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Eye On Boise

FRIDAY, JAN. 26, 2007

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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Annual BSU public policy survey released

The annual BSU Public Policy Survey was released this morning, and among its findings was this: 70 percent of Idahoans in the survey said they agree that the state should adopt an “English only policy.” The number was even higher in North Idaho – 75.4...

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Idaho tribal leaders weigh in on courthouse murals

After viewing controversial murals in the Ada County Courthouse, slated to temporarily house the Idaho Legislature next year, members of the state's tribes seemed to agree the paintings should be preserved – just not necessarily where they are now, reports S-R reporter Parker Howell.North Idaho...

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 17, 2007


Idaho House honors BSU Broncos

The Idaho House just voted unanimously for a resolution honoring the Boise State Broncos on their Fiesta Bowl win. HCR 7 passed on a unanimous, 68-0 vote. During the debate on the resolution, Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, sang a line from the state song,...

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Battle brewing over substance abuse funding

A battle is brewing between legislators and Gov. Butch Otter, after Otter recommended no funding at all in his budget for substance abuse services now being covered by a soon-to-expire federal grant. Lawmakers from throughout the state have been working on the substance abuse issue...

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Eye On Boise

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