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Eye On Boise archive for March 2008

MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2008

School zone speeding bill heads to governor

Fines for speeding in school zones in Idaho would rise to more than $100, under legislation that won final passage in the Idaho House today. SB 1361a, sponsored by Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, now goes to the governor’s desk. It would set the minimum…

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Tent gone, but the circus hasn't left town...

Something was missing from the Capitol Annex grounds today – the festive white tent in the back parking lot, with its scalloped-edge trim, that housed the deluxe flushing Port-a-Potties brought in for the legislative session. Though not heavily used, the potties were there to supplement…

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Governor signs grocery tax relief bill

Gov. Butch Otter has signed into law the long-sought break for Idahoans who have been paying full 6 percent sales taxes on their grocery purchases, ever since the Legislature raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6 in August of 2006. “After a year…

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'We wish we weren't here'

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, opened this morning’s Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee hearing with this comment: “Welcome everyone – we wish we weren’t here.” Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, responded, “The House concurs, Mr. Chairman – we wish we weren’t here either. But since…

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FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008

Election names bill passes

SB 1514, the measure to require a parenthetical (a person formerly known as…) on the ballot following the names of candidates who have changed their names to political slogans, has passed the House 64-2 and now goes to the governor. Rep. John Vander Woulde, R-Nampa,…

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Senators send missive to state board

The Senate Education Committee this morning approved letters to the state Board of Education and to Gov. Butch Otter summing up their findings from months of complaints and a dramatic hearing in which the senators grilled state board members about their handling of the ISAT…

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Personal property tax bill amended

HB 599, the bill to phase in a repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment, has been amended unanimously in the Senate. Senators changed the bill to exempt just the first $75,000 in value from the tax on business equipment, and to exclude…

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Governor lashes back at lawmakers with veto

Gov. Butch Otter has issued another line-item veto, this time scratching out the funding for the Legislative Services Office for technology upgrades and to purchase 108 laptop computers next year for use by legislators. Though he doesn’t mention it in his veto message, the swipe…

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Craig-Wyden replacement bill passes Senate

The Senate has voted 34-1 for legislation to provide a “safety net” to Idaho school districts that will lose out if Congress doesn’t reauthorize so-called “Craig-Wyden” timber replacement funds. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said any congressional action, if it takes place, likely wouldn’t get school…

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ITD audit bill passes the Senate

The Senate has voted 31-2 in favor of HCR 50, to launch a $550,000 performance audit of the Idaho Transportation Department. “We want to dig into what is happening out at the Department of Transportation so that we all feel more confident when the time…

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Child death review bill killed

A Senate committee chairwoman has blocked legislation that would have ended Idaho's distinction as the only state in the nation with no system for reviewing child deaths. Senate Health and Welfare Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, said Idaho doesn't need to review child deaths if…

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Senate backs repeal of unused tax exemption

The Senate has voted 25-10 for HB 661, a measure to repeal a never-used tax incentive bill enacted in 2005 to try to entice Albertson’s grocery store chain to keep its headquarters in Idaho. It didn’t. “Idaho’s a great place to do business,” said Sen.…

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Senate overrides governor’s veto

The Idaho Senate has voted 30-5 to override Gov. Butch Otter’s line-item veto of substance-abuse treatment funds in SB 1458, a supplemental appropriation in which Otter axed $2.4 million for treatment in the current budget year. “We believe that we can show that the money…

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A few would gain a lot...

Under HB 599, the proposed repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment, 18 percent of the 53,718 Idaho businesses that now pay the tax would get 95 percent of the benefit, which translates to slightly over $110 million in tax relief for 9,887…

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Something to celebrate

The Statehouse press corps was outside the Capitol Annex just now, puffing on cigars. It wasn’t that the session had ended (though that’d be cause for celebration too). It was the arrival of little Rachel Ann Miller, 6 pounds, 15 ounces, daughter of AP reporter…

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Local-option amendment waiting...

The Senate State Affairs Committee this morning began its consideration of HJR 4, the constitutional amendment to limit local-option taxes, but ran out of time after the first presenter, House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Meanwhile, the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning…

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'Trust us, trust us'

After four hours of testimony, almost all of it against the bill, Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, explained why he was supporting HB 599 anyway, to phase in a repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment: “To me, this is a start – I…

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2008

GARVEE bonding wins final passage

The legislation to do the next round of GARVEE bonding for the “Connecting Idaho” highway construction program has passed the Senate, 29-6. The bill, HB 657, already had passed the House and now goes to Gov. Butch Otter, who made it a top priority as…

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No Senate vote on ITD audit today

The Senate just announced that it won’t go into its 10th order today – and that’s where the resolution for an audit of the Idaho Transportation Department is sitting, waiting for a Senate vote. That’s the measure the House wants approved before it agrees to…

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FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2008

Another veto from the governor

Gov. Butch Otter has vetoed another bill, this time a rather minor one from the state Department of Education that sought to give employees there the option to take Christmas Eve and the day after Thanksgiving as state holidays instead of the established holidays of…

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.

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