On other pieces of HB 312a, there was much discussion in the conference committee this morning about the addition of a provision to phase in a change in taxing of gaseous fuels, like those for liquid natural gas power buses. Gov. Butch Otter recently allowed a bill on that to become law without his signature, citing several concerns; this change would address his concerns. In a straw poll by raised hands, the conference committee split 4-2 in favor of that amendment – but didn’t have a majority from each house, as both Reps. John Vander Woude and Joe Palmer opposed it. Sen. Roy Lacey noted that it’s a small enough amount of money to be negligible; but the conference committee moved on, setting that issue aside.
There’s also been much discussion on the House’s desire to split any new funds 60-40 between the Idaho Transportation Department and local highway districts, leaving out the small slices that now go to the Idaho State Police and others. “I would observe that we don’t have agreement on that portion of it,” Brackett said. “We’ll put a hold on that.”