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Eye On Boise archive for Oct. 2009

TUESDAY, OCT. 20, 2009

Host Gene Shumate of Idaho Public Televison's legislative program the year it debuted, 1972. (Courtesy photo / Idaho Public Television)

Idaho Reports gets a full hour this year

Idaho Reports, the weekly legislative program on Idaho Public Television, will be a full hour this year, which is good news for a show that happens to be the longest-running legislative program in the West. Click here for a cool history of the show, which...

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Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, talks about efforts to prevent quagga and zebra mussels from entering Idaho waterways. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Anderson: Success so far on quaggas

Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, says Idaho's efforts to keep invasive quagga and zebra mussels from getting into the state's waterways appear to be succeeding. "We were very successful this year," he told the Legislature's interim committee on energy, environment and technology. "We seem to...

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Price for first wolf tag: $8K

Here's a news item from AP: State wildlife officials say the first wolf hunting tag ever printed in the state has sold for $8,000 to the highest bidder. The high bid came from North Carolina resident Jonny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops. Morris...

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University of Idaho Professor Jay O'Laughlin briefs an Idaho legislative interim committee about the potential for energy production from woody biomass in Idaho. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Wood as an Idaho energy source...

University of Idaho Professor Jay O'Laughlin just told the Legislature's energy, environment and technology interim committee that woody biomass - converting mill or forest residues into thermal and electrical energy - provided 4.7 percent of the energy consumed in Idaho in 2007, and 1.8 percent...

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MONDAY, OCT. 19, 2009


Otter: 'It takes innovation'

In his latest "Project 60" message, Gov. Butch Otter touts the recent $5 million state grant to Micron for an LED project, and praises various Idaho companies that are innovating or expanding. "It doesn’t matter if you sell alfalfa or write software, it takes innovation...

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Back from the depths of the flu... 

Well, that was pretty awful. I don't know if the H1N1 is really worse than seasonal flu, because I've gotten a flu shot every year for at least the past 10 and haven't had the seasonal flu. But I sure don't remember anything quite this...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14, 2009

Idaho faces bleak budget news... 16 

Idaho's state budget news is bleak, lawmakers heard as they gathered today for the interim meeting of the Legislature's joint budget committee: One in five Idaho school districts has declared a financial emergency. State prisons are managing 500 more offenders than a year ago, with...

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Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong tells legislative budget writers that huge shortfalls are possible for the state's Medicaid program when the federal economic stimulus funds are gone. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Huge Medicaid shortfall is possible...

Based on estimates of federal funding levels for Medicaid once the federal economic stimulus boost is gone, Idaho's Medicaid program is looking at having to cut costs by $387 million - about 23 percent of the Medicaid program. Various savings efforts already are under way....

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Managing more prisoners with less money... 

Idaho's state Department of Correction is managing 500 more offenders now than it did a year ago, with $28 million less in funding, Corrections Director Brent Reinke just informed JFAC. The department, he said, is working "to really try to do a much better job...

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Part-time state workers face benefit cuts

JFAC has begun reviewing the health insurance benefits for state employees, including part-time workers who are facing big cuts next month. Legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee told the lawmakers that the executive branch is making the changes for part-timers as of the Nov. 14 payroll....

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Various fees, tuition could rise...

As state agencies look at budget cuts and how to replace federal stimulus money once it's gone, they've also been asked to look for possible new revenue sources other than the state general fund, legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith told JFAC as she wrapped up...

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Might have to consider enrollment caps?

A fairly long list of supplemental appropriation requests is looming for lawmakers to consider, for everything from rising caseloads in foster care to a $13.5 million Medicaid shortfall. Those are items that need to be funded in the current year. One item on the list...

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'Significant' state budget cuts ahead...

How bad will the state budget cuts ahead be for next year? "It's not going to be nibbling around the edges any more," legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith cautioned lawmakers this morning. "We just don't have that type of flexibility. We're talking about significant changes...

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The Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee hears an update from legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith as it opens its interim meeting Wednesday in Boise. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

JFAC opens interim meeting

The Idaho Legislature's joint budget committee has begun its interim meeting this morning at the Stueckle Sky Center at BSU, starting with an update from legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith on the state of the general fund. Overall: Not so good. The state faces a...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 13, 2009


Idaho to get millions in drug settlement 

Idaho has reached a $13 million settlement with drug manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co., the state's biggest financial recovery under the Idaho Consumer Protection Act aside from the 1998 tobacco settlement. The state sued the pharmaceutical manufacturer over its marketing of Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug,...

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Luna: Schools need 9% more next year 

State schools Supt. Tom Luna says Idaho's public schools need a 9.2 percent increase in state general funds next year, just to keep even and fund student growth. In a budget request for fiscal year 2011 that Luna's scheduled to present to the state Board...

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MONDAY, OCT. 12, 2009

Lawmakers to examine budget cuts

With mid-year budget holdbacks hitting, lawmakers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will gather for their interim meeting this week to examine what's going on with the state budget, impacts of cuts already approved earlier this year and more. Among the agenda items for the two-day...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 7, 2009

Eye On Boise

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



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