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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter vetoes four bills, including bipartisan civil asset forfeiture reform measure

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter broke out his big, red “VETO” stamp yesterday, vetoing four bills: Two regarding funding a new policy adviser in the governor’s office for invasive species, to the tune of $142,700; one that was a hard-fought compromise in the Legislature on changes to cosmetology licensing; and one that was widely supported bipartisan legislation on civil asset forfeiture reform.

Otter said the invasive species administrator in the governor’s office wasn’t needed, and he issued an executive order to formalize the work of the Invasive Species Council, which the new position would have overseen. He said the state Department of Agriculture, which got a big budget increase this year specifically for the effort to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of Idaho, should continue to oversee that push.

Otter was highly critical of the cosmetology bill, HB 139, which he said in his veto message departed from proposals from stakeholders and was developed “without input from interested parties or due regard for the health, safety and welfare of the public. Idahoans deserve better.”

On civil asset forfeiture, the governor insisted there’s no problem in Idaho to fix, but lawmakers and news reports suggested otherwise. Among the reforms in the bipartisan bill, HB 202a, was preventing the seizure of cash from people who haven’t been charged with a crime. Otter cited law enforcement opposition to the bill.

Idaho Public TV reporter Melissa Davlin first reported the news of the four vetoes on her “Idaho Reports” blog; you can read her full report here.

Otter’s office had posted on its website yesterday the 49 bills that he’d signed into law that day, but made no mention of the vetoes. Jon Hanian, Otter’s press secretary, said in an email this morning, “I was instructed not to post them until we informed all of the sponsors which was ongoing into yesterday evening. That is in keeping with the governor’s long-held view that he wants to make sure lawmakers hear from him that their legislation was vetoed, instead of learning about it in the press.”

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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