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Eye On Boise


On the menu: Grilled governor

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne expects a "short, productive legislative session," he told the Idaho Press Club today. With reporters jammed into a local Mexican restaurant for the governor's annual luncheon talk, Kempthorne defended his campaign finances, declined to threaten any vetos in the interest of working…

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3rd term for Kempthorne?

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne opened the door today to the possibility of running for a third term - something he's been saying for years he wouldn't do."Ask me next year," Kempthorne told reporters after a news conference in his office. "Today, I don't have plans to…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2004

Clark Fork fix

Hard feelings over the University of Idaho's decision to dump its Clark Fork Field Campus without consulting the community first bubbled over into a bill this week.But when Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, joined Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Rep. John Campbell, R-Sandpoint, to propose the…

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No new name

Plans to change the name of the huge Department of Health and Welfare to Health and Social Services fell one vote short in the Senate this week, amid protests about the $30,000 cost to change signs and listings that have the old name.Backers, led by…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 26, 2004

Getting results

Just before the House Revenue & Taxation Committee met on Thursday, a committee member, at the urging of her fellow lawmakers, straightened a painting of a historic downtown Boise scene that hangs on the hearing room wall."It needs to go a little bit down on…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25, 2004

Barking and biting

The anti-vicious dog bill being pushed by Rep. George Eskridge and Sen. Shawn Keough of District 1 along with the Boundary County commissioners ran into a little trouble on Wednesday. The head of the Idaho Humane Society and several others pointed out flaws in the…

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No gay marriage hearing

Sen. Sheila Sorensen, R-Boise, announced this morning that she has chosen not to schedule HJR 9, the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, for a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee, which she chairs."It's an emotional, contentious, divisive issue," Sorensen said. "Why do we…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 24, 2004

Lawmakers didn't want to hear about it

Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, and Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, are disappointed that their resolution on the Rock Creek Mine never got introduced this year.The two tried to persuade the House Resources Committee to introduce the resolution to call attention to the need to protect Lake…

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MONDAY, FEB. 23, 2004

Daughter makes a difference

Sen. Marti Calabretta's daughter, Rebecca Miller, visited the Statehouse on Monday and now the state library won't go a third year without any money to buy books or periodicals. At least that's how her mother tells it.Miller is a senior editor with Library Journal in…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 20, 2004

New look for lawmaker

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, is against letting anyone under age 14 get piercings, other than in the earlobe, or tattoos either. He supported a bill that includes the ban. Here, in a moment captured by Chuck Cathcart of Idaho Public TV, Davis…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 19, 2004

Their own hearing room

After a House committee refused to introduce their bill and schedule a public hearing on it, the Idaho Community Action Network set up its own "People's Hearing" on the steps of the state Capitol on Thursday. Complete with a podium and seats labeled with the…

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Lawmakers know best

Let’s say a style-conscious Idaho 13-year-old wants to have several piercings in her upper ear as well as her earlobe, and perhaps one in her eyebrow or navel too, and her parents are just fine with the idea. Idaho legislators say no way – that…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 18, 2004

Still in the Senate?

He may just be a freshman political science major at the University of Idaho, but Henry D. Johnston is tuned in. The student, who served as a House page last year, listens in via the Internet to House and Senate debates when he gets the…

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A burning question

Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, is working furiously on legislation to double the $1-per-acre fee for agricultural field burning - even though Meyer, a grass seed farmer himself, would then have to pay more.The reason? When the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, on which Meyer serves, passed a…

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MONDAY, FEB. 16, 2004

So did everyone

Halfway through the legislative session, the high school pages who help out with errands and such go home, and a new crop comes down to the Capitol. House Speaker Bruce Newcomb administered the oath of office to the second group of pages on Monday, and…

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Either way, it's free food and drink

Lobbying groups host receptions, luncheons and dinners for lawmakers so frequently that the elected officials may be taking the free grub for granted. Thus, this exchange overheard between a state senator and a companion last week:Senator: "I'm going to the retailers reception tonight."Companion: "You mean…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 13, 2004

He tried everything

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, had plenty of arguments to offer in favor of his bill to ban restaurant smoking during a passionate debate that ran for three hours in the Senate on Friday. Here's one that got a chuckle from other senators: Hill brandished a…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 12, 2004

It goes both ways

Just last week, the House Environmental Affairs Committee approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, and Roy Eiguren, lobbyist for Envirosafe, a southern Idaho hazardous waste dump, to match Idaho's "tipping fees" for hazardous waste to Oregon's. That meant lowering them.Now, in the…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 11, 2004

Tax credit wins support

Legislation to let donors to Children's Village in Coeur d'Alene in on a state income tax credit for contributions to youth rehab facilities had no trouble clearing the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Wednesday, and heading to the full House.The committee's vice chairman, Rep.…

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It's an election year

Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Skip Brandt, R-Kooskia, came right out with it when he was about to give his budget recommendations to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee:"I am gearing up for campaign season, so you may have to gavel me down to shut me up.…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 10, 2004

Plum panel plug pulled

The House had a little fun with HB 547, the measure to eliminate the state Prune Commission, which hasn't met for at least two decades."A once thriving Idaho industry ... has now shriveled up," intoned Rep. Allen Andersen, D-Pocatello. "Please join me in a moment…

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They like that

Dan John, tax policy manager for the Idaho Tax Commission, had a pretty easy sell when he pitched HB 537 to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Why? He was able to tell the committee this:"This will eliminate the filing of about 100,000 returns that…

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MONDAY, FEB. 9, 2004

Bills, bills, bills

The number of bills being filed in the Legislature has ballooned up to beyond last year’s level, after a slow start. Among the bills introduced just on Monday: Rathdrum Rep. Wayne Meyer’s legislation to require community college boards to cooperate with local officials like county…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 5, 2004

One time only

Loose talk around the Capitol says the new constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriage is written so broadly that it could be read as banning second and third marriages for heterosexuals, too. Here's the wording - decide for yourself:MARRIAGE. Only marriage between one man…

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Eye On Boise

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