April 2, 2006 in Idaho

Gravel mining could aid park

The Spokesman-Review
 

THE WEEK AHEAD

Lawmakers aren’t done yet – this week, fireworks are likely between the House and the Senate as both sides try to find common ground on property tax reform in a session that’s dragged on far beyond expectations. Also still pending are funding for community college expansion, and final votes on highway bonding, milfoil eradication and high school curriculum redesign.

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, the prospective new U.S. secretary of Interior, struck a deal with lawmakers to fund his park improvement initiative in part by starting a gravel-mining project in a state park.

The $26.5 million park funding plan approved by the Legislature’s joint budget committee Wednesday includes $15 million to be raised from gravel mining at Eagle Island State Park west of Boise. Lawmakers and the governor say the gravel would be dug up only if needed to build park improvements at the riverside park.

Not so fast on redesign: The Senate voted 24-11 Thursday to stop a proposed redesign of the state’s high school curriculum – a move that will become final if the House agrees.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 134, sponsored by Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, rejects a high school curriculum redesign rule that the House Education Committee accepted last week. In the end, the strong Senate vote came over the objections of Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene.

Governor breaks out his pen: Legislation to start adjudicating all the water rights in North Idaho was signed into law by Kempthorne last week, along with more than 60 other bills, including one that adds a judge in the North Idaho judicial district.

Other bills signed into law include one which grants sales tax exemptions for fees paid to nonprofit shooting ranges; one which limits the amount of pseudoephedrine that can legally be possessed to 25 grams; and two that increase the civil and criminal penalties for refusing to take a sobriety test when stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Funding the fight: Idaho should spend $4 million next year to eradicate milfoil, a fast-spreading aquatic weed, from lakes and other waterways, legislative budget writers decided Wednesday.

Controlling sex offenders: Registered sex offenders would have to stay away from Idaho schools under a bill the Senate passed unanimously Tuesday.

HB 713 has been amended so it’ll take effect right away, and to make it clear that school districts can adopt more stringent rules of their own.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email