Highlights from 02-26-2013
Senate passes one resolution, kills another one
The Senate defeated an anti-marijuana resolution asking the federal government to enforce national drug laws, but passed one declaring opposition against marijuana use in any form.
Senators on Monday voted 21-13 to defeat the law enforcement resolution amid concerns it contradicts previous measures to ensure Idaho's sovereignty.
Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder argued that both measures were intended to show Idaho doesn't plan to take the path of some surrounding states like Washington, where voters last fall legalized pot.
Nampa Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie said the enforcement proposal contradicts the idea of states' rights - a principle the party used to oppose federal health care and endangered species laws.
The Senate endorsed the anti-marijuana measure 29-5.
The Associated Press
Committee passes teacher credit bill
Teachers who earn advanced degrees could again be eligible for higher salaries under a measure passed by the House Education committee Monday
House Bill 205 would repeal a freeze imposed two years ago on pay increases for teachers who go back to school for more training. The proposal would restore $4 million annually for salaries.
Teacher pay has traditionally been determined by a matrix that considered years served and degrees earned. But teachers who earned advanced degrees were no longer eligible for pay hikes under Idaho' 2011 budget. The Students Come First laws unfroze the salary grid. The bill goes to the full House.
On Monday the Senate passed, 34-0, a permanent, $4.85 million-a-year plan to hire additional math and science teachers. SB 1092 would restore teacher-hiring dollars that are in limbo with the voter repeal of the Students Come First laws. The bill now goes to the House.
The Associated Press,Idaho Education News
Bill tweaks rules, state commission
A complicated bill on charter schools is scheduled to be unveiled in the House Education Committee Tuesday.
The bill would allow colleges, universities and private nonprofit groups to authorize a charter school; require an authorizing entity to renew the charter every five years; and rework the makeup state's Public Charter School Commission.
It's a companion to House Bill 206, which would provide $1.4 million in building stipends for charter schools.
Kevin Richert, Idaho Education News
New chairman is from Post Falls
Party officials picked Larry Kenck Saturday to replace Larry Grant.
Kenck is a former chairman of the Kootenai County Central Committee and served as an official with the Teamsters Union group that represents northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
He ran unsuccessfully for state Senate seats in 1996 and 1998 and now serves on the Idaho Industrial Commission Advisory Board.
Kenck was picked during the party's annual Frank and Bethine Church Gala Saturday. He said his goal is to reunite Democrats and push the party toward working on issues to strengthen businesses and families in Idaho.
The Associated Press
BOISE TOWN HALL
Bench lawmakers to hold Tuesday session
The three Boise Bench Democrats will be at Borah High School Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Sen. Elliot Werk and Reps. Sue Chew and John Gannon host open office hours at the Borah Career Center, 6001 Cassia St.
Senate supports 'primacy' declaration
The Senate voted 30-4 in favor of SB 1061, asserting the state has primacy over the management of its fish and wildlife.
The bill also states that it's against state policy for any threatened or endangered species to be introduced or reintroduced without the state's approval.
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, said Idaho already had such language in statute and the bill puts Idaho taxpayers at risk of having to pay for lawsuits. Three other Democrats joined her in opposing the bill.
Betsy Z. Russell,Spokesman-Review
Labrador, others join in 'conversation'
Idaho's sophomore Republican Rep. Raul Labrador continues the "Conversations with Conservatives" series Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Viewers can watch the hour-long live-streamed event from the Rayburn House Office Building.
Labrador and other lawmakers popular with the GOP's tea party wing are expected to discuss sequestration, the continuing budget resolution, immigration and other topics. The event is hosted by the Heritage Foundation. Labrador helped found "Conversations with Conservatives" during his first term.