Highlights from 02-15-2013
Democrats sponsor hearingon pay proposal
Reps. Shirley Ringo of Moscow and Phylis King of Boise will hear from state employees they say have been shorted by the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter's inattention.
The hearing is set for Monday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 42 on the east side of the Capitol's Garden level, where the House Revenue & Taxation Committee meets.
Ringo and King both sit on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.
"Employees have not had the opportunity to be heard for five years," Ringo said. The last time the Change in Employee Compensation Committee met was to prepare the fiscal 2009 budget.
Otter has recommended - and budget writers adopted Friday - a plan that includes no money for pay increases in fiscal 2014, after a 2 percent boost in fiscal 2013.
In a communique sent to its members, the Idaho Public Employees Association said Otter's budget plan isn't necessarily the last word on the issue.
The group's spokeswoman, Donna Yule, said if state workers want a raise, they need to tell lawmakers.
Staff and wire reports
House OKs business incentives
Idaho cities could have an additional $3 million in tools to attract businesses to their communities through a bill approved by the House.
The Idaho Opportunity Fund passed through the House on a 59-8 vote Friday and will now go to the Senate. Under the legislation, towns would be eligible for money to use on infrastructure projects, like new roads, that companies looking to relocate in Idaho might require.
The proposal requires local governments to match any state grants.
Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Jeff Thompson said it also includes oversight measures meant to hold businesses accountable. Companies promising an economic windfall are required to prove their benefits before they get state funds.
Senate passes measure that promotes early graduation
The Senate signed off on a bipartisan bill Friday that makes permanent a pilot program offering high-achieving students college scholarships equal to about $1,400 if they graduate early from high school.
That bill now moves to the House.
Republican Sen. Steve Thayn of Emmett said more than $40,000 in scholarships was dispersed last year. He said Idaho saved $150,000 because the state's cost of educating one student annually is higher than the average award.
Thayn said the measure also benefits local districts by providing them a portion of the state's savings to use for other expenses.