Highlights from 01-25-2013
Milk producers want state-run program
The Milk Producers of Idaho have come out in favor of Gov. Butch Otters proposal for a state-based health insurance exchange in Idaho.
The board strongly felt that it is important to have decisions regarding health insurance coverage in Idaho to be determined by Idahoans and not federal bureaucrats, said Brent Olmstead, the groups executive director. Whether we like it or not, the Supreme Court has upheld the (federal health care law). It is the law and simply ignoring it is not a viable option.
Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review
GUNS IN SCHOOLS
Law allows districts to let teachers carry
Superintendent Tom Luna was asked his view on proposals to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.
Luna responded by reading from an Idaho law that says school boards can authorize district employees to carry guns on school grounds.
So theres no requirement that the legislature pass a new law or a new statute, Luna said. School boards have that flexibility now if they so choose.
Luna would not say if he thought the existing law was good. He said hed reserve judgment until hed heard recommendations from the Safe Schools Task Force. That group started meeting Thursday.
Adam Cotterell, Boise State Public Radio
HIGHER ED MONEY
Colleges look for building money
Pictures of aging buildings and sidewalks were part of a presentation to legislative budget writers Friday on deferred maintenance at Idahos four-year state colleges and universities.
The University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College reported roughly $700 million worth of deferred maintenance. The state schools have requested $53.6 million; typically the four institutions combined have gotten less than $9 million a year from the states Permanent Building Fund for alteration or repair projects.
The question thats before us is: If these buildings serve your purpose, maintain them. If not, its time to let em go. I think its an important investment, said Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow.
Whether we have the ability to do a lot about it is really where weve got to go to work, said Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls.
President taps adviser with Idaho tie
President Barack Obama on Friday announced seven top appointments for his second term Friday, including chief of staff and a new deputy national security adviser, Antony Blinken.
Blinken is the nephew of Alan Blinken, a former ambassador to Belgium who lives in Ketchum and was an unsuccessful 2002 Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
He is my nephew and a great guy, Blinken said by email.
Born in New York City, Antony Blinken had been the national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Blinken also worked for Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden has called him one of the smartest guys Ive ever worked with.
Blinken was among those in the room during the operation that killed Osama bin Laden and served on Clintons National Security Council.
Congressman holds meeting Thursday
First District Congressman Raul Labrador will hold the town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Meridian City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave.
Labradors district includes northern and central Idaho and the western half of the Treasure Valley.
Idaho economist to speak in Meridian
Mike Ferguson, Idahos chief economist for 25 years, got Gov. Butch Otter to admit last month that the state probably wasnt meeting its constitutional obligation to maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.
Ferguson served under Democratic Govs. John Evans and Cecil Andrus and Republicans Otter, Phil Batt, Dirk Kempthorne and Jim Risch. He now directs the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy.
Hell speak at the League of Women Voters dinner Feb. 16 at Louies Pizza and Italian Restaurant. Cost is $25; space is limited, so RSVP early. Send checks to Kip Winter, 2408 Carnegie St., Caldwell, ID 83607. For more information, call Chris Stokes at (208) 286-7694.