State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna watches the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set his budget for next year.
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, left, led a move to reject $150,000 in matching funds for Idaho Public Television to qualify for $450,000 in federal grants to preserve TV reception to six Idaho communities that otherwise will lose over-the-air signals in the digital changeover. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, right, was among those supporting the funding, but it failed on a 13-7 vote Monday.
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, joined Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, on Monday to propose zero-funding the Idaho Women's Commission and eliminating the agency's operations from the state budget.
Members of the Idaho Women's Commission plan for their last meeting, after the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee eliminated their funding on Monday. From left are director Kitty Kunz, and commissioners Dawn Shepherd of Riggins, Sonna Lynn Fernandez of Nampa, and Fran Dingel of boise.
Kevin Settles, owner of Bardenay, testifies to the Senate State Affairs Committee in favor of reforming Idaho's liquor license system, as proposed by Gov. Butch Otter. Idaho's current system, he said, is "a horrible way to do business."
Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, urges the Senate Resources Committee to support HB 213, his bill to require boat owners who launch in Idaho to buy special stickers to help fund the fight against invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The bill cleared the committee Monday afternoon on a 7-1 vote, and headed to the full Senate.
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, told the House on Monday that the United States is really a "confederacy." He was arguing in favor of his non-binding memorial, HJM 4, declaring the state's sovereignty from the federal government.
Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, proposed hold-the-line budgets for the state Department of Corrections for next year. The budgets, which shift funds around to cover the cost of opening a new Correctional Alternative Placement facility in May of 2010, won unanimous support from the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the corrections budget on Tuesday morning, and plans to set budgets for Health & Welfare and Transportation in the next two days, to arrive at the biggest budget - public schools - by Friday.
House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges the House Education Committee to back his bill freezing the teacher salary grid for a year and phasing out an early retirement incentive. The committee voted 10-6 on Tuesday to pass the bill and send it to the full House; it's one of three bills Nonini is sponsoring to suspend or change state laws to allow school budget cuts.
The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of SCR 109, the measure to allow the state agriculture director to use deficiency warrants, if needed, to fund emergency measures to fight invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The warrants allow spending right away, and the state must pay the bills.
Reps. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, center, and George Eskridge, R-Dover, right, mull budgets in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday morning.
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, developed a compromise proposal on GARVEE bonding for big highway projects, midway between Rep. Frank Henderson's $50 million proposal and Sen. Shawn Keough's $125 million plan, which matches the governor's original proposal. Hammond set his figure at $82 million.
House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, talks on the phone while the House's chief clerk, Bonnie Alexander, is forced to read an entire bill - at great length - thanks to a parliamentary maneuver by House Democrats, who oppose the bill. The measure, HB 256 sponsored by Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, cuts state reimbursement to school districts for student busing costs.
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, opens debate in the House on his bill to cut state reimbursements to school districts for student busing costs.
Rep. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, speaks out in the House against legislation to cut state funding for school busing.
House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, talks to House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, after Democrats forced the full reading in the House of Nonini's bill to cut school district reimbursements for school busing.
Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, co-sponsored a bare-bones, bipartisan budget plan for Idaho's four-year colleges and universities that cuts 14.7 percent from their state general-fund money for next year, but gives them a 5.8 percent cut in overall funding, thanks in part to plugging in some federal stimulus money that's specifically for restoring funding cuts at colleges and universities.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee had no discussion and no debate on Thursday morning as it set a bare-bones budget for Idaho's community colleges. The colleges will see an 11 percent cut in their state funding next year, but just a 5.4 percent cut overall, thanks to federal stimulus money.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee struggled Thursday to set a balanced budget for the Idaho State Police, and that was without the fund shift the governor is proposing, to shift $3.2 million of ISP's funding for next year into transportation and make the amount up for ISP from the state's general fund. That bill hasn't yet passed either house.
House majority and minority leaders huddle at the speaker's desk to discuss procedural issues, during a brief break in the debate on legislation to cut funding for public school teacher salaries by freezing movement on the salary grid for a year. Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, left, talks to House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, and House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, right.
House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, asks the House on Thursday to pass his bill cutting $8.1 million next year from teacher pay and an early-retirement incentive program for educators.
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, urges the House to support HB 262 to trim teacher pay by freezing movement on the salary schedule and to phase out an early retirement incentive, to save the state $8.1 million next year.
Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, presents the day care licensing bill to the House Health & Welfare Committee on Thursday.
Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, urges the House Health & Welfare Committee to support legislation setting minimum licensing requirements for all Idaho day-care centers, including criminal background checks.
Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, urges support for his legislation requiring licensing of all Idaho day care centers with four or more unrelated children. Despite overwhelmingly positive testimony at a nearly four-hour public hearing, the House Health & Welfare Committee opposed passing the Senate-passed bill as-is, and indefinitely delayed a decision on possible amendments.
Members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee gather in an early-morning workshop meeting to prepare for their biggest day of budget-setting - setting the Medicaid and public schools budgets on Friday morning.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee sets the state's largest budget, the budget for public schools, on Friday morning.
Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, called the cuts lawmaker are making to public schools "painful," as the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved unprecedented cuts to the school budget.
Public school budget cuts are passing on party-line votes in the joint budget committee, with only minority Democrats opposing them. The joint committee has four Democrats and 16 Republicans.
Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, said school budget cuts are necessary in "the climate we're in."
Sen. Dean Mortimer, center, proposed the successful motion in JFAC to trim the budget for school administrators for next year.
Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, a retired teacher, called for limiting cuts to schools.