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Rep. McMillan votes to kill popular Youth Challenge program in her own district, but it survives

Idaho Rep. Shannon McMillan was one of 17 lawmakers who voted to kill the National Guard Youth Challenge Academy Friday, even though it's in her own legislative district, reports Bill Spence of the Lewiston Tribune. The academy in Clearwater County, in the old Pierce school, helps Idaho high school dropouts get their lives back on track; it currently provides 45 full-time jobs in a community of about 500 people, with an annual budget of $3.2 million.

McMillan said she opposed the bill because the Youth Challenge was initially supposed to be funded entirely with private donations and federal matching dollars. “It's supposed to be funded with private money, and now it gets money from (the state),” she said after the vote. However, McMillan voted in favor of the 2012 bill that allows the academy to tap into the state public school dollars, based on its annual enrollment levels. When asked why she now opposes state funding for the school, McMillan shrugged her shoulders and told Spence she'd have to think about that.

The academy received $2.4 million in federal dollars this year, along with about $800,000 in state school funding, as well as some private donations. The bill, HB 52, to remove a “sunset clause,” or expiration on the legislation authorizing the academy, passed the House 46-17 on Friday and now heads to the Senate.

Clearwater County Commissioner Don Ebert told Spence he didn't know how the program could be any more successful. “Seventeen people voted against it?” he asked. “Wow. I can't understand what's going through anyone's head who would vote against it. The benefits are pretty evident.” You can read Spence’s full report here at his “Political Theater” blog.

McMillan files finance report; other candidates report campaign debts

At 1 minute to 5 p.m. today Boise time, the Idaho Secretary of State’s office reported that Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, had filed her campaign finance report; up to that point, she was the only incumbent lawmaker who hadn’t filed. The deadline was Dec. 6. By getting the report in now, she avoids possible $50-a-day fines.

In other news from North Idaho lawmakers’ and candidates’ latest finance reports, the candidate who ended the election cycle with the biggest campaign debt in North Idaho is new Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, who reported $21,000 in campaign debt to herself at the close of the reporting period. Stevenson defeated Democrat Pete Gertonson with 54.2 percent of the vote. In second place for campaign debt was independent Jon Cantamessa, with $14,786, whose challenge to Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, fell short; she won with 64 percent of the vote.

The third-highest campaign debt reported in North Idaho, in districts 1 through 7, belongs to new Rep. Ed Morse, though the $10,000 debt is a holdover from his hard-fought primary race, in which he defeated then-Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol.  GOP candidate Ken DeVries, who failed to unseat Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, reported $6,119 in campaign debt; Democratic challenger Anne Nesse, who failed to unseat Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, reported $5,559 in debt.

North Idaho lawmaker misses campaign finance deadline, could be fined…

Second-term Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, hasn’t filed the required post-election campaign finance report, the only North Idaho legislative incumbent or candidate to miss the filing deadline. The reports were due the 6thof December – today’s the 12th. Candidates can meet the deadline by having that postmark, so the Secretary of State’s office is just gearing up now to go after those who haven’t filed; notices will go out tomorrow. In addition to McMillan, six unsuccessful legislative candidates around the state missed the deadline; she was the only incumbent.

The tardy candidates will get a warning that if they don’t get their reports in within five days, they could be fined – and the fines are $50 per day for every day that it’s late.

Meanwhile, the final round of campaign finance reports for North Idaho lawmakers and candidates don’t contain a ton of news, but they do show that K12 Management Inc. of Herndon, Va., the for-profit online education company, gave last-minute donations to five lawmakers in Districts 1 through 7, with new Sen. Bob Nonini’s $500 donation reported as arriving on Nov. 6 – Election Day. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, got a similar donation on Oct. 17, while Sen. Steve Vick R-Dalton Gardens, reported getting his $250 from the firm on Nov. 13, a week after the election, as did Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins. Rep. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, reported receiving hers on Oct. 24.

Jack Buell, a Democratic Benewah County commissioner since 1974, made a last-minute campaign donation to Republican legislative candidate Cindy Agidius, a donation Agidius reported receiving on Election Day. She defeated Democrat Paulette Jordan by 123 votes.

