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Pearce Ethics Complain Dismissed

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, moved to dismiss the ethics charges against Senate Resources Chairman Monty Pearce. “In terms of public perception, he would've been well-served to disclose in committee,” Hammond said. “That would have helped the situation. But what I don't want to do is get us in a situation where when we pass a budget for education, I've got to disclose because my children or my grandchildren go to school in the state of Idaho. Or when we pass the higher education budget, I've got to disclose because my wife is an employee of Lewis-Clark State college. There is a huge disconnect, and that's a huge class of people who benefit from that budget. Do we need to disclose for every one of those? I don't think so"/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


House OKs Texting While Driving Ban

After years of debate, the Idaho House has passed a ban on texting while driving, voting 53-17 in favor of legislation proposed by Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene. The bill, 1274a, now returns to the Senate for concurrence in a House amendment that removed an exemption for law enforcement or emergency vehicles; they said they didn’t want or need the exemption, and Hammond backed the amendment. The Senate passed the original bill Feb. 21 on a 29-6 vote. In January, an 18-year-old Caldwell woman, Taylor Sauer, died in a Idaho freeway crash while texting. Her family offered tearful testimony in favor of the bill in committee hearings in both houses/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Betsy Russell's SR photo: Shauna Sauer addresses the Senate Transportation Committee, accompanied by her husband, Clay, and four surviving children)

Question: Right call?

House Unanimously OKs Texting Ban

Sen. Jim Hammond, in his closing comments on SB 1274, the bill to ban texting while driving, told the House Transportation Committee that he's in full support of a proposed amendment to the bill drafted by committee Vice Chair Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise, to remove a law-enforcement exemption; it's not needed, he said, as the bill is only about use of hand-held electronic devices, and police and emergency workers don't use those to text on the job. “Is it a feel-good law?” Hammond asked. “If we can save the lives of some of our youths, and that feels good, then yeah, I guess this is a feel-good law”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Anyone out there not support a ban on texting while driving?

McGruber: Hammond For NIC Prez

RE: Hammond to apply for NIC president job/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

McGruber: On the face of it, Hammond would be ideal in the role. He’s an educator who spent time in the classroom and as a principal. He’s a former city councilor, former mayor, former city administrator, has been elected three times to the Idaho Senate and served on the Idaho Board of Education. He’s intelligent, thoughtful and respected. Decades in the community will make him effective from Day 1. Yep, I can sure see why people would question his qualifications.

Question: Are you a Hammond fan?

Nonini Eyes Hammond Senate Seat

Shortly after Coeur d'Alene Sen. Jim Hammond announced his plans not to run for re-election on Thursday, Rep. Bob Nonini declared the same day that he will campaign for Hammond's seat instead. "I wanted to get it out there. I've been thinking about it and talking to Sen. Hammond for weeks," said Nonini, who has won four elections and served eight years in the state House. After six years as chair of the House Education Committee, Nonini said, he felt it was time to move forward and let another House member take on that role. "If I'm successful running for Senate, I'll give up my seniority, obviously, but I just think it's the natural progression for me," the Coeur d'Alene Republican said. "I think I could do a good job over there"/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How would you rate Nonini's overall job as a legislator in the state House of Representatives?

Hammond To Apply For NIC Prez Job

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, says the main reason he won't seek a fourth term in the Senate is that he wants to stop spending so much time away from his wife, kids and grandkids. “I'm missing my grandkids' plays and baseball games,” he said. “Five years from now, nobody's going to remember what I did here, but my grandkids will remember that I was there.” Hammond said he plans to apply for the upcoming opening for president at North Idaho College, as well as looking at other options that will keep him closer to home and family. “I have not applied, but I intend to,” he said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Courtesy photo of current NIC president Priscilla Bell)

  • DFO: I was a Hammond fan until he signed on w/Nonini & Goedde to ride the U.S.S. Luna education reforms. Also concerned that he might share anti-Education Corridor sentiment as other Post Falls area legislator, Nonini & Henderson. Seems as though he's been putting partisan politics ahead of education for awhile.

Question: Would Jim Hammond be a good North Idaho College president?

Hammond to apply for NIC president post, stay closer to home, family

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, says the main reason he won't seek a fourth term in the Senate is that he wants to stop spending so much time away from his wife, kids and grandkids. "I'm missing my grandkids' plays and baseball games," he said. "Five years from now, nobody's going to remember what I did here, but my grandkids will remember that I was there."

Hammond said he plans to apply for the upcoming opening for president at North Idaho College, as well as looking at other options that will keep him closer to home and family. "I have not applied, but I intend to," he said. "That's the kind of thing that I love doing - working with the community, working with employees. I find that very rewarding." However, he emphasized, "My decision to leave here is not directly related to that. That's one of the opportunities out there." You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Hammond Won’t Run, Nonini Will

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, has decided not to seek re-election to the Idaho Senate. “I've made that decision,” Hammond confirmed this afternoon. Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, has decided to seek Hammond's Senate seat. Hammond, a third-term senator, is the current chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee; Nonini, who's in his fourth term, is the chairman of the House Education Committee/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Nonini is quoted as saying that he's done some heavy lifting on education reform and that his experience would be valuable in the Senate. Is that the kind of heavy lifting that voters wanted?

