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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 2010

TUESDAY, FEB. 23, 2010

Senate, House part ways on PERSI COLA

The abrupt cancellation of this afternoon's scheduled hearing on HCR 42, the House-passed - and House GOP leadership-backed - hurry-up measure to block a cost of living increase for state retirees could create tensions between the House and Senate, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Joe Stegner…

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Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announces the top 10 sources of consumer complaints to his office in 2009, a list that was topped by mortgage-modification fraud complaints. At a news conference in his office on Tuesday, Wasden said consumer complaints to his office in 2009 were up 11 percent. (Betsy Russell)

Home-loan modifications top consumer complaints

The top consumer complaint in Idaho in 2009, according to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden: Mortgage modification fraud. "We received reports of outrageous fraud," Wasden said at a news conference this morning. "Some of these operators took advantage of desperate homeowners by charging hundreds, or even…

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House panel backs Moyle voter ID bill 

The House State Affairs Committee has approved HB 496, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle's bill to require people to show a valid photo ID or sign an affidavit before they're allowed to vote. Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, offered a substitute motion to send the bill…

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The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set a capital budget for next year on Tuesday that includes few new building projects beyond a maintenance shop at an Orofino prison and various alteration and repair projects. (Betsy Russell)

Capital budget has few projects this year

The Permanent Building Fund budget, the state's capital budget, usually is the focus of much attention as various construction projects vie for state funding; not this year. JFAC this morning set a budget that's identical to the governor's recommendation. It calls for $19.9 million for…

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Vote-switch kills tobacco bill 

An Idaho senator whose husband is a tobacco-company lobbyist snuffed out a bill Monday to ban the industry's latest product, the Associated Press reports. Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, changed her vote after members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee initially voted 5-4 for a…

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MONDAY, FEB. 22, 2010

F&G Commission opposes Harwood roadkill bill 

The Idaho Fish & Game Commission has voted unanimously to oppose legislation from Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, to allow Idahoans with hunting or trapping licenses to salvage road-killed carcasses - something that's now strictly illegal. "There was concern just because of the potential enforcement…

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PERSI COLA bill to get hearing tomorrow 

Here's a news item from The Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Senate plans to debate a plan to block Idaho government retirees from getting a 1 percent pension increase in March. Sen. John Andreason, the Commerce and Human Resources Committee chairman, plans to…

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The Idaho House convenes on Monday with a gallery full of visiting schoolchildren. (Betsy Russell)

Education 'mastery' bill passes House, 61-7 

The House has voted 61-7 in favor of HB 493, legislation from Reps. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, and Branden Durst, D-Boise, to set up a pilot project in which school students could challenge classes by passing end-of-course tests, and those who graduate a year or more…

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Midwives and home-birth advocates from around the state, many with babies in tow, visited the state Capitol on Monday as Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, unsuccessfully sought to introduce legislation to ease last year's law establishing midwife licensing in Idaho. (Betsy Russell)

It's a younger place today...

The average age in the state Capitol seems to have fallen precipitously today, as a result of a number of factors: Several school groups are visiting, including a large group of fifth-graders; and a large contingent of midwives and home-birth advocates, babies in tow, are…

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This proposed special license plate would raise money to help maintain trails around the state on which mountain biking is allowed. The plate won support from the House on Monday on a 49-18 vote; the measure, HB 486, now moves to the Senate. (Courtesy photo / Idaho Legislature)

House votes 49-18 for mountain biking plate

HB 486, creating a new special license plate to benefit mountain biking trails, has passed the House on a 49-18 vote. "This bill is purely revenue-generating for the state," said Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, the bill's lead sponsor. Each special plate sold will initially send…

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'Conscience' bill clears committee, 6-3 

The Senate State Affairs Committee has voted 6-3 to pass SB 1353, the "conscience" bill, and send it to the full Senate with a recommendation that it "do pass." "This legislation prohibits nothing, it does allow professionals to opt out of something they don't want…

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David Ripley, lobbyist for "Idaho Chooses Life," answers questions from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning about SB 1353, the "conscience" bill protecting health care providers who refuse to provide treatments or medications related to abortion, emergency contraception or end-of-life care. Behind him is Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, the bill's lead legislative sponsor. (Betsy Russell)

'Conscience' bill prompts much debate

The hearing on SB 1353, the abortion and emergency contraception "conscience" bill, has been stretching on for nearly two hours already this morning in the Senate State Affairs Committee. So far, among the many testifying on the bill have been the Catholic diocese of Idaho,…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 19, 2010

Otter slams press coverage 

Gov. Butch Otter, in a guest opinion distributed to Idaho media today, blasts unnamed "newspaper columnists" for allegedly twisting facts in reporting on his budget proposals this year. "There was a time when most newspaper columnists at least paid lip service to the good intentions…

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Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget director, poses with Big Bird and Idaho Public Television General Manager Peter Morrill, right, before the taping Friday of the "Idaho Reports" program at the IPTV studio in Boise. (Courtesy photo / Idaho Public Television)

The week that was...

Here’s a link to the sixth 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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AARP speaks out against PERSI bill 

The Idaho AARP is speaking out vehemently against HCR 42, the bill that passed the House today to block a scheduled 1 percent cost of living increase for state retirees next month. “This legislation says the state of Idaho does not value its retirees –…

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