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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2008

FRIDAY, JAN. 18, 2008

Libraries going strong in Internet age

State Librarian Ann Joslin says, “Idaho’s libraries are more relevant than ever.” Starting out her budget presentation to lawmakers, Joslin noted that the most likely age group to use libraries is 18-to-30-year-olds, and young families are the most frequent users. “Instead of the Internet making…

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Minnick racks up campaign cash

Democratic congressional candidate Walt Minnick says he’ll end the quarter with more than $400,000 in campaign contributions in 2007 – even though he just announced and started his campaign on Nov. 14. That tally includes $100,000 of his own funds, and leaves him at the…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 17, 2008

Humane Society names Idaho to 'Shameful 7'

The Humane Society of the United States has named Idaho as one of its “Shameful Seven” states for lacking felony animal cruelty laws. “Forty-three states, plus Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, recognize the gravity of these crimes and have felony animal cruelty…

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Emergency: College has changed its name

Legislation just cleared the Senate Transportation Committee to amend the state’s existing special license plates that benefit colleges and universities to reflect Albertson College of Idaho’s name change to just the College of Idaho, its former name. Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, sponsored the…

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Otter not backing math initiative funding

State Schools Supt. Tom Luna got some favorable reactions from JFAC members this morning to his proposed math initiative, but Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, noted that Gov. Butch Otter hasn’t recommended funding the $4 million proposal. Otter’s budget director, Wayne Hammon, told the joint committee,…

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JFAC to Luna: iSTARS cuts not enough

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna has cut the price tag for his “iSTARS” teacher merit pay plan from $60 million to $46 million, but JFAC made it clear to him this morning that that doesn’t cut it far enough. The governor’s budget, by setting…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16, 2008

That was quick

The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to introduce the “WeTeach” teacher merit pay bill, without any discussion at all – and without even having the bill’s sponsors say anything about it. With the vote already over, Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, told Idaho Education Association…

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Float-home bill raises eyebrows

Legislation requested by the state Land Board to define "reasonable" rents for floating homes on state-owned Idaho lakes was introduced in a House committee Tuesday, but members were wary of the idea. Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa, said the issue is a "civil matter between float…

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NIC prez gives first budget pitch

New North Idaho College President Priscilla Bell gave her first budget pitch to legislators on JFAC this morning, and won praise for her confident, dynamic presentation. “Thank you, Dr. Bell – you did remarkably well,” Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron told her. “I don’t think…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 15, 2008

White: It's where they're from that counts

With all the talk about a possible medical school for Idaho, University of Idaho President Tim White sounded a cautionary note to JFAC today. “There’s really not a correlation between having a medical school and having the right number of physicians for your state –…

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'Outdated' law bans Election Day booze

It’s time for Idaho to repeal an archaic law that bans packaged liquor sales on election day – and that’s costing the state up to $400,000 in liquor sales every time there’s an election, state liquor chief Dyke Nally told lawmakers this morning. “Idaho is…

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One in four lawmakers are UI alums

University of Idaho President Tim White started off his budget pitch to JFAC this morning by paying tribute to some famous alumni, including Burton French, who was elected to the Idaho Legislature during his sophomore year at the university in 1898, became House Republican floor…

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MONDAY, JAN. 14, 2008

'We are now officially in the black'

The Idaho State Board of Education has just voted 5-2 to approve amendments to its $22 million contract with Data Recognition Corp. for ISAT testing, officially canceling 9th grade testing and making other cost-cutting changes. “We are now officially in the black,” board President Milford…

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PNWER, INL team up on energy

The Idaho National Laboratory signed an agreement with the Pacific Northwest Economic Region today to research electrical transmission options and costs in the region, with the research stretching across state and even national borders. “We have a transmission problem in the Pacific Northwest,” said Rep.…

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SUNDAY, JAN. 13, 2008

FRIDAY, JAN. 11, 2008

Bill makes dog fighting a felony

Dog fighting would become a felony in Idaho, and attending a dogfight – now legal – would become a misdemeanor, under legislation introduced today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Brad Little, R-Emmett, presented the bill and it was quickly and unanimously…

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Survey: Idahoans say Craig should go

The annual BSU Public Policy Survey was released this morning, and this year’s edition included a new question: “In your opinion, should Senator Larry Craig remain in office to complete his term?” The results: 57 percent said no, 37 percent yes, and 6 percent weren’t…

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Getting it going

Sandpoint Sen. Shawn Keough says she’s taking to heart the advice to speed things up this session – and that’s why she filed two personal bills in the Senate on Thursday. One would withdraw northern Bonner and Boundary counties from the upcoming North Idaho water…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 10, 2008

Lawmakers endorse Otter's revenue forecast

The Legislature’s joint committee charged with examining the state of Idaho’s economy and determining a revenue figure on which to set the state budget has endorsed the Otter Administration’s forecast, which calls for 3.4 percent revenue growth in fiscal 2009, following 3.5 percent in the…

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Minnick: 'Reports won't fix roads'

Walt Minnick, one of three Democrats running for GOP Rep. Bill Sali’s seat, issued this response to Sali’s remarks to the Legislature on transportation, including the GAO report Sali requested on barriers to road construction: “Congressman Sali’s remarks today are a perfect example of why…

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Otter to bring tribal agreements to lawmakers

Gov. Butch Otter will bring four fuel-tax agreements he negotiated with Idaho Indian tribes to lawmakers for their approval, even though there's some legal question as to whether that's required. "Rather than having a debate about whether or not we should, I think the governor…

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The saga of the wandering coatrack

Everyone’s cramped in the temporary Statehouse, none more so than the press. The Statehouse press corps is crammed elbow-to-elbow into a 10-by-10 foot room, with overflow space consisting of a table in the basement hallway downstairs (pictured here, with AP reporter John Miller working away).…

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Idaho education ranked worst in nation

Ouch. Education Week has released its latest ranking of education quality among the states, and Idaho is in a six-way tie for last place. Joining us at the bottom of the rankings, with a grade of D+, were Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and the District…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 8, 2008

Those stars were familiar

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna has been calling his teacher merit pay plan “iSTARS,” an acronym for Idaho State Teacher Advancement and Recognition System. But Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, who co-chaired a legislative panel with Rep. Bob Nonini over the interim that looked…

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