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BOISE – When a proposed $1.25-per- pack cigarette tax increase was rejected by a House committee last week – the panel refused to introduce the bill or allow a hearing – two North Idaho lawmakers were outspoken in their opposition to the bill. Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, said, “The smokers, I want to thank them for this building we’re in,” noting that Idaho tapped cigarette tax proceeds to pay for the bonds to renovate the state Capitol. “It’s kind of ironic that they can’t smoke in it,” he said.
BOISE – Gov. Butch Otter’s state budget recommendation calls for zero funding for capital replacement items, but lawmakers are concerned that some equipment replacement needs are too critical to continue to overlook. “I worry about this infrastructure,” said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chairwoman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “I feel responsible for letting everything fall apart.”
BOISE – Standing outside the Capitol on a brisk January afternoon, Rep. Bob Nonini cups his hand deftly to shelter a cigarette – not from the wind, but from a camera. The Coeur d’Alene Republican and House Education Committee chairman has the distinction of being the lone Idaho lawmaker who still regularly, if bashfully, steps outside for a smoke.
BOISE – Sen. Jim Hammond won’t seek a fourth term in the Idaho state Senate and instead will apply for the upcoming opening for president at North Idaho College, along with looking at other options that will keep him closer to home and family. “I never intended to set a record here,” Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene, said Thursday. “It’s an opportunity for someone else.”
If you want to “fix schools,” apparently, there’s one group of people you should ignore. Teachers.