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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2004

From the coast of Utah

Witnesses in court on Thursday in the Al-Hussayen trial included a series of FBI translators, who testified about their qualifications. Among them was Jabra Ghnein, a Kuwaiti native and professional translator and linguist who told the court his main job for the past year has...

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2004

That's tight security

Monday was the 9th anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, prompting extraordinarily tight security at the federal courthouse in Boise.Federal Protective Service police officers openly displayed automatic weapons, as they have periodically throughout the trial. But to add to that,...

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TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2004

What he didn't say

At least one of the seven counts of visa fraud and one of the five counts of false statements against Sami Al-Hussayen rely on a new, post-Sept. 11 official form that Al-Hussayen submitted in 2002 to get clearance to continue his studies in the United...

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MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2004

See for yourself

There's been much debate in the Sami Al-Hussayen trial so far about various Internet sites and their content. Want to see them for yourself? Knowledge of Arabic would be helpful to see the full content of some, but there are also options for English. Check...

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THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2004

Ups and downs

After the drama of the Al-Hussayen trial's opening arguments on Wednesday, the first round of testimony this morning was a comparative snoozer, as an immigration official painstakingly identified various lines on various immigration forms.During the course of an hour and half of that, in the...

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2004

'Not who he is'

Sami Omar Al-Hussayen was, in fact, affiliated with the Islamic Assembly of North America and with two Saudi sheikhs, his defense attorneys said in their opening statements this morning - but not illegally."Sami was not an employee of this organization - he volunteered, and he's...

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TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2004

Jury system impresses

Samir Shahat, a Pullman chemist who’s originally from Egypt, said he was impressed with what he saw after sitting through the jury selection for the Sami Al-Hussayen trial on Tuesday."I’m here to support Sami and at the same time witnessing the American justice system," said...

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MONDAY, APRIL 12, 2004

One safe parking lot

Security certainly was stepped up at the federal courthouse in Boise this week, as preparations began for the terrorism trial of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen. In the courthouse parking lot on Monday, under brilliant spring sunshine, there seemed to be an officer about every 15 feet.When...

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2004

Otter chooses Caldwell for announcement

U.S. Rep. Butch Otter launched his re-election campaign Wednesday in Caldwell, flanked by Canyon County Sheriff George Nourse, left, and former Gov. Phil Batt, right. Otter proclaimed, "I was born here. This is my roots – not only my birthright roots, but my philosophical roots."Unlike...

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TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2004

To tell the truth

When an anti-gay-marriage computerized phone-bank message targeted the districts of a half-dozen state senators, including at least one in North Idaho, Sen. Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, denied all knowledge. He and Rep. Henry Kulczyk, R-Eagle, were the main sponsors of an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment that failed...

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THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2004

Who's on the ballot?

Did you know that Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are on Idaho’s primary ballot for president, along with the better-known John Kerry and George W. Bush? How about that there’s a three-way Republican primary for the state Senate seat in Kootenai County’s District 3 –...

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SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2004

It's all over now

The Idaho House adjourned its 2004 session at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 20th, and the Senate followed suit at 6:52 p.m. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne hailed lawmakers for their 69-day session, saying, "I think we have seen tremendous progress made." But with 200 to 300...

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Not much of a compliment

Sen. Bert Marley, D-McCammon, gave a grudging compliment to those who hashed out the much-amended charter school reform bill as the session closed, though he opposed the bill."We could've done better," he said. "I guess I have to applaud the efforts that have been made...

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One way to reduce controversy

Among the many fits and starts that the much-lobbied, much-amended charter school reform legislation went through was an odd one on Saturday morning. The Senate was getting ready to consider whether or not to concur with two rounds of House amendments to SB 1444. But...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004

They showed 'em

As the state Senate worked into the night Thursday, Sens. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, and Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, saw just the opportunity they'd been waiting for. Two moderate senators were missing, having been formally excused for conflicting commitments as the night wore on. So Pearce...

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Just quit breathing?

Then there was Rep. Bill Sali, R-Meridian, the House's Health and Welfare Committee chairman. He told the House, "If we're concerned about the air, then we all need to quit breathing, because we're all exhaling carbon dioxide, which is one of the constituents of cigarette...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 2004

And then there was this study...

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, was right in the middle of his debate against the smoking bill when suddenly Rep. Kathy Skippen's computer began blaring out the theme to Indiana Jones, right into the House P.A. system.Skippen couldn't get it to stop, though Harwood was...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2004

It's up, it's down, it's up

First, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne proposed a $1,000 tax credit for new jobs that pay more than $15.50 an hour and provide health insurance benefits. Then, the House thought that was too high, so they amended it down to $12.50 an hour.When the bill got to...

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MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2004

Blame it on North Idaho?

With lawmakers scrambling to wrap up their session by the end of this week, it was something of a surprise on Friday when the Senate, which has more than 100 bills left on its calendar, decided to quit shortly after lunchtime and head home for...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2004

Sandpoint girl cheers senators' vote

Hannah Vogel, 13, was visiting the state Capitol with a group of 35 eighth graders from Sandpoint Charter School when she sat in on a Senate committee hearing where, after tough questioning from senators, a pro-field burning bill was unexpectedly killed by one vote. Hannah...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2004

Big hearing coming up

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will reconvene on Thursday morning, and its agenda is packed. On the schedule: Reconsidering cuts in the DEQ's air quality program, reconsidering caps on the Children's Health Insurance Program and possibly other items in the Medicaid budget, and increasing the budget...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2004

Blame it on Oregon?

Rep. Bob Schaefer, R-Nampa, contends that back when he worked on North Idaho field-burning issues, he discovered that there was nothing to residents' complaints about smoke from field-burning."We found out from that when people complained about the smoke in the Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint area,...

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MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2004

Clark Fork jackpot

Rep. John Campell, R-Sandpoint, told the House that the sale of the University of Idaho's Clark Fork Field Campus was "a travesty of justice.""Whoever bought that hit the Idaho jackpot," Campbell said. "I think we ought to change this law to make sure this never...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2004

Lawmaker for a day, or three or five

Wonder why former Rep. Freeman Duncan was filling in for Sen. Dick Compton this week? Or how Kootenai County GOP Chairman Bob Nonini took Rep. Hilde Kellogg's seat for a week?Idaho's substitute-legislator system may be unique in the country. Brenda Erickson, a senior researcher with...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2004

It's the Kindergarten Manifesto

St. Maries Rep. Dick Harwood told the House on Wednesday that a bill to require kids to attend kindergarten was akin to communism.Lawmakers would be familiar with the idea "if you've ever read the Communist Manifesto," Harwood said. "This is another step toward government control...

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Eye On Boise

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