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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2005


All in good fun

Remember that mine-tailings bill that went down amid consternation over the prospect of dredging the Coeur d’Alene basin? Its sponsor, Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, still is lamenting the death of the bill in the Senate, after it had passed the House, as a low…

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They're into 'bondage'

During the heated debate on the GARVEE bill in the House, Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said, “They don’t call ‘em bonds for nothing. Bonds is just short for bondage.”Other opponents picked up on that theme, and criticized the “bondage” Idaho’s moving into. “This scares the…

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Senate passes two water bills

The Senate has passed the first two water bills – HB 373, allowing bonding by the Idaho Department of Water Resources, and HB 374, expanding the role of water districts and providing for fees – on overwhelming votes, and taken a lunch break until 1.…

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We're rhymin' along

This one needs a bit of set-up, unfortunately, if you didn’t pay close attention to the House debate this week on the cigarette tax. It happened on Monday, just as tobacco-growing North Carolina was poised to play that night for the NCAA championship. Rep. Jim…

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Lawmakers laud 'Dynamite' movie

A resolution honoring the two Idahoans who made the hit film “Napoleon Dynamite,” which is set in Preston, Idaho and features lots of local not-quite-profane expressions, brought much merriment to the House this morning.Amid the jokes, a House member insisted on a roll-call vote on…

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Amendments go on quickly

The House has made quick work of slapping on the compromise amendments to the governor’s highway bonding bill. Now, all that remains is the final debate and passage of the bill in the House – which still could be interesting.With all due apologies, here’s a…

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Unanimous vote for road bill

The House Transportation Committee just voted unanimously to send the full House the governor’s highway bill, with compromise amendments attached. “I know the angst and I know the tension that was in the negotiations,” said Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, who had been one of the…

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They'll starve 'em out

There was laughter in the House when Majority Leader Lawerence Denney made this announcement: “Since tomorrow starts the first day of our new diet, there will not be any food in the House lounge.” The House then honored its chef and assistant with a standing…

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They're getting closer

Things are changing minute by minute, but at this point, though they’re getting closer, there doesn’t yet appear to be a deal between the governor and the House Transportation Committee on the governor’s highway legislation.“I think we’re at 7-7 as far as a committee,” said…

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Standoff continues

Although the governor’s chief of staff, Brian Whitlock, says “people are talking” and “we remain optimistic,” the 85th day of this year’s legislative session has ended without any deal to break the gridlock that’s keeping lawmakers here long beyond their expected adjournment. The governor has…

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Here's an odd one

The negotiating room was packed a few minutes ago for the start of the 2 p.m. negotiating session between the House and the governor on highway legislation, but nothing had started. The reason?Right outside the room, at a table in the capitol’s snack bar area,…

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The negotiations are on

There were 11 House members absent in that last vote, concurring on the cigarette tax amendments. House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, just explained that: “Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for members of the body that are down on the first floor negotiating the…

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Harsh words bring April flowers

I have to credit snoopy Dan Popkey for this one. The Idaho Statesman political columnist spotted Rep. Bob Schaefer, R-Nampa, leaving the House chamber with this lovely spring bouquet of flowers - the same day that Schaefer was quoted on the front page of the…

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Reports of death premature

Despite the earlier announcement in the Idaho Senate, Pope John Paul had not died at that point – there were just some news reports that jumped the gun. As of this afternoon, the Vatican reported that the 84-year-old pontiff was “near death.”

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Cigarette tax bill moves forward

The Senate has just concurred unanimously in the conference committee’s recommendations on the cigarette tax, with no debate. But in the House, a unanimous consent request drew objections, so that was followed by a motion and some debate. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, who cast…

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Back behind closed doors

The majority of the Senate has retreated behind closed doors for a Republican caucus. Asked the topic, Senate GOP Caucus Chairman Brad Little said, “About being good boys and girls – civility.” But it’s a good bet that more than politeness will come up, as…

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Back to work

The conference committee on the cigarette tax bill went back to work this morning, and settled on a compromise acceptable to both the House and Senate, which was then approved on a series of 5-1 votes. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, cast the only dissenting…

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Not such an emergency after all

The lawyers have determined that a minor error in the legislation approving the Nez Perce water rights agreement does need to be corrected, but it didn’t need to be corrected before midnight tonight. That’s the deadline for all parties to approve the agreement – and…

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He's 'not very happy' with boost

The conference committee has agreed unanimously to split the difference, and give tobacco wholesalers a roughly $300,000-a-year windfall at state expense, rather than the $800,000 to $1 million they wanted or the $500,000 or so the Senate agreed to give them.“I think that they want…

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Capitol in turmoil

The whole state capitol is in turmoil, with lobbyists, agencies and legislators scrambling to see if their bills have been vetoed, House and Senate members pointing fingers at each other, and everyone who thought they were about to go home going nuts instead. To top…

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VETOED - times eight!

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne just slammed his big, red VETO stamp down on eight House bills – that’s eight – and declared, “Every House bill that comes down here is veto fodder.”The governor’s angry that a House committee sidetracked his $1.6 billion statewide highway construction proposal…

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Senators seek payoff to tobacco sellers

Incredibly, when the amendments to the cigarette tax bill came out in the Senate today, they included raising the percentage payout to tobacco wholesalers. A lobbyist for the wholesalers, Jerry Deckard, had made a pitch unsuccessfully to raise their take from 2.61 percent of the…

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The ugly ties are out

There’s a tradition among Statehouse reporters, started by the famed Bob Fick, formerly of the Associated Press, that when the legislative session has dragged on long enough, reporters start wearing hideously ugly ties, in an effort to prompt lawmakers to wrap it up – so…

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Ah, the politics

The Senate Local Government & Tax Committee voted this morning to amend the bill extending Idaho’s cigarette tax rate of 57 cents a pack for two more years. Without the bill, the rate would drop back down to 28 cents a pack.Senators want to consider…

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O, what a scene of foolery

The Idaho Legislature has adjourned on April Fools Day twice before – on April 1, 1994, closing an 82-day session, and on April 1, 1987, ending an 80-day session.But Boise State University political scientist Jim Weatherby points out that lawmakers appear to have intentionally avoided…

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Eye On Boise

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