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Eye On Boise

Denney: Hart one of ‘hardest-working’ reps; Hart decries ‘over-reach’ of tax laws

House Speaker Lawerence Denney's announcement of his decision to remove Rep. Phil Hart from the House Tax Committee says he made the decision because Hart himself, in an Oct. 29 letter, asked him to do so. "Representative Hart was duly elected by the people in his district to represent them in Boise," Denney said in his announcement. "Phil's one of the hardest-working members of the House and, I believe, he'll continue to be responsive to his constituents while serving on another committee."

Hart, in his Oct. 29 letter to Denney, said it was "with real sadness" that he asked for a different committee assignment. "I continue in my passionate belief that we must fight the over-reach of government through its power to tax," Hart wrote. "However, the developments of the past several months have created a rather toxic environment for me and members of the House. I fear that my continued service on this committee would only serve to provide fodder to members of the media and my political opponents."

Denney also said in his announcement that he'll appoint a new ethics committee to look into Hart's conduct "as soon as possible." You can read both Denney's announcement and Hart's letter here, and my full story here. Also, you can read a statement from Hart here, issued this evening, saying he voluntarily stepped down from the tax committee and that his move "precludes any action by Denney" to remove him.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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