Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2009

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 4, 2009

Guv's liquor license bill sets up a 'brawl'

Gov. Butch Otter has long talked of changing Idaho’s liquor license system, which limits liquor licenses on a strict, population-based quota system that’s driven up their value to $100,000-plus, while making exceptions for essentially anyone with the wherewithal to hire a lobbyist and push a…

Continue reading this post »


House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, says lawmakers should take their best shot at setting the state budget now, and leave enough flexibility to use federal stimulus money if it shows up - but not count on it. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Denney: 'Take our best shot now'

House Speaker Lawerence Denney says amid Idaho's gloomy budget outlook, he's hearing lots of talk among state lawmakers about the federal economic stimulus legislation. "I fear there are those who will want to balance our budget with federal stimulus, and I don't know what that…

Continue reading this post »


Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, explains legislation he introduced regarding float-homes that makes sure they're all taxed as real property, rather than personal property, 2/4/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Just making 'em all float the same...

Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, introduced legislation today regarding float-homes, an often-contentious issues in North Idaho, but the bill's not particularly controversial. It changes a definition so that all float homes, regardless of which type of utility hookup and sewer lines they have, are classified…

Continue reading this post »


Not much stuff to give away... 

House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, in whose committee all tax legislation generally starts, told Eye on Boise today, "I am absolutely amazed at the lack of bills in this committee this year." Reflecting for a moment on the state's budget crunch, he added, "Then…

Continue reading this post »


A different guv for a day?

Abraham Lincoln would be declared the honorary governor of Idaho Territory on Feb. 12, when the state celebrates the famous president's 200th birthday and unveils a newly relocated historic statue of Lincoln in front of Idaho's state capitol, under a resolution that just passed the…

Continue reading this post »



'It's all zeroes'

Presenting the state Division of Financial Management budget request to lawmakers this morning, Administrator Wayne Hammon said, "It's all zeroes - there's no inflation, no replacement costs, no line items." The division has laid off one employee, and is in the highest category for budget…

Continue reading this post »


'It's not $35 million'

Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget director, says the state's tax revenue shortfall for January is not $35 million. Preliminary figures show that the month's revenue fell short of the expected $267 million, Hammon said, but he's not ready to release the figure, and wouldn't…

Continue reading this post »


Work on the Idaho state capitol renovation is on time and on budget, state lawmakers were told Wednesday (2/4/09). The renovation is scheduled to be completed by mid-November, so state officials can move back in and the 2010 legislative session, which begins in January, can be held there.  (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Capitol renovation 'on time, on budget'

As the Capitol Commission has its budget hearing this morning, Jeff Youtz, legislative services director, wrapped up the progress on the renovation of the state capitol by echoing an earlier comment from Capitol Commission acting Chairman Steve Hartgen: "Those four great words, on time, on…

Continue reading this post »



Mike Gwartney, director of the state Department of Administration, addresses lawmakers during his agency's budget hearing. Gwartney, a close friend of Gov. Butch Otter, works without a salary. He told lawmakers, "I am the CIO of the state. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

'It's like having a credit card' 

State Department of Administration Director Mike Gwartney was questioned by lawmakers this morning about his proposal to dip into the state's budget stabilization fund for $35 million next year to offset unfunded liability for state retiree health benefits - if his legislation doesn't pass to…

Continue reading this post »


Millions of spam emails...

The state of Idaho gets 600 million emails a year, Greg Zickau, chief technology officer for the state Department of Administration, told JFAC this morning. "Five hundred and fifty million of those are spam," he said. And within those spam emails are threats - malware…

Continue reading this post »


Awaiting the revenue news...