Funniest billing address: New Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, a 30-year-old who is one of the few candidates who reported online advertising on Facebook as part of his campaign, reported that his payments for that went off to the firm at “1 Hacker Way,” in Menlo Park, Calif. And that is, in fact, Facebook’s address. The L.A. Times earlier this year called it “Silicon Valley’s premier vanity address,” in a place where Apple Inc. is located at “1 Infinite Loop” and Genentech Inc. is at “1 DNA Way.”

Rammell moving to Wyoming, says he’s ‘given up’ on politics in Idaho

The Lewiston Tribune reports today that former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, who lost a bid for the state House in May's GOP primary, is planning to move to Torrington, Wyo. next week and take a veterinary job at the Torrington Livestock Auction. Rammell told Trib reporter Kathy Hedberg that in the future, "If I do anything with politics it won't be in Idaho. I've kind of given up on Idaho, to be right honest with you."

Rammell challenged Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, for a House seat in the new District 7, which includes Idaho County, where he moved after the county backed him for governor in his primary run in 2010. But Rammell got just 30.3 percent of the vote in a three-way primary contest last month, with Ed Galloway at 21.9 percent and McMillan winning with 47.8 percent.

Rammell is a former elk rancher who entered politics after he vociferously objected, and unsuccessfully sued, when then-Gov. Jim Risch ordered Rammell's escaped domestic elk shot in 2005 to avoid spreading disease to Idaho's wild herds. He was known for campaigning around the state in a giant decorated RV, and adopting a large inflatable T-Rex dinosaur as a campaign mascot. Rammell told the Tribune that he's recently cleared up his legal problems stemming from a poaching charge.

Sho-Con: Rammell Over McMillan? No

Sho-Con: Yes, Rammell polled well in Idaho and Bonner Counties when he ran for Governor, but they weren’t voting FOR him, so much as they were voting AGAINST Otter. Also, that was BEFORE his two arrests, and his bizarre “sovereign citizen” line that he used in open court. Unless you’re banking on them setting up a polling place at the State mental hospital in Orofino? Look at what he’s posting on @FakeRexRammell on Twitter (yes, it says “fake” in the name, but I’ve heard that’s really him) for an idea of how he’s gone completely bonkers … Bonner, Idaho, and Clearwater counties have a right-wing constituency, especially in the GOP, but they haven’t gone THAT far off the deep end.

Question: Can controversial Rex Rammell beat incumbent Rep. Shannon McMillan in the new far-flung House District 7?

Extra! Rammell To Challenge McMillan

If the far-flung new Legislative District 7 wasn't enough to scare off state Rep. Shannon McMillan, this might. Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter just tweeted: "Rex Rammell has filed to challenge Rep. Shannon McMillan in the Republican primary!" I wouldn't wish a race against Rex Rammell on anyone.

Richert: From Idaho To DC Without ♥

When you get past the lofty parliamentary title, “joint memorials” are nothing more than legislative e-mails to Congress. They are nonbinding. They carry no weight, but they give lawmakers a forum for carping about the federal gummint — something they might otherwise be reduced to doing around a Statehouse water cooler. But they do send a message, all right. Sometimes, the message is that our Legislature is populated with yahoos with a tad too much time on their hands. A case in point: on Monday, Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, trotted out House Joint Memorial 9, which would tell the Environmental Protection Agency to pull out of the Silver Valley within five years/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Should we treat "joint memorials" the same way we do bomb threats? Don't report 'em?

Silver Valley Bill Wants EPA Evicted

The House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee has voted to introduce Rep. Shannon McMillan's non-binding memorial calling for the EPA to pull out of the Silver Valley and halt its Superfund cleanup there within five years, with two “no” votes, one abstention and some concerns about whether the state can do what the resolution says. In addition to sending a message to Congress and the EPA, the memorial declares that the Idaho Legislature “vehemently opposes and rejects the ROD (Record of Decision) amendment proposed by the EPA, and hereby demands that our local, state and federal elected officials do all in their power in order to ensure that the EPA … end its presence in Shoshone County and rescind the Superfund designation within the next five years”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is there value in passing a nonbinding resolution, other than it makes its author and maybe other legislators feel as thought they're taking a stand on something?

