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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2012

THURSDAY, JAN. 12, 2012

AP: Otter backtracks on exchange claim 

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter now says he misspoke when he said Idaho risks losing $300 million in federal matching funds for the state's Medicaid program if it doesn't set up a state-run health insurance exchange. Idaho could lose that money if it fails to complete…

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The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee considers its first spending on Thursday: $4 million to cover firefighting costs from the forest and range fire season. (Betsy Russell)

This year's state fire-season cost: $4 million

Each year, lawmakers have to authorize payment for costs that have been run up fighting forest and range fires on state lands. This morning, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved $4 million in fire deficiency warrants, the first state spending the budget committee has approved so…

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Understanding the health insurance exchange...

For a simple, easy-to-understand explanation of the state health insurance exchange issue in a Q-and-A format, check out this report today from Idaho Statesman business reporter Audrey Dutton. Among the questions it answers: What is a health exchange, how would it work, why is it…

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PERSI has had 'two good years of returns' 

The Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, PERSI, "has experienced two good years of returns and we're cautiously optimistic about the future," PERSI executive director Don Drum told legislative budget writers this morning. "Fiscal year 2011 was a very successful year for PERSI. ... We…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 2012

Economic Outlook meeting delayed to Jan. 24

The Legislature's joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee has put off its scheduled Thursday meeting, resetting it instead for Jan. 24. "The chairmen asked that we reschedule," said legislative staffer Keith Bybee. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, co-chairman of the panel, said, "We decided…

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McGee: 'I'm really ashamed' 

Some expected Sen. John McGee to apologize to the Senate when he rose during today's session, but McGee told Eye on Boise, "My family was sitting up there. I was much more focused on, we had just got done with that caucus meeting. That was…

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McGee retains GOP leadership post

Senate GOP Caucus Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, retained his leadership post today after a closed-door caucus in which GOP senators voted on whether or not to oust him after a bizarre drunken driving incident. It took nearly two hours, with the overlong caucus pushing back…

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Senate GOP caucusing on McGee

Senate Republicans have gone behind closed doors to discuss whether Idaho Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee should continue in his leadership role after a bizarre incident that included a DUI conviction; here's a link to a full report from AP reporter John Miller on…

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State worker salaries now lag market 18.6% 

The last time the Legislature funded raises for state employees was in fiscal year 2009, state Division of Human Resources head Vicki Tokita told legislative budget writers this morning. As a result, state worker salaries now lag 18.6 percent behind market rates, up from 15…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 10, 2012

Simpson names campaign finance chairs

2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson has announced four regional finance chairmen for his re-election campaign; they are: Kirk Sullivan, Damond Watkins, Doug Sayer and Mitch Watkins. You can read his full announcement here. Simpson, a Republican, is a seven-term congressman and a former speaker of…

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AP: For leverage, Dems threaten voting with GOP right 

As the 61st Idaho Legislature's second regular session lurches into gear, AP reporter John Miller reports today on an odd prospect: That the most-liberal members of the House Democratic caucus could vote with the most-conservative Republicans against creating a state-run health insurance exchange. Click below…

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