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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 2010

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10, 2010

Land Board members debate constitutional and fiduciary duties, the state endowment and the needs of schools during a special meeting Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

Ysursa: 'None of us wear the robe'

Quizzed by Land Board members about his concerns over Supt. Luna's proposal, endowment fund manager Larry Johnson said, "I don't think that this would be catastrophic." He said, "I think if I can be guaranteed that this is a one-time and one-time only process, then…

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Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, under questioning from his fellow members of the state Land Board, declares that the authority to decide on an additional payout to schools next year rests with the Land Board, and no approval was required from the Endowment Fund Investment Board, which he said gives the Land Board advice. (Betsy Russell)

Luna: 'This board has the authority'

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden asked Supt. Luna if he considers his proposal a deviation from the recommendations of the Endowment Fund Investment Board. Luna responded that everything is different in this budget crunch, from how families are handling their budgets to moves being made by…

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Gov. Butch Otter questions whether state schools Supt. Tom Luna's proposal to tap endowment reserves to help public schools through a budget crisis next year creates "a constitutional dilemma." His comments came during a special Land Board meeting on Wednesday afternoon. (Betsy Russell)

Otter: 'We're faced with a constitutional dilemma' 

"We're faced with a constitutional dilemma, maybe," Gov. Butch Otter said. The constitution "directs this board ... toward maintaining the long-term financial best interest of the beneficiaries, all the beneficiaries. ... I believe that's one of the reasons the fund was created, so that we…

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The Idaho Land Board debates a school funding proposal on Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

Luna: Move is 'prudent and responsible'

Idaho's public school shortfall was $135 million when he addressed JFAC, Supt. Tom Luna told his fellow Land Board members, but now it's grown to as much as $160 million. "Under the principles of trust law we as trustees can and often should consider what…

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Land Board meeting starts...

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has laryngitis, so a deputy was allowed to sit with him to help him communicate. "The attorney general as you know is a lawyer and has lost his voice," Gov. Butch Otter declared to laughter, prompting Secretary of State Ben…

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There's a full house for the Idaho Land Board meeting on Wednesday, at which the state's top elected officials will vote on a school funding proposal. (Betsy Russell)

Full house for Land Board today...

There's a full house this afternoon for the Land Board meeting, at which the state's top five elected officials - the governor, the secretary of state, the attorney general, the state controller, and the state superintendent of schools - will vote on a proposal to…

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'Trying to neck this thing down'

The House Majority Caucus just wrapped up a 35-minute closed-door meeting, and topics covered include the question of a cost-of-living adjustment for PERSI; the Land Board's upcoming vote on education funding this afternoon; the budgeting timetable for the session; and the need to submit bills…

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Lawmakers congratulate courts on surcharge idea

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, told state courts Administrative Director Patti Tobias, "My congratulations on bringing forth the concept of a surcharge to provide additional revenue for a critical function of the state." He asked if the judiciary had any more ideas along those lines.…

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Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, presents the governor's office budget to legislative budget writers on Wednesday. Hammon noted that if Otter is re-elected, the state would save $15,000 that otherwise would go to transition costs after the gubernatorial election. (Betsy Russell)

Budget: State saves $15K if Otter re-elected 

Wayne Hammon, the governor's budget chief, presented the budgets for the governor's office and the Division of Financial Management to JFAC today. "The office of the governor is a lean operation," he told lawmakers. But, he said, "The vast majority of the costs within the…

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Henderson: Raise boat sticker fees? 

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said Idaho certainly shouldn't back away from its anti-invasive species efforts, but he asked state Ag Director Celia Gould if her department has considered increasing fees for boat stickers and other programs to allow the efforts to "continue at full…

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Another day of news...

Here are links to my full story from today's Spokesman-Review on the introduction yesterday of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's state-tribal law enforcement bill; my full story on the passage of the "Idaho Health Freedom Act" on a party-line vote in the Idaho House; and my…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 9, 2010

Mike Ferguson, the governor's chief economist, briefs the House Democratic Caucus about the latest state tax revenue figures. They showed another shortfall in January, but Ferguson said the number is misleading because of a timing change in tax filings, and the state's revenues appear to be on forecast. (Betsy Russell)

Ferguson: Forecast is still good

Gov. Butch Otter's chief economist, Mike Ferguson, says there's nothing in the January revenue figures that would persuade him to adjust his forecast for state revenue for the current year or next year - as he did both last year and the year before. "You…

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Bill Roden, lobbyist for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, presents the tribe's law-enforcement legislation to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The committee voted unanimously to introduce the bill. (Betsy Russell)

House Judiciary introduces CdA Tribe bill

The House Judiciary Committee has voted unanimously to introduce legislation proposed by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe regarding cooperative agreements between tribal police and local sheriffs. "I'm in the dark here on how all this works, and I would like to know more about that," said…

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AARP: 'A vote against the people of Idaho' 

The Idaho AARP has released a strongly worded statement condemning today's House vote in favor of HB 391, the "Idaho Health Freedom Act," headed, "Idaho House moves state closer to health care disaster." In its statement, the group said the bill could cost Idaho millions…

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Speaker: 'Tempers are getting shorter'

House Speaker Lawerence Denney said after today's stormy House debate on health care reform, "I've been expecting something to come up. There's a lot of stress, and tempers are getting shorter. ... I hope that that's the hardest one that we have to do." Denney…

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Bill passes, 52-18 

HB 391, the Idaho Health Freedom Act, has passed the House on a 52-18 vote - a straight party-line vote, with all Republicans voting in favor, and all Democrats voting against. Shortly before the vote, Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, began her debate for the bill…

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House debates 'Health Freedom' bill

Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, spoke against HB 391. "This bill fails to look at unintended and possibly long-term consequences," she said, and would require the state to spend thousands to go to court to fight health care reform requirements. "How can we justify that,…

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Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, argues in favor of the Idaho Health Freedom Act in the House on Tuesday. (Betsy Russell)

Luker: 'Extreme deviation from constitution' 

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, co-sponsor of the "Idaho Health Freedom Act," told the House, "As Idahoans we are a freedom-loving people and this particular bill deals with that freedom. This bill is very narrowly drafted, it deals with one issue and that is mandatory health…

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Eye On Boise

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

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