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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2010

FRIDAY, DEC. 3, 2010

THURSDAY, DEC. 2, 2010

More shuffling of House committee chairs...

Rep. Bob Schaefer, R-Nampa, reportedly is out as chairman of the House Commerce & Human Resources Committee, in a shuffling of committee responsibilities that has that panel taking on some duties that now go to the Health & Welfare Committee, and former Health & Welfare…

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House members mill around on the House floor during Thursday's organizational session, where they waited all day for word on committee assignments and chairmanships. (Betsy Russell)

Some House chairmanships becoming clear...

There's still been no announcement in the House on committee assignments or even on chairmanships, but word is starting to dribble out. Rep. Bob Nonini confirms that he'll continue to chair the House Education Committee. "I'm glad," Nonini said. He said he had lunch with…

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PERSI may forego rate hike

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Government workers and teachers may avoid a planned increase in their pension contributions that could cost them hundreds of dollars after a key lawmaker asked the board overseeing their $10 billion retirement account…

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Idaho House members wait their turns in a House chamber hallway to put in their requests for office space and committee assignments. (Betsy Russell)

House still working on it...

It's still hurry-up-and-wait time in the House, where the majority leadership was huddled behind closed doors much of the day trying to figure out committee chairmanships and assignments. Now, chairmanships reportedly have been worked out, but there's been no announcement, and representatives are lining up…

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A committee led by Sen. Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, reports back to the full Senate that the House and the governor have been informed that the Senate is organized and ready for business. That marked the close of the Senate's organizational session, in which committee assignments, chairmanships, seating and various formalities were finalized in preparation for the January legislative session. (Betsy Russell)

Senate completes committee assignments 

The Senate is back on the floor, and is reading over the desk its committee assignments and chairmanships for the 2011 legislative session. Click below for the full list. Here, the committees appointed to inform the House and the governor that the Senate is organized…

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Three new committee chairs in Senate

The Idaho Senate has named all its committee chairs, and three are new: Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, will chair the Resources & Environment Committee; Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, will chair the Local Government & Taxation Committee; and Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, will chair…

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Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene (Betsy Russell)

Hammond to chair Senate Transportation

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, is the new chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He said he'll be the first transportation chair from North Idaho in some time. "It's exciting to have that position and be able to advocate for our roads issues up there,"…

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Crapo to back deficit reduction plan

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, released a joint statement today saying they'll support the recommendations of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on which both serve, even while calling them "flawed and incomplete." They said, "Everyone in America…

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Family members of Idaho senators, including spouses, kids and grandkids, watched eagerly on Thursday from the fourth-floor gallery as the senators chose their new seats in the chamber.  (Betsy Russell)

Watching the action...

The Senate gallery had eager onlookers this morning, watching as senators picked their new seats in the Senate chamber - many were family members of the senators, including spouses, kids and grandkids. After seat selection and other formalities were done, the Senate recessed until 3…

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Reps. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, and Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, confer on the floor of the Idaho House during Thursday's organizational session.  At center right is Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. (Betsy Russell)

Nonini: 'Glad I put my hat in the ring' 

Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, didn't win his race last night for leadership, challenging House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, but Nonini said this morning, "I was glad I put my hat in the ring. I think our caucus deserved choices." He said he…

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The Idaho House convenes its organizational session on Thursday, preparing for the upcoming session in January (Betsy Russell)

61st session of Idaho Legislature convenes

The House is on the floor, beginning its organizational session, starting with the formal election of the speaker and then swearing-in of the representatives, followed by selection of seats. The Senate hasn't started yet. Today's agenda, aside from the formalities, includes lots of behind-the-scenes negotiating…

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Denney names ethics panel on Hart 

House Speaker Lawerence Denney says he's appointed an ethics committee to look into a complaint filed by Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, about the conduct of Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, including Hart's 1996 theft of timber from school endowment land for use in building his…

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Lawmakers shake up leadership posts

Here's a link to my full story at on the outcome of leadership contests in all four legislative caucuses tonight. There was no change in the House GOP caucus, where Speaker Lawerence Denney and Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke were unopposed, while Majority Leader…

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Malepeai is new Senate minority leader

Senate Minority Caucus leadership decisions are in, and there's a shake-up: Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, is the new minority leader. The Assistant Minority Leader is Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise; and the caucus chair is Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

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Brent Hill is the new pro-tem 

Senate Republican leadership elections are done, and the new Senate President Pro-Tem is Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, who defeated Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian. Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, held his seat as majority leader over a challenge from Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton. But there was…

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State cabin-site rent debate continues...

Here's a link to my full story at on today's Idaho Supreme Court decision tossing out Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's constitutional challenge that charged that the state Land Board set rents for state-owned cabin sites too low, and Wasden's announcement that, based on the…

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Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, left, and Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, right, discuss the state's budget challenges during the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference on Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

Two views of Idaho's budget 'hole' 

The final speakers at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho conference today were two members of the Legislature's leadership, Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, Senate assistant minority leader, and Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, House majority leader. Werk said there's "no free lunch," but the public apparently believes…

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More megaloads arrive in Lewiston

The Lewiston Tribune reports that another 12 Korean-manufactured modules have arrived at the Port of Lewiston, as part of Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil's plans to send 207 huge loads across U.S. Highway 12 through Idaho and Montana and up to Canada over the next year, though those…

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Shoshone County Commissioner Jon Cantamessa speaks to the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho on Wednesday (Betsy Russell)

County offers to take state inmates 

Shoshone County Commissioner Jon Cantamessa was sharing his county's moves to cope with declining revenue, from freezing employee salaries to turning off lights to re-bidding health insurance contracts to avoid big cost increases, when he added this: "I do have one thing I want to…

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