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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2008

THURSDAY, JAN. 31, 2008

Trail: AG’s opinion a ‘bombshell’ on iSTARS

Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, requested an Idaho attorney general’s opinion on a troubling question he said was raised by state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna’s “iSTARS” teacher pay plan: What happens to a teacher who gives up continuing contract rights in exchange for higher pay,…

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Mayors want local-option tax bill considered

Mayors from around the state gathered in a big clump after the Association of Idaho Cities legislative luncheon today, and joined transportation advocates to speak out for consideration of legislation to allow local-option taxes to fund transportation improvements, from roads to transit. The bill is…

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AP: French uranium enricher lobbying Idaho

A French government-controlled nuclear energy company is looking to possibly build a uranium enrichment facility in Idaho, the AP’s John Miller reports, and has hired Erika Malmen, wife of Gov. Butch Otter's former chief of staff, Jeff Malmen, to lobby Otter and state legislators. The…

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A tax hike that's got support

Here’s a tax increase that’s winning strong support – from the Idaho House, no less. The House just voted 51-16 in favor of HB 359, to increase the fuel tax on aviation gasoline and jet fuel by 1.5 cents per gallon. But there’s a reason:…

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Here's the scoop on the Obama visit

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s visit to Boise will be for an early-morning rally on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena. The Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign says doors will open at 7 a.m. The event is free, but people planning to attend are asked to RSVP by…

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Idaho lakes being cleared of milfoil

An aggressive state effort to eradicate invasive milfoil from Idaho lakes is resulting in “a significant reduction in Eurasian water milfoil populations statewide,” state Ag Director Celia Gould told legislative budget writers this morning. “In the past two seasons, all known lake populations in Idaho…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2008

Rammell plans baboon ads in Senate race

The crowded GOP race for the retiring Sen. Larry Craig’s seat will swing onto the airwaves with the Super Bowl this Sunday, according to candidate Rex Rammell. The former elk rancher from eastern Idaho is spending $30,000 to purchase airtime across the state for a…

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So much for the non-issue of the session...

After a lively debate, two motions, and then an 11-7 vote to pass the bill, state Liquor Dispensary Superintendent Dyke Nally chided me for saying earlier, at the Boise City Club, that his bill to end the ban on Election Day liquor sales was “insignificant,”…

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No compromise yet on grocery tax

House GOP Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts says he “misspoke” yesterday when he said lawmakers and the governor had reached a compromise in the new grocery tax bill introduced this morning. “I had a misunderstanding, a miscommunication with the governor’s office,” Roberts said. “I maybe misread…

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Grocery tax bill introduced

With a unanimous vote, the House Revenue & Taxation Committee has voted to introduce a grocery tax credit increase with a complicated mechanism that would give the poorest Idahoans a bigger boost, but still would give all Idahoans an increase. The change would cost the…

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Snow day for the Boise schools

Boise schools have declared their first snow day in a decade, on a day when Bogus Basin ski resort is buried in fresh powder. I have one very ecstatic 14-year-old son. Alas for me, the Legislature still is in session.

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TUESDAY, JAN. 29, 2008

iSTARS is off the agenda

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna’s “iSTARS” teacher pay plan was supposed to come up for a vote tomorrow in the Senate Education Committee, but now it’s off the agenda. “We’re just taking a cautious approach, making sure we have everyone’s questions answered before we…

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Guv out of commission for 'several weeks'

Here’s the press release on the outcome of Gov. Butch otter’s hip surgery today:Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter underwent successful resurfacing surgery on his right hip today. He thanked Idahoans for their support and asked for their patience during his recovery. “Lori and I will be…

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Idaho prisons getting more violent

Idaho’s prisons are becoming more violent places, as three major prison gangs extend their membership through the system, state Corrections Director Brent Reinke told lawmakers on JFAC. That’s creating management issues, including a need for more solitary segregation cells at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.…

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MONDAY, JAN. 28, 2008

Stennett taking leave for surgery

Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, will take a leave from legislative service to undergo surgery to relieve minor swelling on his brain, a condition identified during a checkup last week. Stennett is arranging for a substitute while he’s gone, former Sun Valley Mayor Jon…

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Chambers back registration fee hike

The Idaho Chamber Alliance has come out in favor of increased vehicle registration fees to pay for transportation improvements. The group, which includes 20 chambers of commerce from all around the state, also has endorsed continued GARVEE bonding and local-option sales taxes to allow communities…

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73 Idaho inmates refuse parole

In the past year, 73 Idaho prison inmates refused to be let out on parole – preferring to serve more time behind bars in order to finish out their sentences and then get out scot-free, without any need to check in with a parole officer,…

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Of politics and closed primary elections

In Idaho, one of the most successful state political parties in the country is trying to torpedo the very electoral system that put it in power. Republicans now hold every statewide elected office in Idaho and three-quarters of the seats in the state Legislature. But…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 25, 2008

'A training ground for those who sue us'

The Idaho Attorney General’s office is having increasing trouble recruiting and retaining attorneys, because its salaries are 27 percent lower than those in the Ada County prosecutor’s office and 45 percent below private-sector market rates in the Boise area. “We have a number of very…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 24, 2008

Naturopath rules rejected

An Idaho Senate committee has unanimously rejected proposed naturopathic physician licensing rules, saying they were too vague on education and examination requirements to protect public health. According to the Associated Press, the Senate Health & Welfare Committee decision came after Deputy Attorney General Bill von…

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Ah, the 'Domes of America'

Every year, legislative offices receive a lovely calendar from the National Conference of State Legislatures titled “Domes of America,” with colorful close-up pictures of six of the nation’s state capitol domes, in all their intricacy. The calendar apparently was inspiring to some, including House Assistant…

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Midwives rally for licensing law

Dozens of midwives, supporters, moms and babies rallied in Capitol Park and are parading around the block now, pushing strollers and carrying smiling, well-bundled babies. The group was rallying for licensure of certified professional midwives, which they’re pushing for in all 50 states. They maintain…

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'Makes milfoil look like a dinner salad'

Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, took on the nickname “Morty Milfoil” the last couple of years as he pushed to address the invasive Eurasian water milfoil that’s infesting Idaho’s lakes and waterways. Now, Anderson is concerned about a new menace: Quagga mussels. The thumbnail-sized mussels…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 2008

Duncan told Shasta he killed other children

Young Shasta Groene told authorities that killer Joseph Duncan, during the weeks he held her captive at a remote Montana campsite, described killing at least three other children – a tip that prompted authorities to investigate Duncan as a possible serial killer. Duncan now is…

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