February 24, 2007 in Idaho

Elk ranching bill approved by Senate

The Spokesman-Review
 

The Senate agreed Friday to an industry-backed bill to license the state’s elk ranches.

Senators voted 24-9 in favor of SB 1074, which creates a $200 license fee and gives the state Department of Agriculture power to shut down ranches that do not meet regulations.

Sponsor Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, acknowledged that the bill does not restrict raising and hunting captive elk as much as some hunters and conservationists wanted, but he called the legislation “prudent and reasonable.”

But Sen. David Langhorst, D-Boise, who had proposed a bill to ban shooter-bull operations, said the Legislature is “squandering” an opportunity to protect the hunting ethic of “fair chase.” People revere elk because it takes work to hunt them in the wild, he said.

“That’s why you don’t see people hanging livestock heads on their living-room walls,” he said.

North Idaho Sens. Michael Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, Joyce Broadsword, R-Cocolalla, and Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, voted for the bill. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, was one of two Republicans who opposed it.

The bill now goes to the House for approval.

Parker Howell

House approves minimum wage bill

The Idaho House voted 47-19 Friday in favor of a Republican bill to tie Idaho’s state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage.

Idaho’s state minimum wage already matches the federal minimum. It also allows a “tip credit” to allow tipped workers to be paid less than the minimum; the bill, HB 184, allows that to continue. The measure ties Idaho’s state minimum to the federal minimum in the future, which means if Congress raises the federal minimum wage, Idaho’s would automatically rise as well.

“This would be probably the last time we would have to deal with a minimum wage bill,” said Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, the bill’s lead sponsor.

Democrats strongly objected to the bill, which was offered in place of their proposal to raise Idaho’s minimum wage and index it to inflation in the future. “This cements Idaho’s minimum wage to the absolute bottom,” said Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart, D-Boise.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Betsy Z. Russell

Coeur d’Alene

Free lead screening set for today

The public is invited to bring children’s plastic toys, jewelry and household items to the Harding Family Center in Coeur d’Alene today for free lead content screening.

A lead risk assessor with Thermo Scientific NITON Analyzer will use an X-ray fluorescence spectrum analyzer to detect and measure lead content of items, including plastics, metals and paint in children’s toys and jewelry. Screenings also will be provided for soil samples from gardens and play areas; samples should not be larger than a quarter cup of soil, in a zippered plastic bag.

Toys and jewelry can contain dangerous and even deadly amounts of lead, a neurological toxin. It can cause neurological disorders, attention deficit and learning disabilities, and lower IQs in exposed children. Mine waste and certain consumer products such as dishes and pottery can contain high lead contents.

The screening, arranged by Clear Corps Idaho, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is at 411 N. 15th St.

– From staff reports


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