Highlights from 02-20-2013
Committee endorses enforcing current laws
The Senate State Affairs Committee acted on the anti-marijuana resolution after two hours of public testimony on the pros and cons of pot.
More than 150 people - including teens sporting red "Don't let Idaho go to pot" T-shirts - packed a Capitol auditorium Wednesday.
The resolution affirms the state's position against use of marijuana in any form, and sponsoring Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said it sends a message urging the federal government to enforce existing laws.
Opponents including the American Civil Liberties Union and Compassionate Idaho say the resolution adds barriers for people using marijuana for medical purposes.
Police officers and doctors backing the measure decried pot as a gateway drug that impairs users.
The Associated Press
Committee kills bill for highway memorials
Idaho already has plenty of informal highway fatality shrines erected by grieving family members. The state won't get new state-sponsored signs honoring those killed by drunken drivers, the House State Affairs Committee said Wednesday.
Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said her plan for signs to remember victims would warn people about the dangers of driving while drunk. She was asked to promote the bill by former Rep. Tom Trail, who lost a family member in such an accident.
But committee members including Rep. Eric Anderson of Priest Lake worried a proliferation of signs, especially on rural highways where drivers are already on the lookout for wildlife.
Democrats criticize limits on ballot measures
House and Senate Democrats spoke out during a press conference today on a bill proposed by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation to make it tougher to qualify an initiative or referendum measure for the Idaho ballot.
"This bill is part of a troubling trend that makes it easier for lawmakers and government officials to ignore the will of the people," said Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, the Senate minority leader.
The Democratic lawmakers noted that most of their bills designed to make voting easier in Idaho have languished this session.
Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review
Senators send motorbike bill to House
Mariann Christman of Meridian will soon be back on her four-wheeled motorcycle as the Idaho Legislature moved to allow such bikes on the road.
"There are many others waiting for this bill to pass," Christman told the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday. The panel unanimously approved Senate Bill 1044. It passed the Senate 33-0 and now goes to the House for final legislative action.
Christman had learned that her bike, which has two outrigger wheels, was illegal in Idaho. Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, took up her cause after seeing a Honda Goldwing with retractable stabilizing wheels deployed at a stoplight.
SB 1044 contains an emergency clause, making it effective upon Gov. Butch Otter's signature.
TRIBAL LIQUOR SALES
Committee sends Nez Perce bill to House floor
The House State Affairs Committee voted 9-7 Wednesday to allow the Nez Perce tribe to sell cocktails to guests at its Clearwater River casino, convention center and 50-room hotel near Lewiston.
The tribe needs an exemption, under Idaho's liquor laws meant to promote temperance and sobriety.
Bill proponents including business groups from the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley cited the convention center's economic development benefits to the region, and the expectation among guests from elsewhere to be able to relax with a drink.
Foes worried issuing another liquor license exemption could devalue existing liquor licenses.
The bill now goes to the full House.