Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise


Whats-his-name approved

The state Senate was unanimous in confirming three North Idaho appointees to the Lake Pend Oreille/Priest Lake Commission on Wednesday, but Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, had to set them straight on pronouncing attorney Ford Elsaesser's name.Lt. Gov. Jim Risch first said it ee-lasser. Then, the…

Continue reading this post »

Hot under the dome

It's only the fourth week of the legislative session, but tempers already are starting to flare in the Statehouse. So far this week, an angry Rep. Lenore Barrett threw a pencil after House Resources Chairman Bert Stevenson gaveled a meeting to an end before she…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, FEB. 3, 2004

Because we can

Senate Republicans held a nearly hour-long closed-door caucus Tuesday to talk about the state budget."There was no consensus of anything," said GOP Caucus Chairman Brad Little, R-Emmett. "It was, `Here's where we are, and think about it.' "Added Little, "One of the most important jobs…

Continue reading this post »

A busy man

Former state GOP Chairman Blake Hall is the only one who gives not one, but two full presentations to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.First, Hall addressed the influential joint budget committee as the president of the State Board of Education. Then, this week, he went before…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, FEB. 2, 2004

Nothing political here

Nine legislators lined up behind anti-abortion activists on Monday to promote new legislation they plan to introduce to expand Idaho's existing informed-consent law for abortion. The new measure would, among other things, more strongly require doctors to give women detailed information about fetal development and…

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, JAN. 30, 2004

No, I mean yes

Because Sen. Brad Little, R-Emmett, has been out for surgery, Carlos Bilbao has been filling in for him for the opening weeks of the session. On Friday, Bilbao sponsored his first bill in the Senate, offering arguments to other senators in favor of passing SB…

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, JAN. 29, 2004

Ambitious debate

Senators got a little testy when they were debating confirmation of Phil Reberger, a top GOP operative and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s former longtime chief of staff, to the Idaho Judicial Council. The council selects and disciplines judges. Sen. Mike Burkett, D-Boise, said the appointment would…

Continue reading this post »

One state off

When a van showed up to ferry lawmakers to an Association of Idaho Cities luncheon on Thursday, it was plastered with magnetic AIC logos, but instead of “Famous Potatoes,” the license plates said - oops - “Ski Utah.”

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28, 2004

Rolaids for Reagan

The House State Affairs Committee was so enthusiastic about a resolution to declare "Ronald Reagan Day" on Feb. 6, the day the former GOP president will turn 93, that the panel decided to send the bill to the full House without even waiting for a…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, JAN. 27, 2004

Just cut something else

Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, has long been a big booster of technology investments for schools, and has pushed for funding each year in the joint budget committee. So Richardson was understandably miffed that Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's budget for next year would slash $5 million…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, JAN. 26, 2004

Protest, terrorism, same thing?

Idaho's current anti-terrorism law goes too far, according to Sen. Mike Burkett, D-Boise, defining terrorism so broadly that it could include someone marching in a Martin Luther King Day demonstration. "I think this statute is just too broad," Burkett, an attorney, told the Senate Judiciary…

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, JAN. 23, 2004

On the defensive

Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, probably isn't going to go ahead this year with his bill to set up a state-sanctioned legal defense fund for farmers. "The ag community's really not that enthusiastic about going forward, so at this time I'm just going to have it…

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, JAN. 22, 2004

They're partying

Former state Rep. David Bieter, a Boise Democrat, returned to the House on Thursday to address the chamber not as a member, but as the newly elected mayor of Boise.After a warm welcome, he told the assembled representatives, "I have been waiting an awful long…

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21, 2004

A bit of overstatement?

St. Maries Rep. Dick Harwood surprised everyone in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday when he followed up on a question about the DEQ budget by launching into a little speech, complete with statistics."Back in 1975, Shoshone County generated almost 27 percent of the state's…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, JAN. 20, 2004

No proximate detracting here

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis is known for holding forth at great length, in intricate lawyer's language that's not easily quoted. So in typical fashion, the Idaho Falls Republican announced after long months of reflection Tuesday that he's made a decision on whether to run…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, JAN. 19, 2004

Eat up then

Here's how North Idaho College student body president Joel Crane characterized the NIC/CSI lunch with local legislators this week: "You're getting the benefit of free food, and we're getting the benefit of getting to know our legislators."To which an eastern Idaho senator muttered, "We're getting…

Continue reading this post »

Small slogan, big gain

Idaho has a ton of special license plates for cars to commemorate this and that, but Sen. Kent Bailey, R-Hayden, may be the first to propose a special plate for motorcycles."I love firsts," Bailey chuckled.Of course, there's not much room on the little motorcycle plate…

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, JAN. 16, 2004

Not really that far apart

Though legislators were quick to decry Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's revenue projections for next year as overly optimistic, they really didn't depart much from them when they set their own estimate, which provides a basis for budget-setting. Plus, the Joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee…

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, JAN. 15, 2004

Will they or won't they?

State employees are waiting to hear if they'll get raises next year, after being stiffed two straight years by state lawmakers. The joint legislative committee that'll review Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's recommendation for a 2 percent merit raise had been tentatively scheduled to meet, and possibly…

Continue reading this post »

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 14, 2004

Statehouse inmates visit big house

Twenty-eight Idaho legislators went on a tour of three state prisons this week, entering a stark, cramped, empty two-person cell, visiting with some of the inmates, and getting baleful glares from those on Death Row through the small windows in their cell doors.(In photo, from…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, JAN. 13, 2004

Stop that ringing

After at least one loud, jangling cell phone went off during the prayer that opened the joint session of the Legislature on Monday night for the State of the State address, House Speaker Bruce Newcomb brandished the heavy wooden gavel he uses to call the…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2004

The Idaho-Mongolia connection

As Idaho's lawmakers convened their session, they were joined by a delegation of government officials from - where else? - Mongolia. House Speaker Bruce Newcomb got to play the diplomat, as he told the group, "Of course we're always interested in how other governments work,…

Continue reading this post »

Lawmakers clash

When Sen. Edgar Malepeai accompanied a delegation from the Senate to the House to report that the chamber was ready for business, House Speaker Bruce Newcomb expressed doubts about whether Malepeai's attire met the House dress code. But the bright-awful-orange shirt, clashing orange tie, and…

Continue reading this post »

FRIDAY, JAN. 9, 2004

Who's afraid of the big mad cow?

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (shown at right with U.S. Rep. Butch Otter, R-Idaho) bit into a freshly barbecued, juicy-hot double hamburger at a beef rally across from the state Capitol on Friday, and encouraged Idahoans to keep eating beef, despite a mad cow scare in…

Continue reading this post »

Eight miles, more bucks

Acting University of Idaho President Gary Michael charmed a joint legislative committee on employee compensation with his wit and business knowledge from his many years as CEO of the Albertson's grocery store chain. But he also had some tough news for the lawmakers: UI is…

Continue reading this post »

Eye On Boise

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