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Eye on Boise: Idaho putting no limits on fishing in warm waters

Unlike neighboring states, Idaho’s not planning any fishing restrictions or closures due to warm water, according to state Fish and Game officials. “In many streams, what we’re seeing this year with water temperatures happens every year, we’re just seeing it sooner than normal,” said Jim Fredericks, fisheries bureau chief.

Fish and Game has these tips for anglers: They can reduce stress on fish by not fishing during the warmest parts of the day, and if they plan to release the fish they’ve caught, doing so quickly and carefully. They also advise that if a released fish goes belly-up, stop fishing until after the water cools.

Third new senator

Idaho has another new state senator. Gov. Butch Otter appointed Soda Springs rancher Mark Harris to the Senate to replace former Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, who is now head of the state Department of Environmental Quality. Otter picked Harris from a list of three nominees submitted by the Legislative District 32 GOP central committee.

“Mark brings with him some valuable experiences gained while working in Idaho agriculture and serving on various voluntary boards and committees,” Otter said. “While he has some big shoes to fill, I am quite confident that Sen. Harris will live up to those expectations.”

Harris holds a political science degree from Utah State University and is fluent in Spanish. He’ll serve out Tippets’ term, which runs for another year; all state lawmakers serve two-year terms. Harris previously served on Otter’s campaign team as a regional co-chair during the 2014 election. He also sits on the Idaho Republican Party’s executive committee.

The appointment follows last month’s appointment of Rupert city administrator Kelly Anthon to the Senate to replace longtime Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, whom Otter tapped to head his state Department of Insurance. And in March, Otter appointed Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan to the Senate to replace Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, whom Otter appointed to the state Tax Commission.

Leroy to get say

The Idaho Supreme Court has agreed to allow the attorney for Coeur d’Alene Racing, which operates the Greyhound Park Event Center in Post Falls, to participate in oral arguments in the instant racing case on Aug. 11. Previously, the court had allowed various parties to submit friend-of-the-court briefs but not to participate in the oral arguments, which were to feature only the attorneys for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney.

Coeur d’Alene Racing’s attorney is former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy. He submitted a second request noting that the secretary of state’s attorney, Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane, took “no position” on the issue of whether the tribe had standing to bring the lawsuit.

Leroy said all four of the parties filing amicus briefs argued the standing issue, but the original target of the lawsuit, Denney, didn’t. “This procedural situation presents the likelihood that this substantial, critical and threshold issue will not be fully addressed and examined orally before the Court, if the Respondent only is allowed to argue,” he wrote, noting that the tribe responded to the standing argument in its response brief.

SB 1011, the bill to ban slot machinelike “instant racing” machines, which the Legislature had just authorized two years earlier, was among the most-lobbied bills of this year’s legislative session. It passed both the House and Senate by more than two-thirds majorities. Otter issued a veto but didn’t send the vetoed bill back to the Senate until two days after the constitutionally set, five-day deadline. The Senate then took a veto override vote, which drew a majority but not the two-thirds required for an override.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which proposed the bill, said the bill had become law without the governor’s signature when the veto deadline passed, and requested that Denney file it as a law. Denney refused, saying he didn’t think he had the authority to do that unless someone – the Senate or the court – told him to. So the tribe sued.

Second thoughts

Greg Zickau, chief technology officer for the Idaho Department of Administration, discussing the now-defunct Idaho Education Network with lawmakers last week, said, “There are a few things I would do differently if we were doing this over again.”

Among them: The focus on a statewide private network. “Frankly, most of the schools weren’t taking advantage of what a private network brings,” he said, such as sharing content. “So I would only roll out a private network to those schools that are sharing curriculum with other districts.” Other districts would get public Internet. In addition, he said, he’d rethink the focus on providing video teleconferencing equipment and capability to all high schools. A state audit this year showed much of that pricey equipment goes largely unused. “I would only roll out VTC’s for those districts that affirmatively say they’re going to actually use it,” he said. “The current IEN legislation, it implies a private network and states that every high school will have a VTC.”

Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, told Zickau, “In a couple places it seems like we were working to pump out bushels of apples to some places that only needed oranges.” Zickau responded, “Yeah, in some cases, I think that’s correct.”

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