Highlights from 01-23-2013
Bedke will get training in Texas
House Speaker Scott Bedke will leave his gavel with Senate Majority Leader Mike Moyle on Thursday and Friday to attend orientation for more than 20 new speakers at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
The training is sponsored by the Massachusetts-based State Legislative Leaders Foundation and runs Thursday through Saturday in Austin, hosted by Texas Speaker Joe Straus. The group also holds annual meetings for speakers.
Previous speakers have told me that its very good training, will broaden my perspective and at least one of them said I needed that, said Bedke, R-Oakley.
AAA wants limit on young drivers
Idaho should consider banning cell phone use by drivers 18 and under, on grounds it will make the states roads safer, the group says.
AAA of Idahos Dave Carlson made the pitch Wednesday after his group surveyed Idaho residents. Carlson argues that protections for teens are necessary because they are overrepresented in fatal and injury crashes.
Its been not quite a year since the 2012 Legislature banned texting while driving for everyone.
But Carlson says most people would support adding a restriction on talking for drivers 18 and under.
Washington and Nevada are among 10 states that ban all use of cell phones, requiring that people talk on hands-free devices.
The Associated Press
LEGISLATORS & GUNS
Officials can carry without permit
With Idaho state lawmakers fired up to protect gun rights, more attention is being focused on an Idaho law thats been on the books since 1990 permitting any elected official in the state, including legislators, to carry a hidden firearm without a concealed weapons permit.
A 2011 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed no other state with such an exemption; most states exempt only peace officers, retired peace officers, military members and, in some cases, judges and prosecutors. Earlier this week, a three-hour evening training class offered in the state Capitol on carrying a concealed weapon drew more than two dozen lawmakers and their spouses. I learned quite a bit, said Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, and Ive had guns all my life.
Idaho law allows sheriffs to require those applying for concealed weapons permits to go through a training course, ranging from a hunter education class to a firearms safety class, and most sheriffs require those, according to the Idaho Sheriffs Association. It also requires fingerprints and a criminal background check. But none of that applies for elected officials.
We have the trust of our constituents, said Lacey. I think thats why were here. As part of that trust, we should be responsible with our guns.
Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review
Legislators fast-track honors
Idahos two-time Olympic gold medalist in cycling, Kristin Armstrong, is commended in House Concurrent Resolution 4, introduced Wednesday morning.
Armstrong wasnt present in the House State Affairs Committee, but told the Statesman in an email that she hopes to appear later in the process.
The resolution is sponsored by freshman Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, who said Armstrong deserved recognition not only for her winning gold at the London Olympics last year, but for her volunteer work, including serving as a YMCA ambassador.
Senator wants elections by district
Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, says his move to narrow the size of voting districts is not aimed at boosting Democrats chances but to make county commissioners more sensitive to regional differences.
Its to get people in those zones to have the ability to get true representation, Durst said Wednesday after the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to print his bill.
Under current law, county commissioners in Idaho's 44 counties have a residency requirement that ensures the three commissions come from separate geographical districts, with lines redrawn every decade to reflect population shifts. But commissioners are elected by a county-wide vote. Durst wants to change that beginning in 2014.
All three Ada County commissioners are Republican, and Durst said voting by district wouldnt have changed the makeup of the current commission.
Congressman gets relevant committee
Sophomore Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has said his decision on whether to run for governor in 2014 will hinge in significant part on prospects for immigration reform in the new Congress.
Labrador got good news Tuesday on that front, when he was assigned to the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. Labrador got the post even after refusing to vote for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Jan. 3.
Labradors other Judiciary assignment is the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
On the House Natural Resources Committee, Labrador has been assigned to the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation and Water and Power subcommittees.