Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 63° Partly Cloudy
News >  Idaho

Idaho lawmakers OK corporate sponsorships for parks

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers passed legislation Wednesday to let Idaho state parks seek corporate sponsorships to help make up for sharply reduced state funding. No state parks would be renamed under the plan, promised Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, the bill’s House sponsor; instead, the state parks board would seek sponsor for things like interpretive programs, directional signs and picnic shelters. Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, drew laughter from the House when she asked, “Who needs Niagra Falls when Idaho has Viagra Falls?” She said, “I don’t know that we want to go there. But beyond that, I think we should be looking at the core problem here. We should be funding this core government function.” “I just think we’re in a really sad state, that the Department of Parks and Rec had to come to us with this,” Rubel said. “This is a core government function. This is what the people of Idaho want. They expect us to provide things like roads and parks and schools. I just think it’s a shame that we’ve cut them to the point that they have to go groveling for corporate sponsorships.” State funding for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is just $3.5 million this year; in fiscal year 2009, it was $16.1 million. House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, spoke out in favor the bill, SB 1098a. “We ask over and over and over for people to save money in our departments, figure out a better way of doing things,” he said. But then, he said, “We all start backing up. … Let’s give them an opportunity to bring those rules to us.” Under the bill, the state parks board would write administrative rules governing corporate sponsorships; lawmakers could approve or veto those rules next year. “We’re not going to have the golden arches,” Palmer told the House. “We can limit this down to small … advertising that nobody has to look at if they’re offended by it.” “I think we can control this,” said Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise. Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, said, “I don’t want to be bombarded by advertising when I take my kids out to the lake. I get enough of that.” But Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise, said, “This bill is not going to result in Craters of the Moon being sponsored by Clearasil. There are good backstops in place.” Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, said, “I think there are tasteful ways to do this.” The bill was amended in the House to remove reference to “rights” and “licensing,” so it now goes back to the Senate for concurrence in the amendments before it can head to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk. Lawmakers have been pushing to end this year’s Idaho legislative session, but acknowledged on Wednesday that it will run at least into next week.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.