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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Betsy Z. Russell

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News >  Idaho

Gov. Batt Still A Major Roadblock For Local Option Tax

North Idaho interests fought hard this year to win legislative approval of a bill to allow Kootenai County voters to decide whether to change their tax system - but the bill still faces a major hurdle. Gov. Phil Batt, within the next few days, could sign the bill into law, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

News >  Idaho

Batt Vetoes Regulation For Alternate Medicine

Gov. Phil Batt on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have registered practitioners of alternate medicine like acupuncturists, herbalists and naturopaths. The Senate attempted to override the veto, but was only able to summon 15 of the necessary 24 votes. "It's a difficult subject to regulate," Batt said. "Maybe they can come back with something better." In his veto message, Batt wrote, "Depending on one's point of view, this bill either goes too far or does not go far enough." Supporters of the bill argued on the Senate floor Thursday that a third of Idahoans use alternate forms of health care, which Idaho now doesn't regulate at all. Referring to acupuncturists, Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, said, "They don't know which ones have been trained, and which ones bought a set of needles." The bill would have required acupuncturists, herbal therapists, naturopaths, homeopaths and massage therapists to register with the state and disclose their training. Their registration could be revoked for practicing outside their area of training. But opponents said that didn't go far enough to protect the public. In the vote to override the veto, North Idaho Sens. Gordon Crow, R-Hayden; Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d'Alene, and Tim Tucker, D-Porthill, voted yes. Opposing the override attempt were Sens. Clyde Boatright, R-Rathdrum, and Marguerite McLaughlin, D-Orofino. The Senate also failed Thursday to override another veto, this one of a bill by Sen. Clint Stennett to allow counties to grant disabled or elderly people an additional property tax exemption. That bill, like the other one, had easily passed both houses of the Legislature. Stennett, D-Ketchum, contended that the governor's veto was retribution for Stennett's outspoken opposition to Batt's deal with the federal government on nuclear waste.
News >  Idaho

Highway 95 Repair Bill Withdrawn Rep. Hilde Kellogg Still Urges Repairs For North-South Route

Rep. Hilde Kellogg admitted defeat Thursday, and withdrew a bill calling for a statewide vote on a $300 million bond issue to repair Highway 95 from Canada to Oregon. But she urged lawmakers to continue to look at such innovative proposals for fixing Idaho's pressing problems, and noted that Idaho desperately needs to improve its major north-south route, on which 114 people died in traffic accidents between 1990 and 1994. "I do want to take just a moment to remember the people that have died on that highway," Kellogg told the state House. "There were many of them that I knew."
News >  Nation/World

Senate Oks Kootenai Resort Tax Bill Allows County Voters To Increase Sales Tax

With Kootenai County's state senators united behind it, the county's special resort tax proposal passed the Senate Tuesday on a 23-10 vote. The measure, sought by Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Kootenai County, allows the county's voters, by at least a 60 percent vote, to approve a local-option sales tax. At least half the proceeds would go to property tax relief.
News >  Idaho

Taxpayers To Pay Lost Income If Sign Removal Required Lawmakers Sign Off On Bill For Billboard Owners

Lawmakers gave final approval Monday to legislation requiring cities, counties and the state to pay billboard owners for their lost income if they require a billboard sign to be removed. Despite protests that the bill would make taxpayers pay millions of dollars for signs if a road has to be widened, the measure passed the House on a 60-9 vote. It had earlier passed the Senate, and now goes to the governor.
News >  Idaho

House Prescribes Order For Alternative Medicine

So many Idahoans are using unconventional forms of medicine, like acupuncture and herbal therapy, the state should start regulating the practices, lawmakers declared Wednesday. The House overwhelmingly gave final legislative approval to a bill to register acupuncturists, homeopaths, naturopaths, massage therapists and herbal therapists. The bill, which already passed the Senate, now goes to the governor. Practitioners sought the registration requirement, saying Idaho now has no way to stop unscrupulous practitioners.
News >  Idaho

Stigma Of Welfare Heckled State Workers Want Welfare Logos Taken Off Cars

State Health and Welfare workers have had rocks thrown at their cars. They've been threatened, heckled, harassed - even shot at, department official Joyce McRoberts told a House committee Monday. That's why the department has asked the Legislature to free it from a requirement that all its cars be labeled with logos on the doors.
News >  Idaho

Tax Swap Boosted To Panel

Kootenai County voters need the option of shifting part of their property taxes onto the sales tax, Post Falls Mayor Jim Hammond and county Commissioner Bob Macdonald told a Senate committee Monday. "I hope you'll give us that opportunity," Hammond said. "We need this type of tool, this opportunity to take local issues on and deal with them if that's what the people want," said Macdonald.
News >  Nation/World

Bill Gives Kootenai Tax Break Dorr Opposes Measure Cutting Property Taxes By $2.5 Million Because Liquor Profits Would Be Used

Kootenai County taxpayers would get a $2.5 million property tax break under a bill passed by the House Thursday over the objections of Rep. Tom Dorr. The measure would replace some of the property taxes that Kootenai, Jerome and Twin Falls county taxpayers pay for Idaho's two community colleges. It would shift $5 million from liquor profits that now go to the state general fund to the community colleges.
News >  Idaho

Bill Says Injuries Your Fault House Passes Measure Designed For Silverwood

Legislation designed to relieve Silverwood amusement park from possible lawsuits passed the House Thursday on a 35-33 vote. It goes to the Senate. Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, told lawmakers, "The intent ... is to increase the safety and enjoyment of the public at an amusement park. It talks about responsibility."