Prez: Jim Hammond For NIC Prez

Priscilla Bell will retire as North Idaho College president this summer. Jay Lee, NIC's vice president for instruction and one of the most qualified candidates on hand to replace Bell, has accepted the top job elsewhere. In six weeks, Lee will take the helm at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado. We wish Lee well. His tenure in Coeur d'Alene might have been short, just under four years, but he bolstered NIC's instructional quality during one of the most challenging periods in the college's history, with expansive student growth met head-on by funding challenges. But this editorial is not an ode to a good man going elsewhere. It's an introduction of a good man who has been here all along, who just might be the best person to lead North Idaho College/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Would Jim Hammond be a good pick to replace Priscilla Bell as North Idaho College president?

His name is Jim Hammond. Yes, that Jim Hammond.

Vick Scores 100% Conservative Rate

Steve Vick, the ultraconservative freshman state senator from District 3 was one of four Idaho senators statewide who scored a perfect 100% on Adam Graham's annual conservative scorecard. Vick voted as Adam deemed appropriate on 16 different issues during the Idaho Legislature. John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene and Jim Hammond of Post Falls agreed agreed with Adam 14 of 16 times to score 88% in the annual ratings for North Idaho senators. Bringing up the rear were Shawn Keough of Sandpoint, 63%, and Joyce Broadsword of Sagle, 40%. You can see all the rankings here.

Question: Are you surprised by any of the conservative rankings of the 5 North Idaho senators?

Hammond To Chair Transportation

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene, is the new chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He said he’ll be the first transportation chair from North Idaho in some time. “It’s exciting to have that position and be able to advocate for our roads issues up there,” Hammond said. “We’re the third-largest county in the state. We need to continue to advocate for our needs up there, so it’ll be great to have a platform to do that”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you make of Jim Hammond’s appointment to chair the Senate Transportation Committee?

Senator back on dry ground after eventful cruise experience

Idaho Sen. Jim Hammond is back on dry ground and in the light, after a sojourn on a Carnival cruise ship that drifted powerless for days. Hammond, during a break in this morning’s JFAC hearing, said it was his first cruise in 15 years, and the experience wasn’t what he expected – cold sandwiches, salads and cereal, card- and dice-playing in relative darkness, and only cold water. He and his wife Cyndie joined three other couples on the cruise, and with their full refunds, already are planning to try again. “I don’t think we’d go on the Splendor again,” Hammond said of the ship.

With 3,200 people aboard, “People were really good – nobody panicked,” Hammond said. But there were waits of a couple of hours for a plate of cold food, and Hammond was really glad he’d spent the extra money for an outside cabin with windows and a small balcony – inside cabins were left in total darkness. After the ordeal, the Hammonds spent a night at a hotel in San Diego, and ironically, when they woke up, the power was out. “So once again, I showered and shaved in the dark,” he said with a smile. “At least I had hot water.”

He chuckles about the attention the incident got, considering no one was hurt and worldwide, many live in worse conditions day in and day out. “It was just more of an embarrassment for Carnival,” Hammond said.

Jim & Cyndi Survive Cruise Trip

Just got off the phone with Dr. Cyndie Hammond after she texted me about an hour ago. Seems Cyndie and Senator Jim Hammond have had quite an adventure this week as two of 4,500 passengers stranded aboard the Carnival Splendor. Cyndie tells me that they had about 12 hours of their cruise underway when the ship lost power about 200 miles south of San Diego on the way to the Mexican Rivera on Sunday. She and Jim were in a cab on the way to a hotel about noon when we spoke. The pair seemed giddy with delight to be on dry land, although Cyndie had to laugh about the traffic … “It’s Veterans Day in a military town and we’re stuck in a parade”/Kerri Thoreson, More Main Street. More here.

Question: When did you last take a cruise?

North Idaho Senators Raise Big $$$

The 5 North Idaho incumbent state senators have raised tens of thousands of dollars in their bids to capture the GOP nomination and win re-election:

  • Shawn Keough/District 1 has raised $30,121 total, spent $5242, and has $24,879, in her primary race with Steve Tanner, who reports raising or spending anything. Keough report.
  • Joyce Broadsword/District 2 has raised $25,620 (report here) in her 3-way race w/Dennis Englehardt, who has raised $11,367 (report here) and James Stivers, who has raised $3,766 (report here)
  • Mike Jorgenson/District 3 has loaned himself most of the $25,661 he has for his campaign (report here) with Steve Vick, who has raised a total of $7,596 (report here).
  • John Goedde/District 4 has $12,098 (report here) in his 3-way race w/Independent Jeremy Boggess, who has raised $376 (report here), and Constitutionalist Raymond I. Writz, who has raised $210 (report here).
  • Jim Hammond/District 5 has raised $43,945 total (report here) in his 3-way GOPrimary race against John Green, who has raised $1,500 (report here), and Jack Schroeder, who has raised anything but has spent $2,958 (report here).