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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Curt McKenzie

Judge: State senator’s wife overstepped role as legal assistant in murderer’s lawsuit against state

A federal judge has ruled that a state senator's wife overstepped her role as a legal assistant and had an “inappropriate” relationship with a convicted murderer who is suing the Idaho Department of Correction for sexual harassment. In November, Renee McKenzie, wife of Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa, was appointed by a federal court to help Lance Wood, who was imprisoned for life for his role in the 1988 kidnapping and torture slaying of a gay man in Utah. She was an adviser, not an attorney, and prison officials decided in February she was overstepping the bounds of that relationship. They had intercepted a letter the inmate wrote to McKenzie, which they determined was “clearly of a personal nature.” Investigators then discovered the two had unmonitored phone conversations lasting 91 hours between December and February. On Feb. 7, they barred McKenzie from visiting Wood; click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Per-diem dustup could prompt legislation

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho legislator says he'll introduce a measure in 2012 to prevent Boise-area lawmakers from boosting their state retirements with per diem payments. Rep. Dennis Lake of Blackfoot says it's unfair that local lawmakers can get more-generous pensions compared to out-of-town legislators for identical work. Three weeks ago, The Associated Press reported Canyon County Sens. John McGee and Curt McKenzie banked daily $122 payments for a second residence — even though McGee lived with his parents and McKenzie slept on an office couch. The AP also reported these payments count toward McGee's and McKenzie's pensions because their primary residences are within 50 miles of the Capitol. Meanwhile, Idaho's government payroll system doesn't count per diem toward retirement for lawmakers like Lake whose primary residences are more than 50 miles away.

Per-diem dustup could prompt reforms…

The dustup over legislators' per diem - after the Associated Press reported that two Canyon County senators billed taxpayers $6,400 apiece for a second Boise residence during the session while one slept on his law office couch and the other stayed with his parents - could prompt reforms of the per diem system, AP reporter John Miller reports today. Click below for his full article.

Nampa senator must repay Nampa-Boise mileage, also was paid for spending night in Boise, not driving

AP reporter John Miller reports that state Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa must return more than $2,400 in inappropriate mileage reimbursements for travel from his Nampa home to the state Capitol during the legislative session, when he also was getting reimbursed for maintaining a second residence in Boise during the session, while actually sleeping on the couch at his Boise law office. McKenzie said he was unaware he was also getting the mileage reimbursement, and didn't ask for it; click below for Miller's full report. Before that news came out, McKenzie sent a guest opinion to the Idaho Statesman defending his per diem use; you can read it here at Kevin Richert's blog. It says, in part, “The suggestion that any of us serve in order to get a little extra per diem just doesn’t hold water.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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