Mark Warbis, aide to Gov. Butch Otter, pitches the governor's "Hire One Act" to provide a tax credit for new jobs, in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee on Monday morning. The panel unanimously endorsed the bill and sent it to the full House; an earlier version, proposed by the Idaho Chamber Alliance, passed the House but died in a Senate committee.
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, introduces a new version of his health-care nullification bill in the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday; Barbieri described it as his "last gasp" attempt, after his earlier bill passed the House but was killed decisively in a Senate committee amid concerns about its constitutionality.
The Idaho House reconvenes on Monday afternoon to suspend rules and begin taking up budget bills from its 2nd Reading Calendar, a move House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said was needed if the Legislature is to wrap up its session within the next two weeks.
Members of the Idaho House during their afternoon session on Monday, during which there was extended debate over GARVEE bonding, a proposal to finish a multi-year highway bonding plan that includes work on Highway 95 in North Idaho.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning sets a budget for the state Tax Commission that adds auditors - to bring in $19 million more in already-owed state taxes. The move puts JFAC $13 million ahead of its target for next year's budget, money that many lawmakers want to funnel to public schools to ease cuts there.
Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said Tuesday morning that he'll argue that the $13 million the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has saved beyond its budget targets for next year is enough to fund state schools Supt. Tom Luna's technology request for next year - without shifting the money out of teacher salary funds, as Luna proposes in his newest school reform bill, SB 1184.
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, pitches his "Office of Legislative Counsel" legislation to the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday; it would set up a two-lawyer office to provide legal advice to lawmakers, sidestepping the Attorney General's office and cutting that office's budget to fund the new office.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo addresses the Idaho Senate on Tuesday; he also spoke to the House. Crapo's message: The nation faces a fiscal crisis unless it makes big changes, including big spending cuts and tax increases, like those recommended by a bipartisan fiscal commission on which Crapo served.
Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, asks the House Resources & Conservation Committee on Monday to send his wolf bill, HB 274, to the House's amending order, after admitting the measure "probably needs to be worked on some more." The bill, HB 274, would prohibit state or local government employees from assisting "in any way" with wolf management or enforcement.
The Idaho Indian Affairs Council meets in the state Capitol on Monday; Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he's heard nothing further about a controversial proposal to tax reservation cigarette tax sales, and said at this point, no news is good news.
Roger Brown, aide to Gov. Butch Otter, presents the new version of school reform legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, argues in favor of SB 1184, the school reform bill, on Tuesday afternoon, saying schools need to have technology to stay current, even in tough times.
The Senate Education Committee debates SB 1184, the new school reform bill, on Tuesday afternoon; the panel passed the bill on a 6-3 vote.
Idaho state schools Supt. Tom Luna talks with reporters after his latest school reform bill, SB 1184, passed the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday on a 6-3 vote. "We have accomplished comprehensive reform," he said.
Idaho state schools Supt. Tom Luna, center, confers with his chief of staff, Luci Willits, before the Senate Education Committee takes up his final school reform bill on Tuesday; at left is Luna aide Jason Hancock, who drafted the bill.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little addresses the Idaho Press Club on Wednesday; he said the new closed-primary election bill that's in the works isn't as bad as he feared as far as limiting voter participation. The bill is likely to come out late this week or early next week, he said.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little speaks to the Idaho Press Club on Wednesday; he said passing the budget and addressing the primary election system are must-do's for the Legislature before it adjourns, likely in a week or two.
Gov. Butch Otter answers questions from reporters after a bill-signing ceremony in his office on Wednesday; Otter said he's hopeful the new school reform bill, SB 1184, will pass the Senate.
Senators begin to filter into the Senate chamber of Thursday for the big school-reform debate, but they're running a few minutes late.
Jeannine Wood, secretary of the Senate, reads the 24-page school reform bill, SB 1184, on Thursday, after Democrats force full reading of the bill.
Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, opens debate on SB 1184, the third school reform bill, in the Senate on Thursday.
Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, debates in favor of SB 1184, the school reform bill, in the Senate on Thursday. He said he scrapped his prepared remarks, and instead spoke out for funding school technology.
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, debates against SB 1184, the school reform bill, in the Senate on Thursday. She asked, "If teachers are laid off to buy laptops, which is what this bill does, who will be in the classroom with them?"
Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, tells the Senate the education reform debate has "been hard." He said, "We've been belittled. We've received some of the most gross emails you can imagine." He said he favors the bill, SB 1184.
Joel Teuber of the Fraternal Order of Police answers questions from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday after testifying in favor of HB 222, the bill to permit guns on Idaho's state college campuses.
Members of the Senate State Affairs Committee listen to testimony on HB 222 on Friday morning, the bill to permit guns on campus at Idaho colleges and universities. The bill earlier passed the House.