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Eye On Boise

FRIDAY, FEB. 18, 2005

First ethics panel in 15 years

History was made in the Idaho Senate today, as a six-senator ethics committee convened to consider a complaint against Sen. Jack Noble, R-Kuna. Noble introduced a bill to rewrite a section of state liquor laws to permit his own convenience store to sell liquor, even…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 17, 2005

Charge 'em room and board?

About 100 Idaho prison inmates each year refuse parole, opting instead to serve out their full terms and get out with no conditions or oversight. State Commission on Pardons and Parole Director Olivia Craven told JFAC this morning that offenders need treatment programs to change…

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Not really pretty flowers

Jim Caswell, head of Idaho’s office of species conservation, brought a big vase of what looked like colorful flowers with him to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning – but it was actually plastic reproductions of various noxious weeds that are found in Idaho. “This…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 16, 2005

Lawmakers want depot shut down

Four state legislators from Kootenai County issued a joint statement this morning calling for the entire Burlington-Northern refueling depot to be voluntarily shut down until all problems are corrected. The statement was in response to a leak in one of the depot’s three main fueling…

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MONDAY, FEB. 14, 2005

They want northern hearings

Idaho Democrats are calling for hearings in North Idaho on the water rights agreement with the Nez Perce Tribe. Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, said, “The judge’s gag order shut out the people’s opportunity to participate in the settlement, and now the people’s voices will…

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Semanko throws hat in ring

Norm Semanko, executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association, says he’s running for the 1st District congressional seat that Butch Otter will vacate in two years. Otter announced even before he was sworn in for his current term that he’ll be leaving after this…

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North Idaho program won't change

Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, questioned whether expanding Idaho’s smoke-management program statewide would mean funding being funneled away from the North Idaho program. The program, which requires farmers to register their fields in advance of field-burning and to burn only when weather conditions are favorable, now…

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Job one is helping industry

If anyone had any doubts about the attitude of the state’s Department of Agriculture, which has been charged in recent years with key roles in regulating such issues as field-burning and dairy odor, Director Pat Takasugi put them to rest today as he concluded his…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 10, 2005

'The provisions of this bull are...'

Word is still going around about a one-letter typo in the Statement of Purpose on the bill that the Idaho Association of Counties introduced yesterday, to deny most county-funded indigent medical care to illegal aliens.Dan Chadwick, head of the association, didn’t have the typo in…

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Helen's back on the scene

Legislation approving the Nez Perce water rights agreement was introduced in the House Resources Committee this afternoon, with a standing-room-only crowd in attendance. Among those looking on: Former U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage.After three bills to implement the agreement were introduced on 16-1, 15-2 and 15-2…

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And for our next number...

Idaho State Police Chief Dan Charboneau introduced some of his staff before he started his annual budget presentation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning. Next to him sat Rick Ohnsman at the computer, operating the Powerpoint presentation.“To my left, playing the keyboards, is our…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 8, 2005

Now that's non-controversial

The Senate is “rolling votes” – using the same unanimous roll call repeatedly, in order to save time while passing non-controversial bills. But on the last one, Senate President Pro-tem Bob Geddes may have gotten a little overenthusiastic. He initially reported that without objection, SB…

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MONDAY, FEB. 7, 2005

Closed caucus discusses state budget

Idaho Republican senators went behind closed doors today for about an hour to discuss the state budget – specifically, a shortfall in the public school budget that’s anticipated this year because enrollment is up higher than anticipated.Often, enrollment falls short of projections, leaving extra money…

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It finally surfaces

Now that we’re into the fifth week of the legislative session, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s big tax-incentive package to attract corporate headquarters to Idaho is going to be unveiled. “The long-awaited corporate incentive bill from the governor’s office has arrived,” House Tax Chairman Dolores Crow told…

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Not saying they're sorry

House Tax Chairman Dolores Crow issued a warning to her committee this morning: “From now on, it’s crunch time,” she said. “We will be getting a lot of bills.” She warned lawmakers that if they see a proposal they don’t support, “for heaven’s sake don’t…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 4, 2005

Idahoans hate those fax ads

The biggest complaint from Idaho consumers to the Attorney General’s consumer protection office in the past year was about unsolicited fax ads – by far. Of the 4,078 consumer complaints the office received in 2004 – the highest number since 1998 – 2,726 were about…

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She worked there 14 years ago

When new state Environmental Quality Director Toni Hardesty came before the Senate Health & Welfare Committee for a confirmation hearing, Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, zeroed right in on one line in Hardesty’s resume.“I have some concerns – you’ve come from Region 10 of EPA,” Broadsword…

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Court saga continues

After a two-hour hearing, the Senate State Affairs Committee today voted 5-4 for a resolution calling for tearing down the historic Ada County Courthouse across from the state Capitol and replacing it with a new building – a measure the same panel had rejected last…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 1, 2005

Are these two guys related?

Not sure how much Idaho Senate President Pro-tem Robert Geddes, R-Soda Springs, has in common with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. But the buzz in the Statehouse is that the two kind of look alike…

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MONDAY, JAN. 31, 2005

Courthouse remodel goes down

After a debate that ran well into the lunch hour, the Idaho Senate defeated SCR 102, the bill to remodel the old Ada County Courthouse, on a 16-18 vote. Sen. Hal Bunderson, R-Meridian, led the opposition, arguing that a remodeled version of the historic structure…

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Just think what they could do

Beautiful, startling images of Idaho’s landscape, wildlife and people soared across the display screens as Idaho Public Television General Manager Peter Morrill presented his budget request and an update on IPTV to legislative budget writers. But there was also a caricatured image of Morrill that…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 28, 2005

Marriage amendment clears committee

After a hearing that stretched for more than three hours and saw dozens of people give heartfelt testimony on both sides, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 – with no discussion at all – to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 27, 2005

Two girls for every boy...

North Idaho College President Michael Burke has been making the rounds of legislative committees, giving his budget pitch to JFAC this morning and briefing the House and Senate education committees yesterday. At the Senate Ed Committee, he revealed that NIC’s enrollment is now 63 percent…

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Dueling press conferences?

How could this happen? Groups both opposing and supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment have scheduled press conferences today – both at noon, both on the second floor of the state Capitol, both apparently unaware that the other will be there, too.The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 26, 2005

One's closed, the other's open

It’s happened again, for a second day in a row. The House Majority Caucus met behind closed doors for about 45 minutes to discuss the state budget, including presentations from experts on various line items and how the budget works. At the same time, the…

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Eye On Boise

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