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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2010

MONDAY, FEB. 1, 2010

Eddie Trout from "Partners for Clean Water" visits the state Capitol on Monday as part of the Idaho Children and Nature Network's "Be Outside" celebration, aimed at fighting "nature deficit disorder" among kids and getting them back outside. (Betsy Russell)

Event encourages kids to play outside 

Eddie Trout, from "Partners for Clean Water," visits the state Capitol today as part of a "Be Outside" celebration by the Idaho Children and Nature Network. There are displays, kids, a storyteller and more in the fourth floor rotunda as part of the event, and…

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Schroeder pulls Panhandle bill from agenda

Sen. Gary Schroeder's resolution to overturn a Panhandle Health District rule on behalf of a Pullman, Wash. resident whose new Lake Coeur d'Alene cabin doesn't meet sewage requirements had been up for a hearing this afternoon in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, but now…

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The Idaho House agrees, by unanimous consent, to send the "Idaho Health Freedom Act" to its amending order on Monday. The bill, which seeks to fight federal health care reform, as written would inadvertently invalidate a 2002 law requiring Idaho state college students to purchase health insurance. That law was passed as part of money-saving Medicaid reforms. (Betsy Russell)

'Health Freedom Act' needs amendment 

HB 391, the "Idaho Health Freedom Act," has just been moved to general orders for amendment by unanimous consent of the House. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, said the problem is that the bill, as written, would outlaw a requirement lawmakers enacted into state regulations…

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Rep. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, questions whether a plan to increase timber harvest on state endowment lands will actually mean more income for the state, with timber prices so far down and construction depressed. His question came during the state Department of Lands budget hearing on Monday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Would more logging really mean more money? 

The state Department of Lands is proposing to increase its timber harvest on state endowment lands by 35 million board-feet a year, from 212 million board-feet a year to 247. Income to the state endowment would rise by 20.2 percent, Director George Bacon told JFAC.…

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Ferrell: Don't take all state $$ away from parks 

Yvonne Ferrell, who headed Idaho's state parks system for 15 years and served as deputy director of Washington's state parks system for a decade before that, attended the parks budget hearing today and said she supports current Director Nancy Merrill's plan for parks. However, Ferrell…

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How to make parks sustainable?

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, asked how Parks Director Nancy Merrill expects to make Idaho's parks system self-sustaining, when "there are no states that have really been able to create an environment of sustainability." Merrill said it's all in her new business plan for the state…

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Idaho's RV registration fee

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, asked state Parks Director Nancy Merrill how much the RV registration fund brings in each year. The answer: $3.8 million to $3.9 million. The idea is to tap about half of that fund each year for the next two to five…

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State Parks Director Nancy Merrill presents a much-reduced budget request for state parks to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Monday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Lawmakers hear reduced parks budget pitch 

Nancy Merrill, state parks director, has begun her first budget presentation to JFAC. Her department's budget request has changed significantly from the one first submitted; now, as a result of a deal announced last week by Merrill and Gov. Butch Otter, it calls for cutting…

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Guv's 'signature events' were pricey

Three ceremonies for major highway construction projects on I-84 over the past summer ran up tens of thousands in bills after Gov. Butch Otter's office ordered that they be the governor's "signature events," Idaho Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell reported Sunday; you can read her full…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 29, 2010

Former Sen. Atwell Parry dies at 84

Former Idaho state Sen. Atwell Parry, R-Melba, passed away today after suffering injuries a one-vehicle accident on Jan. 14 that left him in critical condition. Parry, former co-chairman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, was released from St. Alphonsus Hospital on Jan. 27 to go home…

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The week that was...

Here’s a link to the third week of Idaho’s legislative session in pictures, as a slide show. Let your cursor hover over the bottom part of the picture frame, and the captions will appear as the slide show plays. Tonight, on Idaho Public Television’s "Idaho…

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Immigration bills to be heard together

Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, said his plan is to hold a hearing, likely in mid-February, on three immigration bills: the new one introduced today from Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake; another already introduced by Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell,…

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Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, proposes sweeping legislation Friday targeting employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants; cities that offer "sanctuary" to undocumented aliens; and more. The Senate State Affairs Committee agreed unanimously to introduce the bill. (Betsy Russell)

Jorgenson unveils immigration bill 31 

Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, this morning introduced sweeping legislation aimed at punishing Idaho employers who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants, along with other measures including denying recognition of out-of-state driver's licenses to those without legal immigration status. "The key language is 'knowingly hire,'" Jorgenson said.…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 28, 2010

Land board members mull proposal...

Here's a link to my full story at on state schools Supt. Tom Luna's proposal for education funding unveiled to lawmakers today. Tapping into the state's public school endowment earnings reserve fund for more than $50 million, as Luna proposes, would require a vote…

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Another $3 mil in savings... kind of

The co-chairs of JFAC questioned state Schools Supt. Tom Luna today about the latest numbers on student enrollment, which affect state funding. Luna's finance expert, Tim Hill, told JFAC that the number of support units, which is roughly a classroom's worth of kids, was anticipated…

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Moscow senator goes after Panhandle Health 

An Idaho lawmaker upset that regulators refuse to bend the rules for a Worley-area cabin owner with an inadequate septic system is proposing legislation that threatens to undermine the Panhandle Health District’s ability to keep sewage out of North Idaho lakes and streams. “I’m just…

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Measure would limit sessions to 90 days 

Here's a news item from the AP: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Legislature is considering limiting the length of sessions to just 90 calendar days to save money, conserve the time of government workers and encourage a more diverse legislature. The House State Affairs…

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Lawmakers excited about Luna plan

State lawmakers are excited about state schools Supt. Tom Luna's proposal to tap the state's school endowment earnings reserve fund for more than $50 million to help balance the school budget. "I give him credit for coming up with it," said Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert,…

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Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, questions state schools Supt. Tom Luna on Thursday during the school budget hearing. (Betsy Russell)

Luna says he'll ask Land Board in February

In response to a question from Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, state schools Supt. Tom Luna said the public school earnings reserve fund he wants to tap to avoid deeper school budget cuts was set up specifically to ensure payments to schools. "Remember that 10 years…

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Eye On Boise

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