The Senate State Affairs Committee, in a brief meeting held in the conference room of the Senate president pro-tem’s office, has agreed to introduce a resolution setting up a new study committee to examine broadband services for Idaho schools and report back to the Legislative Council. The vote was unanimous, though some senators gulped at the suggestion that the committee could cost between $10,000 and $200,000 – the higher figure to come if the panel decides it needs to hire a “facilitator” to develop a new Request for Proposals for statewide service. Nevertheless, the panel unanimously agreed to introduce the measure; the committee would be appointed by the Legislative Council. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, said the resolution was crafted by members of majority leadership from the House and Senate.
The committee also approved HB 324, the new version of Rep. Linden Bateman’s bill to raise fines for open meeting law violations, after amendments to the earlier version had a drafting error; and HB 328, regarding publishing and distribution of session laws. Committee Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said it was “just like the good old days,” referring to when lawmakers held their committee meetings in tiny, cramped meeting rooms on the 4th floor of the Capitol, and onlookers had to crowd in.