Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 48° Partly Cloudy

Betsy Z. Russell

This individual is no longer an employee with The Spokesman-Review.

All Stories

News >  Idaho

House Restricts ‘Public Trust’ Tenet Legislation Would Curtail Use Of Doctrine In Water, Land Cases

Legislation that would sharply restrict the "public trust doctrine" as a legal argument in cases involving Idaho water or land use passed the House Thursday on a 56-11 vote. Supporters said it would keep environmental groups or others from challenging a major water rights proceeding involving the Snake River. But opponents said the Idaho Supreme Court has already ruled that the doctrine doesn't apply to that issue.
News >  Nation/World

Hope Fades For Highway Plan

Hopes faded Wednesday for a plan to improve Highway 95 with a giant, statewide bond issue. Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, said she hoped to amend the Highway 95 bill to make it fit in with a competing gas tax increase approved by the House on Wednesday. But Sen. Evan Frasure, R-Pocatello, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said his committee will refuse to give the Highway 95 bill a hearing, with or without amendments.

News >  Idaho

‘Resort County’ Bill Passes House But No North Idaho Lawmakers Joined In Debate Of Priority Bill

Kootenai County's special "resort county" tax bill passed the House Tuesday on a 48-22 vote. The measure, requested by Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Kootenai County, now goes to the Senate. Although it was the cities' and county's top legislative priority, no North Idaho lawmakers joined in the floor debate on the bill, and one, Rep. Tom Dorr, R-Post Falls, voted against it.
News >  Idaho

Tied Committee Vote Kills Off-Track Betting Bill

Legislation that would have opened the door to off-track betting throughout Idaho died Tuesday on a tied committee vote. The legislation was billed as a compromise between various horse racing interests and a way to help racetracks compete with expanding Indian gaming. It also included language from a bill Rep. Jim Stoicheff wrote that bans greyhound racing in Idaho.
News >  Idaho

Grant Proposals Would Need Ok

Any state agency applying for a federal grant that requires state matching funds would have to have prior approval from the Legislature, under a bill that passed the House on Monday. Rep. Sylvia McKeeth, R-Boise, the sponsor, said it would keep Idaho from contributing unnecessarily to the federal debt, and prevent state employees from running amok applying for grants.
News >  Idaho

Late Rush Of Bills Leaves Lawmakers Taxed

Stiffer fines for littering. Higher pay for judges. A tougher limit on how much drivers can drink. All passed one house of the Legislature Monday as lawmakers met in marathon sessions from morning to night. They were trying to meet a self-imposed deadline for sending bills from one house to the other.
News >  Idaho

Senate Votes For 75 Mph Interstate Speeds Plan Allows 65 Mph On State Roads; Change Could Take Effect May 1

Idahoans already are driving 65 mph to 75 mph, so state laws should reflect that, lawmakers said Monday. In a 28-7 vote, the state Senate approved legislation to allow the state Transportation Board to set speeds up to 75 mph on interstate freeways and 65 mph on state and local roads. The bill now goes to the House. If it is passed there and signed by the governor, it would take effect May 1.
News >  Idaho

Otter Aims To Rope In Fed’s Power

Idaho's cowboy lieutenant governor has ridden back into the spotlight, proposing a passel of bills targeting bureaucrats and feds. Lt. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says his sudden flurry of legislative activity doesn't have anything to do with his tentative plans to run for governor in 1998. But Otter, who's been in office since 1986, couldn't remember when he last proposed legislation.
News >  Idaho

Controversial Pop Tax On Tap Hike Would Ease Property Tax Burden, Fund Community Colleges

If Rep. Steve Antone has his way, Idaho will slap a 2-cent tax on cans of pop and Kootenai County will get a $4 million property tax break. Antone's plan would use a pop tax to replace the local property taxes that now help fund Idaho's two community colleges. Residents of Kootenai, Jerome and Twin Falls counties are the only ones who pay those property taxes.
News >  Nation/World

Highway 95 Bill Clears Committee

A grand plan to improve U.S. Highway 95 from Canada to the Oregon line won approval from a legislative committee Thursday. "I've been waiting 27 years for something like this to come up," Rep. Marv Vandenberg, D-Coeur d'Alene, told sponsor John Goedde. Vandenberg and other lawmakers shook Goedde's hand.
News >  Spokane

Idaho’s ‘Traditional Family’ Amendment Sails Along

An amendment to Idaho's Constitution that declares the family the paramount institution in the state and prevents state interference in family matters cleared a House committee Tuesday. "This is the best piece of legislation I've seen in the year and a half I've been here," Rep. Jeff Alltus, R-Coeur d'Alene, declared. "I'm really excited about putting this into our Constitution ... letting the people vote on it."
News >  Idaho

Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Survives

Rep. Jeff Alltus' attempt to ban taxpayer funds from paying for lobbying died Friday in the House State Affairs Committee. Alltus, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he made his point. "I think it sent the message that these organizations which are lobbying against the taxpayers have got to quit doing that," he said.
News >  Idaho

Committee Nixes Proposed Changes In College Funding Kootenai, Jerome, Twin Falls Counties Must Still Pay Property Taxes For Colleges

Kootenai County property taxpayers lost a chance at a $3 million tax cut Wednesday, when the House Revenue and Taxation Committee killed legislation to change how Idaho's two community colleges are funded. Property taxes make up a third of North Idaho College's budget. Only Kootenai, Jerome and Twin Falls counties pay property taxes for their local colleges; all of Idaho's other colleges are fully statefunded.
News >  Nation/World

Batt To Add Flood Relief To Tax-Cut Bill

Gov. Phil Batt will ask the Legislature to add an emergency provision to the property-tax-cut legislation he pushed through last year, allowing flood-damaged counties to raise property taxes for emergency repairs. "We need to have all of our financial resources available to rebuild from this horrible disaster," Batt said.
News >  Idaho

Bill Allows Logging On Lake Shore Endowment Lands Would Lose Recreation Designation

More than 200,000 acres adjacent to Priest Lake no longer would be designated for recreation, under legislation approved Monday by a Senate committee. Joe Hinson of the Intermountain Forest Industry Association proposed the change, which could help his association and the state Department of Lands in a lawsuit filed by the Selkirk-Priest Basin Association.
News >  Idaho

Tribal Sovereignty Is Political, Not Racial

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is working on plans for a juvenile detention center which could house both tribal and non-tribal offenders while creating jobs for tribal members. It's just one example of how Idaho Indian tribes can work with state and local agencies, said Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Ernie Stensgar.