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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Idaho Capitol

Donation allows replacement of faded yellow ribbons on Capitol

The faded, ratty-looking yellow ribbons that have festooned the front columns of the Idaho state capitol for several years were replaced this morning with bright new ones, thanks to Support Our Troops, an Florida-based organization that established a Boise office in March; the state hadn’t replaced the old ribbons since November of 2010.

When the organization’s chairman, Martin Boire, arrived in Boise, “He looked at the Capitol and said, ‘Why haven’t they done something?’” said Roy Eiguren, Idaho coordinator for the group. “The state didn’t have the money. So Support Our Troops paid. It was only about $1,000.”

The ribbons have hung on the front of the Capitol since the Kempthorne administration, when then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne had them installed during the Iraq war, in which large numbers of Idaho soldiers were deployed. The state has replaced the ribbons periodically.

Said Eiguren, “The ribbons are a way to show our troops that we miss them and pray for their return soon, so it’s appropriate to keep the ribbons vibrant.”

Capitol construction ‘substantially complete’

It’s a milestone for the two-year renovation of the state Capitol: The project has been declared “substantially complete,” and the building is now back in the hands of the state, rather than the contractors. There’s still final work and move-in work going on, however; the first state agency to move back in to the renovated historic structure will be Legislative Services, which is moving in over the weekend and will start working in the Capitol on Monday. Then, over the next three weeks, state elected officials including the governor will begin moving their offices back in. Parts of the Capitol still will remain closed during the process; the whole thing will reopen to the public with a rededication ceremony, housewarming and tours on Saturday Jan. 9, starting at noon. The legislative session will kick off in the building the following Monday; click here to see the state’s announcement about the substantial completion.

‘Buy Idaho’ capitol dispute resolved

Here’s a news item from AP:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group that promotes homegrown Idaho products and services will get to spread out in the recently renovated Capitol, after all. The Capitol Commission, which oversees the building, had passed guidelines restricting public events to the fourth floor. But Buy Idaho typically uses multiple floors for its annual event. It complained the new rules would prevent it from getting the word out about its members’ products. On Wednesday, the Capitol Commission agreed to grant an exception to Buy Idaho, letting it use all four floors of the Capitol rotunda come Feb. 17, the date of its exhibition in 2010. This agreement helped de-escalate a dispute over just who controlled use of the Capitol: The Capitol Commission, the Legislature or the executive branch under Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

‘Buy Idaho’ group wants exception from new rules on Capitol displays

It’s hard to think of a regular event in the state Capitol that’s more chaotic than the annual Buy Idaho day, when purveyors of Idaho products annually fill all four floors of the Capitol rotunda with 100 or more booths, handing out samples of pork-n-seeds, fresh bread, candies and cosmetics and showcasing their businesses. When the newly renovated Capitol opens in January, it’ll have a new policy limiting exhibits to just the fourth-floor rotunda, but Buy Idaho, a group that Gov. Butch Otter helped found, wants an exemption. You can click below to read the full story from AP reporter John Miller.

The dispute came to the Legislative Council last Friday, but the panel declined to take any action after Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, offered to try to mediate and see if the Buy Idaho group could see merit in using just the fourth floor rotunda, but having it for an entire week. Until that point, it sounded like a battle was brewing with the Legislature and the state Capitol Commission on one side, and Otter and his Administration chief, Mike Gwartney, on the other, with Gwartney citing one state law and saying he can overrule everyone else on what happens in the Capitol, and lawmakers and the Capitol Commission citing other laws and strongly disagreeing. The new exhibit rule already has been communicated to other groups that come to the Capitol with displays each year, from a watercolor society to state universities to a home-educators’ “Pie Day” event, and they’ve all accepted it.

“My feeling is that it’s hard to make one exception,” said House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston. Said Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, “We just got done spending $120 million of the public’s money on trying to maintain that building.” Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, said, “We can’t let that building fall into disrepair. … We have to protect and preserve and honor the investment that has been made.”

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About this blog

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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