With lawmakers anxiously awaiting news on how state revenues fared in January, the preliminary version of the numbers - not yet final - is circulating like mad, showing a $35 million drop below projections. Final numbers should be coming soon. JFAC has been awaiting the…

Continue reading this post »


TUESDAY, FEB. 3, 2009

116th could go back to Iraq

When the Idaho National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in 2004, it was the largest deployment of any Idaho unit since World War II. Now, the same unit has gotten preliminary word that it could be going back to Iraq in…

Continue reading this post »


Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade, center, proposed legislation Tuesday to make it an infraction to drive a car or truck down a groomed snowmobile trail, which he said currently isn't illegal. Sen. Joyce Broadsword, joined in the Senate Transportation Committee's unanimous vote to introduce the bill, as did Sen. Jim Hammond, left. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

When violators are pretty obvious...

Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade, said at one time he drove a groomer on snowmobile trails, and "I encountered motor vehicles trying to drive up groomed snowmobile trails." That's not a violation of the law now, he said, and counties can't cite folks for doing it.…

Continue reading this post »


'We feel we still have a mission'

Kitty Kunz, executive director of the Idaho Women's Commission, says she personally disagrees with the idea that the commission has outlived its usefulness, as suggested by Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, who's proposed legislation to eliminate it. "We feel we still have a mission, even though…

Continue reading this post »


Lt. Gov. Brad Little addresses the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee at the close of his budget hearing, telling lawmakers the governor is doing well after shoulder surgery, 2/3/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

He only got the six hours

Lt. Gov. Brad Little, at the close of his budget hearing before JFAC today, was asked by Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, "Do you and Gov. Otter plan on rodeoing at the same time?" Little responded with a chuckle, "He keeps telling me it was the…

Continue reading this post »


'Well beyond trimming fat'

Budget cuts at the Idaho State Police are hitting hard, Col. Jerry Russell, ISP chief, warned legislative budget writers this morning. “We are now well beyond trimming fat and we are cutting into the agency’s bone and muscle,” he said. Among the ISP’s successes in…

Continue reading this post »


In Idaho, more women work, earn less 

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research studied the status and well-being of women across the states in 2004, and gave Idaho poor grades – mostly D’s and F’s – for measures including social and economic autonomy, employment and earnings, reproductive rights and more. Idaho ranked…

Continue reading this post »


Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, is the co-chairwoman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and chairs the House portion of the panel, the House Appropriations Committee. She is serving her 11th term in the Legislature. (Courtesy photo Idaho Legislature / Courtesy photo Idaho Legislature)

Bell: 'I don't have anything against it'

House Appropriations Chairwoman Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said she’s seen lots of attempts to eliminate the Idaho Women’s Commission over the years in JFAC. “It seemed like there were always those, especially the males on the committee, who did not see the value of funding the…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, FEB. 2, 2009

Little is acting Guv

New Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who just was appointed to the office three weeks ago on Jan. 6, is now acting governor - at least for six hours. With Gov. Butch Otter going in for shoulder surgery this afternoon at 2, Little was assigned to…

Continue reading this post »


Guv goes in for shoulder surgery

Gov. Butch Otter went in for shoulder surgery today, after a recent team roping accident, according to the email message below that went out today to state agency heads. Click here to read a letter from First Lady Lori Otter about what happened, which says…

Continue reading this post »


As the Senate Resources Committee hears a briefing about wolves and considers a bill asking that "surplus" wolves in Idaho be transferred to other states, a large wolf pelt hangs on a wall behind them, brought by committee Chairman Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow. Shown here in front of the pelt is Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

'We can ship some to California'

Senate Resources Chairman Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, a fur trader, brought a large wolf pelt to the committee hearing today and had it hung prominently on the wall as the committee prepared to hear a briefing on wolves and consider a wolf-transfer bill that Schroeder's proposed.…

Continue reading this post »


Senate votes to repeal naturopath law

The Senate has voted 27-6 in favor of SB 1014, to repeal the 2005 law that set up a state licensing system for naturopaths. It's never gone into effect, because warring groups of naturopaths have disagreed on the necessary qualifications, meaning rules to implement the…

Continue reading this post »

Eye On Boise

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



Blog Archives

Dec. 2009 Nov. 2009 Oct. 2009 Sept. 2009
Aug. 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009
April 2009 March 2009 Feb. 2009 Jan. 2009