McMillan Leads Conservative NI Ranks

Believe it or not, only one North Idaho representative received 100 percent marks from conservative Adam Graham for votes during the wild 2011 Idaho Legislature — Shannon McMillan, the freshman legislator from House District 2. Graham scored Idaho legislators on 16 different votes. Uberconservatives Phil Hart of District 3 and Dick Harwood of District 2 were docked for voting incorrectly, in Graham's estimation, for voting against advertising on school buses — and received a 94% grade as a result. Another uberconservative Vito Barbieri of District 3 missed a perfect score by voting for GARVEE bonding, against Graham's wishes. 4 North Idaho solons scored 94s — Harwood, Barbieri, Bob Nonini, and Frank Henderson, while Hart scored a 93. Rep. George Eskridge scored lowest with a 56%. Everyone else was at 81 percent or better. Adam Graham's conservative scores here.

Question: Were you surprised by the scores?

McMillan: Let Them Eat Cake

Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, debating against HB 109 on extended unemployment benefits, said, “My problem isn’t with the hand out or the hand up. My problem is with the length of time. … How long are we going to extend it out? It’s kind of like a diseased limb now, we’re dragging it out and dragging it out. Isn’t perhaps the cleaner cut, the more merciful cut, instead of keep dragging it on? Because it doesn’t sound like there’s ever going to be an end to it. … I understand there’s people on the verge of losing their house and things. But we have to stop it sometime. … When is it ever going to end?” (via Eye On Boise)

Question: In the comments section, Phaedrus labels the comment above by Rep. McMillan as "the definition of heartless." Do you agree/disagree?

Poll: McMillan Wrong About EPA

  • Monday Poll: 70 of 119 respondents (58.8%) disagree with state Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, who said health concerns have been addressed in the Silver Valley and there's no longer a need for Superfund efforts by the EPA. 44 of 119 (37%) agreed with Rep. McMillan that the EPA should get lost. Five respondents were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Would Superintendent Tom Luna have been re-elected, if he'd run touting his education reform plan?

Silver Valley Rep: EPA’s Work Done

New state Rep. Shannon McMillan (pictured), R-Silverton, introduced her first bill last week, but it’s actually from her son, Wallace attorney James McMillan. She told the House State Affairs Committee, “I would like to yield my time to my son to explain this further,” to which Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, responded, “I think that would be appropriate.” It’s a nonbinding memorial to Congress demanding that the EPA be removed from Shoshone County, along with its Superfund designation, within five years. He said the EPA’s proposed multiyear cleanup plan “would have a devastating effect upon our mining industry.” James McMillan said human health concerns in the Bunker Hill cleanup already have been addressed. “Now they say that their focus is fish and wildlife,” he told the committee. “They keep changing the focus. … We need to tell them that this needs to stop”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the EPA's work is done in the Silver Valley?

Rep Wants EPA Out Of Silver Valley

New Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, introduced her first bill today, but it’s actually from her son, Wallace attorney James McMillan. She told the House State Affairs Committee, “I would like to yield my time to my son to explain this further,” to which chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, responded, “I think that would be appropriate.” It’s a non-binding memorial to Congress demanding that the EPA be removed from Shoshone County, along with its Superfund designation, within five years. “I’m actually the ultimate author of this resolution and I am here on behalf of Rep. Shannon McMillan,” James McMillan told the committee. He said the EPA’s proposed multi-year cleanup plan “would have a devastating effect upon our mining industry”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think the EPA should get out of the Silver Valley?

2 Harwoods Represent D-2 For Now

The Idaho Legislature has a new power couple — Dick and Carole Harwood (pictured). Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, is a sixth-term District 2 representative. Now his wife Carole is in the House chamber too, filling in for newly elected Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Kellogg, whose husband is ill. “Maybe we set a record,” Carole Harwood said with a smile - spouses serving in the House representing the same district. She said McMillan just called her to ask her to sub yesterday. “As I was leaving the house, I got a call,” Carole Harwood said. “I'm available as long as she needs me”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Is there room enough in the Idaho Legislature for two Harwoods, even for a little while?