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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Anti-union laws rejected

BOISE – A federal judge has invalidated two anti-union laws pushed through by Idaho GOP lawmakers last session, saying they violate federal law. The two measures, SB 1007 and 1006, were expansions of Idaho’s right-to-work law. One banned “job targeting programs” that use union dues to subsidize members’ wages as a way to help contractors win bids. The other banned “project labor agreements” through which contractors sign agreements with unionized workers while bidding on public works projects.

Idaho school petitions pass mark

More than 47,000 Idaho residents, the required number, have signed each of three petitions to put education reform laws recently passed by the Idaho Legislature to referendum votes next year, according to Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform. “We’re still collecting signatures because we know that many Idahoans still want to sign the three petitions,” chairman Mike Lanza said in a news release. “We know people don’t want to see the larger class sizes, layoffs and unfunded technology mandates that these laws are already causing.”

Unusual bills come to statehouses after shift toward tea party

BOISE – It wasn’t just in Idaho that state lawmakers ventured onto unusual ground this year, attempting to unilaterally nullify a federal law, debating allowing guns on college campuses and nearly cutting off unemployed Idahoans from receiving extended unemployment benefits on grounds that the benefits will make them lazy. Montana lawmakers backed a bill to let local sheriffs stop federal law enforcement officers from making arrests in their counties, though the governor vetoed it. They also debated measures to legalize hunting with a hand-thrown spear and declare global warming “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”

Voters approving property tax hikes to help schools

BOISE – Idahoans are voting to raise their own property taxes in the wake of a third straight year of cuts in school funding approved by state lawmakers. In elections in 65 of the state’s 115 school districts this spring, 54 have passed supplemental property tax levies to boost basic operating funds for local schools – an 83 percent success rate.

Medical marijuana push advancing on two fronts in Idaho

BOISE – Conservative Idaho might not seem like the most fertile ground for a medical marijuana movement, but supporters have launched an initiative drive that could change the terms of the debate. The reason: Seventy-four percent of Idahoans say they support allowing “terminally and seriously ill patients to use and purchase marijuana for medical purposes.” That was in this year’s Boise State University public policy survey, a result so overwhelmingly favorable that researchers initially thought it had to be wrong.

Eye on Boise: Idaho endowment fund sees nice earnings bounce

BOISE – It’s been a good year so far for Idaho’s permanent endowment fund, with earnings on investments through March 31 at 23.1 percent. Larry Johnson, investments manager, said the 23.1 percent gain came since the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

Last bill becomes law, making 335 for Idaho session

BOISE – The final piece of legislation from this year’s Idaho legislative session has become law without the governor’s signature, adding a one-year phaseout to a funding cut for school districts that lose enrollment from one year to the next. Gov. Butch Otter said he didn’t think the move was necessary, but recognized it was important to rural Idaho legislators; the bill, HB 315, was sponsored by Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly.

Otter lets final school bill take effect without signature

The final piece of legislation from this year's Idaho legislative session has been allowed to become law without the governor's signature, adding a one-year phaseout to a funding cut for school districts that lose enrollment from one year to the next.