In brief: Otter signs into Idaho law campus gun bill
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday signed into law legislation to allow guns on Idaho public college and university campuses, over the objections of the colleges.
Under the new law, which takes effect July 1, retired law enforcement officers or anyone with Idaho’s new enhanced concealed weapons permit could bring firearms onto Idaho campuses, where they’re now banned.
Otter said he backed the bill on Second Amendment grounds. Though pushed to veto the National Rifle Association-backed bill in recent days by the mothers of shooting victims in college mass shootings across the nation, and by Idaho student leaders, he said he concluded that Second Amendment rights have some exceptions, but “this is not the circumstance to carve out another.” All eight of Idaho’s public college and university presidents strenuously opposed the bill, as did the state Board of Education.
Bill blocks tax breaks to marijuana growers
OLYMPIA – Legal marijuana growers in Washington will not get any of the tax breaks other farmers get, under a bill passed Wednesday by the Legislature.
The House gave final passage to a bill that makes marijuana farming different from any other agricultural product, and not eligible for various exemptions or credits for business and occupation, sales or utility taxes.
Thousands of would-be pot growers have applied for licenses, and the Liquor Control Board began issuing licenses last week. They’ll have to make their new operations work without the kind of tax help the state gives many other new industries.
House Finance Committee Chairman Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said other agricultural producers get help to keep them competitive with farmers in other states, which also offer tax breaks. But marijuana farmers won’t have that kind of competition, because growing marijuana remains illegal in most other states, he said.
Troupis will run for Idaho AG office
BOISE – Attorney Christ Troupis, who represented the Idaho Republican Party in its successful lawsuit against the state to close the GOP primary, announced Wednesday that he’s running for Idaho attorney general.
Troupis said he’ll go by C.T. “Chris” Troupis for the campaign, dropping the “t” at the end of the name to avoid distracting voters.
“I don’t want the election to be about my name,” Troupis said.
His first name has always been pronounced “Chris,” he said, and it’s a shortened version of his Greek father’s name, Christos.
Troupis is challenging GOP Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in the primary. Wasden, the state’s longest-serving attorney general, was unopposed four years ago and won his second term with 62 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Bob Wallace in 2006.
“I believe the time is right to ensure that Idahoans have a meaningful choice in this year’s election,” Troupis told about 40 supporters on the state Capitol steps Wednesday.
CdA group will study city workers’ wages
The mayor of Coeur d’Alene has formed a group to study how well city employees are compensated.
Honoring a campaign promise, Steve Widmyer created an internal wage study committee to examine wages and benefits for 350 employees.
“I think it’s important we take a comprehensive look internally at how our employees’ wages compare with public employees across the region,” Widmyer said Wednesday. “It’s important to our employees – and taxpayers – that we are offering salaries and benefits that are in line with what other public employees are receiving.”
The ad-hoc committee includes the mayor, city administrator, finance director, human resources director, city attorney, two City Council members and representatives from the three city employee unions.
The study is expected to take up to three months and will be turned over to the City Council.