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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 2010

MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2010

IT consolidation targets 'low-hanging fruit'

Greg Zickau, chief technology officer for the state Department of Administration, said the department is proposing to transfer nine information technology positions to Admin from other agencies as part of an IT consolidation that would save an estimated $229,000 a year. Overall, the move would…

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Gwartney: 'Eliminating duplication' 

State Department of Administrator head Mike Gwartney told lawmakers this morning that he's hoping to save the state millions through various consolidation efforts. "When I moved into this job we had 74 individual email plans," Gwartney told JFAC. "We've now taken that down to where…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 5, 2010

The week that was...

Here’s a link to the fourth 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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Allred faults Otter for 'irrational pessimism' 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred slammed GOP Gov. Butch Otter today for what he called his "irrational pessimism and recklessness," saying that in two weeks of travel around the state, he's heard concerns from people across the political spectrum over Otter's proposed budget cuts to…

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Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, question state prisons chief Brent Reinke in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Friday morning, after returning from two days off for surgery. (Betsy Russell)

Ringo back on the job

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, is back at work in the Legislature, after missing two days for surgery for peripheral artery disease in her legs. The procedure was a follow-up to more major surgery she had in October for the disease, which if left untreated would…

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Prisons: Spending less now...

Questions from JFAC members for state Corrections Director Brent Reinke included whether it'd be helpful if Idaho set up some kind of early-release mechanism for prisoners now. Reinke said the department has been evaluating "what good time might look like in Idaho," referring to time…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 4, 2010

Conflict between sheriff, tribe prompts bill 

Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com about the buzz at the Legislature today over whether criminals are going free in Benewah County because the local sheriff won't work with the local tribal police. The problem: Without a cross-deputization agreement, tribal police officers…

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Senate confirms McDermott after debate

The Idaho Senate voted 24-10 today to confirm Fish & Game Commissioner Tony McDermott, who represents the North Idaho Panhandle, for another term, but only after an extended debate in which Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, tried to frame the vote as a referendum on wolves.…

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New grazing rules end long dispute

A long and contentious dispute over how Idaho leases state endowment lands to ranchers for grazing - or to others for other uses - came to an end yesterday afternoon, when the House and Senate Resources committees approved new grazing lease rules, which take effect…

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Cockfighting could become a felony

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers could make running a cockfighting operation a felony, two years after passing a similar law against dogfighting. A bill targeting this blood sport was introduced Thursday in the Senate. Anybody found…

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Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, asks the House to amend his "Idaho Health Freedom Act" to take out a conflict between the bill and an existing state requirement for state college students to purchase health insurance. The bill seeks to ban enforcement of federal health care reforms in Idaho, including any requirements for people to purchase health insurance. The amendment was approved unanimously on Thursday, freeing the House to consider the amended bill when it comes back up on its calendar. (Betsy Russell)

'Health Freedom Act' amended 

HB 391, the “Idaho Health Freedom Act,” has been amended by unanimous vote of the House. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, said the problem is that the bill, as written, would outlaw a requirement imposed by the state Board of Education through state regulations, and…

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Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, urges the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday to introduce a non-binding memorial to Congress urging changes in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting unlimited corporate and union spending on independent campaign expenditures. The measure died after two party-line votes, after a long debate about the proper role of corporations in politics, but Cronin said he'll bring back a new version with changes to make it more palatable to Republicans. (Betsy Russell)

Lawmakers debate role of corporations 

Rep. Brian Cronin and Sen. Kate Kelly, both Boise Democrats, brought a non-binding memorial to Congress to the House State Affairs Committee this morning calling on Congress to take action in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting unlimited independent campaign expenditures by…

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State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey tells lawmakers Thursday that her agency could get far more work done for the same amount of money by hiring two attorneys, rather than paying high prices to hire outside lawyers. (Betsy Russell)

'We can get so much more for the money' 

State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey told JFAC today that her office faces having to spend $140,000 for contract attorneys at $125 per hour for pending cases and hearings. "I would submit to this committee that there is a more efficient way to spend this…

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Col. Jerry Russell, director of the Idaho State Police, answers questions from legislative budget writers on Thursday about the ISP's budget. The state police could catch far more drunk drivers and other offenders if it just did more patrols, he said, but it doesn't have the resources. (Betsy Russell)

ISP: 'We're all experiencing tough times' 

Idaho State Police Director Col. Jerry Russell told JFAC today that the ISP could be catching far more drunk drivers and others if it just did more patrols. From August of 2008 through December of 2009, funding through GARVEE highway construction bond funds allowed extra…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 3, 2010

Eye On Boise

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



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