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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, AUG. 26, 2004

School lawsuit decision

You can read the Idaho Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion on the school facilities case on the Internet. The 17-page opinion is actually pretty clear and straightforward – it says when the Legislature tried get out of the long-running school lawsuit by passing a law essentially…

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TUESDAY, AUG. 24, 2004

Look where it got them

Here's something interesting: Just two of the North Idaho Panhandle's state legislators had perfect scores on the ratings of voting records this year by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the state's most influential business lobby. IACI is used to lawmakers agreeing with it.…

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FRIDAY, AUG. 13, 2004

Two-ring political circus

In Boise, you can hardly tell there's a presidential race on -- there are no ads and little fuss, since Idaho's handful of electoral votes are virtually guaranteed to go to the Republican candidate.But just six hours to the west, where I headed for a…

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MONDAY, AUG. 2, 2004

Just what they deserve

Really, it was just a typo, and not a commentary that seven southwestern Idaho counties that got a health care grant didn’t deserve it. But with a single “r” mysteriously missing, a press release today from the state Department of Health & Welfare does, in…

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FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2004

Chartering a perfect score

Though recent state test results show 10th graders lagging in math across the state – on the same test they have to pass to graduate – boosters of the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy are pointing proudly to their 10th grade scores.On this spring’s Idaho Standards…

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Legislative comeback?

Gino White was one of the Legislature’s youngest members when he represented the Silver Valley from 1987 to 1994. Now, White’s making another bid for a comeback from Boise.The Democrat ran two years ago against moderate Republican Sen. Cecil Ingram of Boise, getting 46.4 percent…

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FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2004

The scene in Riyadh

When Sami Al-Hussayen arrived in Saudi Arabia, “There was a big crowd at the airport - friends, family, kids running everywhere, flowers, TV cameras, people yelling in joy - apparently total bedlam,” said David Nevin, Al-Hussayen’s Boise attorney, who received a happy call from his…

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In the dark of night

The Canyon County Jail confirms that Sami Al-Hussayen was released this morning - at 3:36 a.m. It’s apparently not uncommon for immigration authorities to pick up their detainees in the middle of the night. The jail generally has no advance notice of such movements.

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TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2004

Remembering a governor

It was with great ceremony that the body of three-term Idaho Gov. Robert E. Smylie was brought to lie in state in the Capitol this evening. First, a huge cannon in the park across from the Statehouse fired a deafening 19-gun salute, the prescribed number…

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MONDAY, JULY 19, 2004

Pain in the governor

There’s some déjà vu in the Idaho state capitol, as Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s recent back surgery has cleared up intense pain the governor had been suffering and left him far more comfortable. It’s a reminder of the previous administration, when then-Gov. Phil Batt had surgery…

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Right all along?

North Idaho Rep. Wayne Meyer says a series of court decisions, including Friday’s appeals court decision invalidating Idaho’s parental-consent abortion law, prove he was right all along. Meyer opposed the consent law when it passed in 2000, but he said the vote that brought him…

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TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2004

It's worth how much?

Let’s say the state endowment is earning $10 a year from a lease for sheep grazing on a parcel of state-owned land. The endowment, of course, benefits public schools and other state institutions. Now, let’s say that land happens to lie near Sun Valley, in…

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MONDAY, JULY 12, 2004

The state most affected

So why did U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman travel all the way to the Idaho state capitol in Boise today to announce the Bush Administration’s new version of the roadless rule?“This is a state that is the most affected state by the roadless rule…

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Time served a factor

U.S. Attorney Tom Moss said his decision not to retry Sami Al-Hussayen on immigration charges came in part because the possible penalty likely wouldn’t have exceeded the 16 months the student already has spent in jail. Even with a conviction and new jail sentence, with…

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Sami's going home

Federal prosecutors have struck a deal with attorneys for Sami Al-Hussayen: They’ll drop the remaining immigration charges against the University of Idaho graduate student, and he’ll drop his appeal of a deportation order and agree to be deported back home to Saudi Arabia.“I think he…

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TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2004

He Otter know

Congressman Butch Otter said today that he voted against this year’s transportation bill because it didn’t streamline the environmental permitting process for road projects. “It’s still taking us 15 years in order to build a bridge in New Jersey,” he told the Boise Metro Chamber…

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MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2004

Preston back in race against Otter

Democrat Naomi Preston, who earlier had dropped out of her election challenge to GOP Rep. Butch Otter, says she’s back in the race.Democrats had planned to choose a new challenger for the two-term congressman at their state convention over the weekend, but a few days…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2004

No decision yet on charges

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boise hasn’t reached a decision yet on whether to retry Sami Al-Hussayen on eight remaining immigration charges, and announced this morning that a decision likely will take “a little more time, a few more days.”Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho graduate…

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TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2004

They'll decide on Friday

Federal prosecutors plan to meet on Friday, and decide whether to retry Sami Al-Hussayen on the eight remaining immigration charges. Al-Hussayen was acquitted of three similar immigration charges and three terrorism charges by a unanimous jury after an eight-week trial, but the jury deadlocked on…

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MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2004

The bigger picture

An article over the weekend by reporter Rick Schmitt in the Los Angeles Times includes this insight about Sami Al-Hussayen’s acquittal on terrorism charges:“The verdicts point up a little-known reality of the Justice Department’s war on terror since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: While…

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Moss praises jurors

U.S. Attorney for Idaho Tom Moss said he was surprised and disappointed by Sami Al-Hussayen’s acquittal on terrorism charges, “but we accept it.”“I think the ladies and gentlemen on the jury did a good job,” Moss said. “They were very attentive throughout the trial. I…

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First Amendment message

David Nevin, lead defense attorney for Sami Al-Hussayen, said as he left the courthouse that he thinks Al-Hussayen's acquittal on terrorism charges sends a message."I hope the message is that the First Amendment is important and meaningful in this country, and actions protected by the…

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Just speculation

Here’s some speculation, since there’s no way to really know. The Sami Al-Hussayen jury has had only three questions for the court that interrupted its deliberations thus far. Could the questions provide a clue to which charges they’ve decided, and which they’re still debating? It’s…

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What could it mean?

Scott McKay, left, Chuck Peterson and David Nevin, defense attorneys for Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, discuss the latest developments in the case just after the jury announced that it’s reached a unanimous verdict on some of the counts, but is at an impasse on the rest.…

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Eye On Boise

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