Keith Allred, a former Harvard professor who heads the Idaho good-government group The Common Interest, proposes legislation to raise Idaho's beer and wine taxes to fund substance abuse treatment. The taxes haven't been raised in more than 40 years, and are imposed by volume, not price. The House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted 10-8 to introduce the bill.
Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, presents day-care licensing legislation to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee on the final day for bill introductions in non-privileged committees in the Legislature. The small meeting room was packed, with a whopping 12 bills up for introduction before the deadline. The panel voted unanimously to introduce the day-care bill, which sets minimum standards including criminal background checks for day-care operators statewide. Such legislation has been proposed and killed every year for at least the last five years.
State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna tries to convince other members of the state Land Board that if there's a shortfall for public schools next year, additional money should be taken from the state endowment fund. But Luna said he's withdrawing his request for now, because federal economic stimulus money will mean Idaho won't have to cut schools next year.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo addresses the Idaho Senate on Tuesday. He told lawmakers to be "very careful" with federal stimulus dollars.
Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, asks the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, to reject stiffer new wastewater regulations for septic systems in Idaho. She succeeded: Senators voted 27-7 against the new regulations.
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, addresses the Idaho Senate, and slaps his hand on an 1,100-page stack of papers - the stimulus bill. Risch opposed the measure.
Avista Corp. lobbyist Neil Colwell, left, asks the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee to introduce legislation allowing the power company to cut struggling low-income customers a break, then seek rate adjustments from the Public Utilities Commission to cover the costs. The firm already does that in Washington and Oregon, but Idaho's laws against rate discrimination don't currently allow it.
Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, asks the Idaho Senate to support a measure allowing charitable bingo to continue at the Coeur d'Alene Greyhound Park in Post Falls. It passed with just one 'no' vote.
Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, proposed legislation Thursday to ban repeat drunken drivers from purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol.
Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, asks a Senate committee to introduce her bill to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act's anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation. Despite her heartfelt plea, the committee voted 4-2 against a motion to introduce the bill.
Activists gather outside the Capitol Annex on Friday to urge lawmakers and the governor to use federal economic stimulus funds to avoid state budget cuts. Meanwhile, both the Legislature and the governor are preparing for a week or more of study before deciding how to approach use of the stimulus money.