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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2006

Kempthorne to replace Norton as Interior secretary

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has been nominated by President Bush to be the new Secretary of the Interior, replacing the departing Gale Norton. If confirmed, Kempthorne would be the second sitting Idaho governor tapped for that post. Then-Gov. Cecil Andrus was named Interior secretary in...

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Late this afternoon could be the time

Senators are now looking to start amending property tax bills around 4 this afternoon, after they weren’t quite ready to start this morning. With six major House-passed property tax reform bills awaiting amendments – and one of the year’s hottest political issues hanging in the...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2006

Talkin' amendments

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee is going over possible amendments to the various property tax bills and their impacts, and conferring publicly with experts like state Tax Commissioner Duey Hammond and administration chief economist Mike Ferguson. It’s the same workshop format the committee...

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Announcements, announcements...

It’s the political season, and candidates are announcing – including Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, who announced he’ll run for another term. Today on the steps of the Capitol, Sayler was among a crowd of Democrats at the announcement of Jackie Groves Twilegar, a new...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2006

Medicaid reform wins approval

Reforms of the fast-growing Medicaid program won strong support from the state House on Tuesday, just after a budget was approved for the program for next year that counts on just a 7.8 percent increase – half of last year’s hike. “There is a tie...

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MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2006

Guv signs bill limiting personal use of campaign money

Without comment, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has signed into law HB 556, which limits personal use of campaign contributions. The measure, which passed both houses unanimously, prohibits candidates or office-holders from using the money for food, clothing, rent, country club memberships, or other expenses that they’d...

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Don't eat - no, eat

Rep. Margaret Henbest, D-Boise, is a nurse who has made a point in recent years of urging her fellow House members to lose weight and eat healthy. But today, she was sponsoring a resolution at the Senate State Affairs Committee, HCR 60, that promotes hunger...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2006

'Two strikes and you're out'

The Legislature gave final approval to SB 1301 today, to set mandatory minimum life sentences for designated violent sexual predators who reoffend, and mandatory minimum 15-year terms for other sex offenders who reoffend. “We’re talking about two strikes and you’re out,” said Rep. Jim Clark,...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2006

Red team takes the blue team, 43-23

Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, made an impassioned pitch to the House Thursday to let bail bond agents have an extra six months to nab and turn in bail-jumpers and still get paid, but the House killed the bill, HB 450, on a 43-23 vote.Clark...

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Women's Commission budget no longer controversial

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee just unanimously approved the budget for the Idaho Women’s Commission for next year – which in itself is unusual. For years, a few committee members have objected to the idea of a women’s commission – most notably Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2006


Historic drop in cigarette sales

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was back in Washington, D.C. today, where, as co-chair of the national Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, he made this announcement at a news conference: U.S. cigarette sales in 2005 dropped 4.2 percent from 2004, the largest one-year percentage...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2006

MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2006

High school redesign could wait 'til next year

A concurrent resolution calling for more study of a proposed high school curriculum redesign, and then addressing it legislatively next year rather than this year, was introduced today in the House Ways & Means Committee, according to S-R reporter Meghann Cuniff. Rep. Larry Bradford, who...

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Can't skip election, gotta fund it

As legislative budget writers set the budget for the Idaho Secretary of State’s office this morning, Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, noted one of the line items. “As much as some people would like to skip the election this year, I think we ought to fund...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2006

Lobby bill passes House unanimously

HB 707, bipartisan legislation to require those who lobby the executive branch of state government to register with the state and disclose spending just like those who lobby the Legislature, has passed the House on a unanimous, 68-0 vote.Floor sponsors Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake,...

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Equity fight ends with $3.9 million agreement

The long fight between the state’s universities over “funding equity” – meaning the University of Idaho was seen as getting more state money comparatively when other colleges were growing faster in student populations – ended this morning. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a budget for...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2006

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb to retire

House Speaker Bruce Newcomb announced today – on his 66th birthday – that he won’t seek re-election after this session, and will retire after 20 years in the House, eight as speaker. “I’m proud of the people I served with, the trust we developed and...

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This one is unanimous too

HB 415, another campaign finance reform bill proposed by Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, just passed the Senate 35-0, after earlier unanimously clearing the House. This one prevents campaign contributors from getting around contribution limits by giving from multiple subsidiaries – which has happened...

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Eye On Boise

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