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Eye On Boise archive for April 2011

MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2011

In the hallway of the Senate chamber, empty cardboard boxes are piled up Monday evening - a sure sign that the end of Idaho's 2011 legislative session is approaching. The boxes are for lawmakers and staffers to pack their things in when they leave the Statehouse at the end of the session.
 (Betsy Russell)

Boxes appear, end of session near...

In the hallway of the Senate chamber, empty cardboard boxes are piled up - a sure sign that the end of Idaho's 2011 legislative session is approaching. The boxes are for lawmakers and staffers to pack their things in when they leave the Statehouse at…

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More than 60 people came to an informational hearing called by House Democrats Monday on legislation to raise Idaho's cigarette tax by $1.25 a pack; the minority scheduled its own hearing on the bill after majority Republicans refused to set an official hearing. (Betsy Russell)

Big turnout for Dems' cig tax hearing...

There's a big turnout this afternoon at the informational hearing that House Democrats are holding on legislation to increase Idaho's cigarette tax - more than 60 people are in the room, and there are people testifying both for and against the bill. Practically the entire…

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House passes Health & Welfare budget bill

The House has voted 49-20 in favor of HB 341, the Health & Welfare budget bill, after a debate that mostly featured objections to the big budget bill, which incorporates numerous smaller pieces that were debated separately in JFAC. House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston,…

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House, Senate both recess 'til 3 p.m.

The House and Senate have now both recessed until 3 p.m., the House doing so just after sponsor Rep. Fred Wood's lengthy opening explanation of HB 341, the Health & Welfare budget bill. Debate on that measure will continue this afternoon when the House reconvenes.

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House takes up Health & Welfare budget

The House is taking up the Health & Welfare budget, HB 341, a huge and complicated budget that includes the Medicaid program. Overall, it totals $564.8 million in state general funds next year, a 29.5 percent increase, but that's largely because of a drop in…

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Compromise energy bill may be split in two...

The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced a new bill this morning, as a result of concerns that the compromise bill on renewable energy tax rebates, HB 337, includes multiple subjects. That bill already has passed the House, but hasn't had a Senate committee hearing. Sen.…

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Bill would expand GARVEE bonding...

Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, has persuaded the Senate State Affairs Committee to introduce a bill - though he said he doesn't plan to proceed further with it this year - to issue additional GARVEE bonds to upgrade ailing Idaho bridges. The measure calls for issuing…

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Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, presents HB 298, that latest anti-health care reform law after out-and-out "nullification" bills failed, to the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning; the bill cleared the panel on a divided voice vote. (Betsy Russell)

Anti-health care reform bill clears Senate panel 

HB 298, the bill that's being referred to as the "grandson of nullification," has passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on a rather unenthusiastic, divided voice vote. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation; and a citizen who…

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FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2011

House Chief Clerk Bonnie Alexander reads the full text of a 25-page bill on catastrophic health care on Wednesday, after House Democrats made good on their threat to slow down House action until majority Republicans allow a hearing on two bills the Dems support: A $1.25 cigarette tax increase, and a measure calling for an advisory vote of the people on this year's school reforms. (Betsy Russell)

The week that was...

On tonight's “Idaho Reports” on Idaho Public Television, I join Dr. Jim Weatherby and Idaho Press-Tribune Editor Vickie Holbrook, along with host Greg Hahn, to discuss the events of the week, and Greg interviews Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill and House Speaker Lawerence Denney, along…

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Lawmakers on wolves: It's an emergency! 

That hastily called meeting of the House Ways & Means Committee today? It was to introduce two bills: One on wind turbine siting restrictions (see item below), and one declaring a wolf disaster. Here's what AP reporter John Miller reports on the wolf emergency bill:…

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Hawkins pushes wind turbine siting bill

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Wind farms would be forbidden within two miles of a residential property without the owner's permission, according to a measure that proposes strict new limits on where the tall turbines could be built.…

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Ah, the ugliness... 

Perhaps I should explain. There's a long tradition among the Statehouse press corps that when they deem the session has gone on long enough, they begin donning ugly ties in an effort to so shock and horrify the legislators that they'll wrap up their business…

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Eye On Boise

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



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