC meeting was...

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MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007

Primary election bill back in play

The Senate State Affairs Committee has agreed on a party-line vote to introduce legislation changing Idaho’s primary election system. Under the proposed plan, Idahoans would have to register with a political party, but they could choose ‘independent’ and still vote in primary elections. However, their...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007

Dems call for ‘revolving door’ law

House Democrats have drafted legislation to ban legislators from being paid as legislative lobbyists for a year after they leave the Legislature, and House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said the bill will be considered next week in the House Ways & Means Committee. “We...

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Duncan trial set for next January

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has set Joseph Duncan’s trial on federal kidnapping, murder and child-molesting charges for next January, splitting the difference between the prosecution’s request to start the trial in July and the defense’s to put it off until August of 2008. The...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2007

He’s serious, even driven

Although Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, has been teased by fellow lawmakers about his concerns about state agencies' use of vehicle fleets, he wants to contact every state agency over the summer and submit a report on vehicle use to the Legislature next year, Parker...

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Eye On Boise

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