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Saturday, June 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Bill could expand state land deals

Legislation that would allow the state of Idaho to acquire and sell more land for development in the Silver Valley was introduced in a House committee Tuesday.

Idaho already has taken ownership of 1,600 acres from the Environmental Protection Agency in the 21-square-mile Bunker Hill Superfund cleanup site where historic mining contamination is being cleared. The new bill lets the state accept land from a larger area of the Coeur d’Alene Basin.

When the state receives cleaned-up land from the EPA, it can sell, lease or manage it. The Eagle Crest Development, where a golf course and home sites are being constructed on 500 acres near Kellogg, is one example.

Rob Hanson, mine waste program manager for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said the expansion would allow the state to take ownership of the 20-acre Burns-Yak site in Osburn and various other parcels. The House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee agreed unanimously to introduce the bill and will schedule a hearing in the coming weeks.

Senators skeptical of tax rule plan

State senators raised questions Tuesday about proposed new rules that allow the Idaho state Tax Commission to continue cutting secret tax deals with large out-of-state corporations.

After a whistle-blower’s report revealed the deals, two state investigations concluded no laws were being broken, but recommended new procedures at the Tax Commission. Gov. Butch Otter ordered the commission to immediately write up rules for the controversial “compromise and close” settlements.

Those rules went before a Senate committee for review Tuesday, and senators from both parties said they don’t outline any new measures aimed at transparency or accountability. Sen. Eliot Werk, D-Boise, said he thought the new rules “could lead to the same set of misunderstandings or perceptions that we have been dealing with.”

Tax officials said they’re also working on new internal procedures.

Coeur d’Alene

Students make up snow day Feb. 13

Students in the Coeur d’Alene School District will attend school Feb. 13 to make up instructional time lost to one of two snow days that occurred in January, according to a news release.

The school board hasn’t decided yet when the second snow day will be made up.

The district canceled school on Dec. 18 and 19 and Jan. 6 and 7 due to the weather. Idaho law allows for two emergency closure days per school year before make-up time is required.

From staff reports

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