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Eye On Boise archive for Nov. 2009

MONDAY, NOV. 30, 2009

Carmen Achabal, an Idaho Department of Labor employee who's organizing citizen responses for the state's Division of Financial Management, discusses the 217 received so far to Gov. Butch Otter's call for money-saving ideas as he contemplates state budget cuts. (Betsy Russell)

Citizens' budget ideas rolling in

Gov. Butch Otter's "efficiency" Web site has received 217 money-saving suggestions for state government so far, as of this morning. An initial look shows ideas ranging from cutting the pay of the state's highest-paid employees and elected officials to bringing back time off for good…

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THURSDAY, NOV. 26, 2009

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25, 2009

High court upholds urban renewal 

The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld a Rexburg urban renewal project in a case that was being closely watched by urban renewal agencies around the state. In a unanimous ruling authored by Justice Joel Horton, the high court upheld a 7th District Court ruling rejecting…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 24, 2009

Idaho's first-ever prison rape conviction 

Idaho's state Department of Correction says the case of Cody Vealton Thompson, who was convicted by an Ada County jury Nov. 17 of raping his cellmate and attempting to intimidate a witness, is the first conviction of an inmate for raping another inmate inside an…

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Legislative budget analyst Paul Headlee, left, and legislative budget Director Cathy Holland-Smith, right, work on budget issues amid the boxes at the newly renovated state Capitol on Tuesday. Theirs are among the first offices to move back into the renovated structure, which opens to the public Jan. 9. (Betsy Russell)

Back to work in Capitol

Legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith, right, and budget analyst Paul Headlee, left, work on budget issues amid the boxes on the third floor of the state Capitol today. Legislative Services workers were the first to move back into the newly renovated Capitol and go to…

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Lowe: 'Taxpayers need to know what's going on'

Former Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe, in an interview with NPR Boise State Radio's Don Wimberly, talked about her dispute with the state over her firing - a dispute that's resulted in a wrongful-termination lawsuit - and her reasons for going public over the dispute.…

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MONDAY, NOV. 23, 2009

Why Idaho passed its no-severance law... 

There's nothing in the record that shows why lawmakers passed legislation in 1993, with only one dissenting vote in either house, to ban severance payments to state employees who leave voluntarily. There was little discussion in committee, where the bill passed near-unanimously. But a look…

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Simpson hasn't endorsed

2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson hasn't endorsed a candidate in the Republican primary for Idaho's 1st District congressional seat, spokeswoman Nikki Watts said today. "Mr. Ward asked Congressman Simpson if he could use his name on the event invitation for the event in D.C., and…

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The Hill: GOP leaders siding with Ward

The Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill is reporting that U.S. House GOP leaders are lining up behind Vaughn Ward in the Republican race for a chance to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, though state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, says he'll also be jumping…

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The legal ins and outs 

Two state laws are at play in the issue of recent state purchases of PERSI service for certain retiring employees: 67-5342, which bans any severance pay to a state employee who leaves voluntarily, and 59-1363, which covers purchases of additional membership service by a PERSI…

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SATURDAY, NOV. 21, 2009

Retirement boosts raise questions 

Idaho state agencies have spent more than $125,000 in the past six months to boost the retirement accounts of three departing employees, including one agency director - though Idaho state law bans all severance payments to state employees who leave voluntarily. Gov. Butch Otter's administration…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 20, 2009

Capitol construction 'substantially complete'

It's a milestone for the two-year renovation of the state Capitol: The project has been declared "substantially complete," and the building is now back in the hands of the state, rather than the contractors. There's still final work and move-in work going on, however; the…

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Whoops - actually it's $22K more  

ITD has corrected the salary figure it supplied to Eye on Boise late yesterday for new Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness - it's not $160,000 a year, it's $165,000. That makes it $22,000 more than the salary paid to the previous director, Pam Lowe.

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THURSDAY, NOV. 19, 2009

Idaho extends wolf-hunting season

The Idaho Fish & Game Commission today extended the state's wolf hunting seasons in all of its still-open zones to March 31; all but two had been scheduled to close Dec. 31, while the Lolo and Sawtooth zone hunts already were scheduled to go to…

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Otter's statement on Pam Lowe firing 

Yesterday, in response to a request from the Lewiston Morning Tribune, which has been editorializing against Gov. Butch Otter's silence on the firing of former Transportation Director Pam Lowe and her wrongful-termination lawsuit against the state, Otter issued the following statement:"I support the decision of…

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ITD names new director 

The Idaho Transportation Board has named Brian W. Ness, an administrator with the Michigan Department of Transportation, as its new director. Current acting director Scott Stokes will return to his position of deputy director in early January as Ness takes over. Click below to read…

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Eye On Boise

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

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