Highlights from 02-07-2013
Senate backs effort to get tests in Idaho
Senators voted 28-6 in favor of encouraging the states application to become one of six national unmanned aircraft test sites for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Opponents included Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, who raised privacy concerns.
Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said a separate measure regarding privacy is on its way from the Senate State Affairs Committee.
I think the growing technology that we face in this world is an ever-present threat to our privacy, Bock said, and quite frankly, no amount of other resolutions saying that our privacy is going to be protected makes me feel comfortable.
Winder told the Senate that the Idaho Department of Commerce and state colleges and universities are involved in the project, which he called the wave of the future and a tremendous economic development opportunity for Idaho.
Betsy Z. Russell,Spokesman-Review
Otter wants broader look at services
Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke appeared before the budget committee the day after his department withdrew its request for a $70 million, bond-funded secure facility something Otter had advocated in his State of the State speech.
He said reaction from legislators and mental health advocates was that a systemic approach was needed more than a secure mental facility.
What Ive asked for is an opportunity to be able to retool this, bring back a plan for next year, Reinke said.
Betsy Z. Russell
FISH AND GAME
Panel: No support for appointee
The Senate Resources & Environment Committee sent Joan Hurlocks nomination to the full Senate without a recommendation.
Hurlock, of Buhl, was appointed by Otter to the Fish and Game Commission last summer. On Monday, the committee heard some testimony arguing that she wasnt qualified.
Sens. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert; Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls; Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton; Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot; and Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, voted not to recommend her.
Melissa Davlin, Times-News
Jorgenson held after scuffle at restaurant
An employee of Mike Jorgensons eatery says he was the victim of a physical encounter. Jorgenson was arrested for investigation of misdemeanor battery.
Benjamin Chavez said Jorgenson grabbed him and threw him to the ground during a dispute about money. A bartender told police that he pulled Jorgenson off Chavez during the altercation.
Jorgenson told deputies that Chavez fell down when Jorgenson grabbed his jacket and told him to get out of the restaurant.
Coeur d'Alene Press
Bill aids centers that dont do abortions
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee signed off on legislation Wednesday that would define those centers as health-related entities and exempt them from the tax.
The bill now goes to the full House for debate.
Sponsors say the exemption will cost the state less than $10,000 yearly. McCammon Republican Rep. Kelly Packer said some pregnancy centers thought they were initially eligible for tax breaks and are now being asked to pay several years worth of back taxes.
The bill got a cold reception from Boise Democrat Grant Burgoyne, who said he disagrees with changing the tax code on behalf of one specific nonprofit.
Boost would pay for database upgrades
Law enforcement groups are proposing a $4 increase in title transfer fees to improve Idahos criminal history and motor vehicle database.
The legislation would raise about $2 million per year, according to Blackfoot Police Chief Dave Moore, who heads the board that oversees the Idaho Public Safety and Security Information System. Its a central clearinghouse for all law enforcement inquiries regarding Idaho criminal history reports, drivers license information and motor vehicle information.
William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune
Bill addresses landowner costs
The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted to introduce a measure presented by Hayden Republican Rep. Ed Morse that is designed to make sure that citizens can recoup legal and other expenses incurred during the complex negotiations that take place with agencies in eminent domain cases.
The bill has early bipartisan support.
Prostitution bill would toughen law
A measure to make it a felony to engage in prostitution with a minor has cleared an initial hurdle in the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee.
The statute would be strengthened in other ways, too, such as making all cases a felony when a minor is used for commercial sex.
Also, exchanging sex for material goods such as food and shelter would become a criminal offense.
It also seeks the forfeiture of profits when minors are used for commercial sex. And those convicted for using juveniles would be required to register as sex offenders.
Bill again aims to create felony
The House Agriculture Committee voted to introduce Chairman Ken Andrus measure to define animal torture and make a third offense of harming a pet a felony.
Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said the torture provision was in one of two animal cruelty bills considered last year, but ended up missing from the House-Senate compromise bill that passed.
Last year, an initiative to define animal torture and make it a felony on a first offense nearly qualified for the ballot but fell short because of invalidated signatures.