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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 2007

MONDAY, FEB. 12, 2007

Panel unanimously rejects Harwood church bill

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, proposed legislation this morning in the House State Affairs Committee to exempt churches from workers compensation laws, but the committee voted unanimously to return the bill to Harwood for more work. Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, an attorney who handles workers…

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Waiting for the big bills as budget deadlines loom…

Legislative budget writers are struggling with how they’re going to budget for a newly split-apart Commerce and Labor department – when the Otter Administration hasn’t even yet presented legislation to split the department into two agencies. House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told Otter’s budget…

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‘We have a Bonner and Boundary county…’

State Commerce & Labor Director Roger Madsen told legislative budget writers this morning that rural broadband grants from the state of $4.9 million, matched dollar for dollar by industry, expanded service to 79 Idaho communities in the past year, with nearly 50,000 potential new customers.…

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SATURDAY, FEB. 10, 2007

FRIDAY, FEB. 9, 2007

THURSDAY, FEB. 8, 2007

'Axles 101'

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, conducted a little class for his fellow members of the Senate Transportation Committee just now entitled “Axles 101,” complete with some huge props – giant trucks parked in front of the state capitol, and glossy posters and about how Idaho…

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House passes grocery tax credit hike

The House has just voted 62-7 to pass HB 81, Rep. Cliff Bayer’s bill to raise the grocery tax credit from $20 to $50 for everyone, and from $35 to $70 for seniors. The vote came after nearly an hour of debate, including sharp warnings…

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Lawmaker: Lowe should ask for a bonus

Pamela Lowe, the new ITD director, flew calmly through 48 pages of slides, charts, graphs, tables and solid information about everything that’s going on at the state Transportation Department in her presentation to JFAC this morning, and then, when members asked her extensive questions for…

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Budget writers have lots of GARVEE questions

JFAC members have been grilling new Transportation Director Pamela Lowe about GARVEE bonding plans for major highway improvements around the state. Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, wondered whether the bond funds couldn’t be targeted toward actual construction costs that are ballooning, rather than also…

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A plastic card instead of piece of paper… 

Any family that’s had a teen go through driver training knows that a piece of paper serves as the teen’s driving permit – not exactly the easiest thing to keep intact, safe, and secure for the young driver. The Idaho Transportation Department, as part of…

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Of camel's noses and tents

In a legislative cliché that’s perhaps second in popularity only to the acclaimed “slippery slope,” the “camel’s nose under the tent” made a starring appearance at the House Rev & Tax debate today over lowering the supermajority vote to form a community college district, a…

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The dramatic votes

There were three votes on HB 84, the bill to make it easier to form community college districts in Idaho – a key initiative of new Gov. Butch Otter. The measure would’ve lowered the supermajority to form a new district from two-thirds to 60 percent…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 6, 2007

Broadsword: Don't make kids into 'ping-pong balls'

Idaho shouldn’t have exceptions from its child safety seat law for overcrowded cars without enough seatbelts or for nursing infants, Sen. Joyce Broadsword told the Senate Transportation Committee today. “The children of our state are our most precious resource,” Broadsword, R-Sagle, told the committee.She said…

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Common Interest to focus on election reform

The Common Interest is planning to focus on election reform issues this year – including hot topics like vote-by-mail and changes in the primary system. Here’s a report from S-R reporter Parker Howell:A citizen group influential in last year’s property tax debate will lobby for…

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House backs human rights resolution, some dissent

A resolution declaring Idaho legislators’ support for human rights passed the House overwhelmingly on Monday, but nine members voted against it – including three from North Idaho. Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said North Idaho doesn't need any reminders that it once was home to…

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MONDAY, FEB. 5, 2007

It'll cost less to hunt wolves

The Senate Resources Committee today agreed to introduce legislation from the Fish and Game Department setting up a program to allow hunting of wolves in Idaho once the animal is removed from the federal endangered species list, reports S-R reporter Parker Howell. But the Fish…

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If she were governor…

House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, opened her pitch for her grocery tax relief bill with this comment: “Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish I were governor and had Michael Ferguson working for me. He made a good presentation.”Ferguson, Gov. Butch Otter’s…

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Hearing testimony favors Otter bill

The public hearing on the four grocery tax relief bills has just concluded, and here’s the overall score: After the sponsors of the four bills spoke, seven people testified. Four of the seven spoke in favor of Gov. Butch Otter’s targeted tax credit proposal, HB…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 2, 2007

Deputy director ends long paid leave

Here’s a follow-up to a story I reported on in December, when it turned out that a deputy director of the state Agriculture Department who was replaced last June was still on the state payroll, and was drawing his full $87,000-a-year salary through Dec. 31…

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Democrats push campaign finance reform

GOP senators bristled, harrumphed and took umbrage this morning when faced with legislation sponsored by all seven Democratic senators to start a public financing program for state campaigns in Idaho, and to require financial disclosure of state elected officials’ assets – saying backers of the…

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