Interim LCSC President Tony Fernandez addresses the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Monday morning. He said the Lewiston college's enrollment has soared 68 percent since 2000, but budget cuts now are taking their toll, in part by making it harder for students to get into the classes they need.
University of Idaho President Duane Nellis gives his budget pitch to lawmakers on Monday. He said for every $1 the state invests in the UI, it gets back $9.
JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell questions University of Idaho President Duane Nellis on Monday. She asked whether the UI could tap its reserves; Nellis said they've "eroded" and that's a concern.
Displays in the 4th floor rotunda of the state Capitol on Monday highlight Boise State University programs, in a week when higher education budgets are up for hearings in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of JFAC, tells University of Idaho President Duane Nellis on Monday that the university is in better position with its reserves than the state as a whole. Bell suggested those reserves might have to be tapped further, though Nellis said they've already been "eroded."
State Parks Director Nancy Merrill, addressing the Senate Resources Committee on Monday, defends her agency's decision to send 32,000 letters to registered North Idaho boaters about the possible closure of the Third Street boat launch in Coeur d'Alene. City officials were concerned about the move and complained to local legislators.
The proposed "Fly Idaho" specialty plate. Sponsors may move the slogan up to the top, and add at the bottom, "Pilot's Paradise." Legislation for the new specialty plate was introduced Monday; it'd be Idahoans' 75th option for special plates, including some that are just for certain groups, such as Medal of Honor winners or members of the Legislature.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee hears the budget request for Idaho Public Television on Tuesday morning, presented by general manager Peter Morrill.
Dr. Arthur Vailas, president of Idaho State University, tells the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that he understands the state is challenged when it comes to funding; the cuts have been felt at ISU, he said.
Business lobbyist Alex LaBeau speaks at a press conference releasing a poll his group says shows public support in Idaho for megaloads on U.S. Highway 12; lawmakers joining him at the press conference and endorsing the megaloads included the House and Senate transportation committee chairs.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little briefs the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday on the findings of the governor's transportation funding task force. Little said the findings included $543 million in road needs, but no way to fund them now. If Idaho can't keep up its road system, he said, it'll have to start abandoning parts of it.
North Idaho College President Priscilla Bell tells legislative budget writers on Wednesday that NIC's enrollment has soared, but state support for the college would drop down to 2001 levels under the governor's proposed budget for 2012, which calls for a further 1.7 percent cut on top of earlier decreases. That forces the college to rely more on local property taxes and student tuition and fees, Bell said.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, right, is among the browsers at University of Idaho displays in the fourth-floor capitol rotunda on Wednesday morning; at center is UI President Duane Nellis.
Members of the House State Affairs Committee convene their meeting on Wednesday morning, with a free copy of the book "Nullification" by Thomas Woods on the desk of each member. When Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, questioned the source of the free book, chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said it was paid for by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, pitches "nullification" legislation to the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Boise State University President Bob Kustra tells legislative budget writers Wednesday that if Idaho keeps increasing the cost of higher education to students and cutting state funding, it will follow a course that eventually will lead to the nation losing its competitive edge.
Idaho Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, shown here in his office in the state Capitol on Wednesday, says he's known discrimination first-hand due to his Samoan ethnicity. He's sponsoring legislation to add sexual orientation to Idaho's anti-discrimination law. "I certainly understand the political climate," he said. "It is still the right thing to do."
People line up to sign up to testify on Health & Welfare funding, before a public hearing on Friday morning. It's the second-ever public hearing held by the Legislature's joint budget committee; the first was last Friday on school funding.
The crowd waiting to testify at Friday mornings public hearing on Health & Welfare funding includes several people in wheelchairs. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, told the overflow crowd, "Our goal is to hear from as many of you as possible."
Greg Renshaw, a quadraplegic for 20 years due to an auto accident, pleads with lawmakers not to cut home-care services and force him into a nursing home. "Bottom line is quality of life - let me keep mine," he said.
Elizabeth Reedy, a 14-year-old with autism, tells lawmakers she wants to go to junior high, grow up and have a job. Her mom then testified that the youngster can do that - live independently when she grows up - but only with help." A person like Elizabeth who is high-functioning can become a taxpayer or a tax consumer," Phoebe Smith told JFAC. "Please choose to fund developmental disability services for both children and adults."
Tonia Stevens of Nampa, accompanied by son Ricky, testifies to lawmakers against cutting funding for services like those Ricky receives.
Katherine Hansen delivers 13,470 petitions to lawmakers from Idahoans who want the state to consider a tax increase rather than cutting home and community-based services for people with disabilities.
Lawmakers listen as Shiloh Blackburn of Rexburg testifies at Friday's hearing on Health & Welfare funding; in her wheelchair, she's partially hidden behind the podium.
Denise Wetzel of Coeur d'Alene testifies about the value of developmental therapy services her 10-year-old son receives, and how they couldn't be provided by a volunteer. She was one of hundreds who attended a public hearing Friday on Health & Welfare funding.
Samuel Page of Homedale testifies at a public hearing on Friday; with him is his son, Jonathan, who was disabled after a near-drowning accident when he was 15. Page told lawmakers, "I'd just like for you to consider, and you have, all the Jonathans that can't speak for themself."
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, reflects after hearing heart-wrenching testimony Friday morning about the impact of cuts to state services to the disabled.
Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, and Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chairs of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, talk with reporters after their four-hour hearing Friday on health and welfare spending. Cameron said it's "extremely painful" to consider cuts in programs for the disabled.
Hundreds of people attended the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee special hearing on Medicaid cuts Friday Jan. 28, 2011at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise. The committee heard testimony from service providers, recipients and care givers of health and welfare programs that would be affected by any measures to reduce funding to Idaho's Medicaid system.