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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 11, 2010

THURSDAY, FEB. 11, 2010

Idaho private prison has Norovirus outbreak

Idaho's privately operated prison south of Boise, the Idaho Correctional Center, has confirmed that inmates there have contracted the Norovirus, after a flurry of stomach flu was reported there. The facility has been washed down with bleach and inmates are on lockdown; click below to…

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Bill would make hunting licenses secret

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers may exempt information on hunting and fishing licenses from public disclosure, saying they want to shield people who have bagged a wolf from unwanted attention. Rep. Judy Boyle, a Republican from Midvale,…

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Allred: Otter 'reckless' to cut schools 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred is continuing his criticism of Gov. Butch Otter for "irrational pessimism," saying, "When Otter says we have no choice but to cut education, he’s just factually wrong." Said Allred, a former Harvard professor and former head of The Common Interest…

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Bills aim for bike safety 

Here's a news item from the AP: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho legislator wants to make roads safer for bicyclists. Boise Democrat Sen. Elliot Werk introduced four bills Thursday that would penalize rash bicyclists and drivers with a $75 fine. The Senate Transportation Committee…

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Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, proposes legislation Thursday to charge $10 for in-state residents, $20 for out-of-staters who enter certain Fish & Game lands but don't have fishing or hunting licenses. They'd be cited if they didn't purchase the new "conservation license." (Betsy Russell)

Boyle: Charge picnickers, bird-watchers 

State Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, says she was stunned to learn that only 23 percent of people who use the Boise River Wildlife Management Area have hunting or fishing licenses, so she's proposing legislation to require people who enter that and other areas that would…

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Texting-while-driving bill introduced

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho legislature is considering making texting while driving a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in prison or a $300 fine. Caldwell Republican Sen. John McGee told the Senate Transportation Committee…

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JFAC to set budget targets

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will set budget targets for both the current year and for the next fiscal year tomorrow morning, after it holds brief budget hearings on four agencies and a discussion of state employee health insurance. The budget target debate and vote is…

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Senate Republicans finish up an hour-long, closed-door caucus on Thursday on the state budget. (Betsy Russell)

Senate Republicans caucus on budget

Senate Republicans emerged from an hour-long caucus this morning and went straight to the floor, after a discussion they said focused on the state budget. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, said the discussion covered not only the budget target that the Joint Finance-Appropriations…

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Idaho Historical Society Director Janet Gallimore concludes her budget presentation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday by displaying the original Idaho Constitution, in a glass case, to lawmakers. It was signed by 62 members of Idaho's Constitutional Convention on Aug. 6, 1889. (Betsy Russell)

That's the original...

At the end of the Historical Society's budget hearing this morning, Director Janet Gallimore had a couple of staffers unveil something in a case, under a black drape, that had been rolled out to the center of the JFAC hearing room. It was the original…

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Public indebtedness bills introduced 

Three constitutional amendments regarding public indebtedness were introduced unanimously in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning. All three are co-sponsored by Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, and Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston. One deals with hospital districts, one with airport authorities, and one with municipal…

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Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness got lots of questions from lawmakers on Thursday at his first budget presentation. Many focused on the use of outside contractors. (Betsy Russell)

Lawmakers question ITD head Ness 

Several of the questions from lawmakers for new ITD chief Brian Ness focused on doing work in-house vs. contracting. Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, asked which way is cheaper for paving projects. Ness said if the state uses its own workers for paving, it can't…

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ITD: Bridges aging, new management system in

Revenues from the state's Highway Account, which largely comes from gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, are running $1.8 million below forecast through January, ITD Director Brian Ness told JFAC. Of 1,777 bridges in the state system, 540, or 30 percent, are older than 50…

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New ITD Director Brian Ness makes his first budget presentation to lawmakers. Ness pledge that ITD will be "good stewards" of funds and that he'll review all expenses to make sure they're appropriate. (Betsy Russell)

ITD: 'We need to improve'

Darrell Manning, chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board, told JFAC this morning that the transportation department is working to implement the performance audit the Legislature conducted last year and the governor's executive order that followed it. "We'll try our best to be good stewards of…

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Eye On Boise

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