HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Little's vote kills doctor-assault bill
Legislation aimed at toughening penalties for attacks on doctors, nurses and care providers failed on an 18-17 vote in the Senate when Lt. Gov. Brad Little broke a tie.
Under the proposal, anyone attacking a doctor could be charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison. The offense is now a misdemeanor.
Some hospitals promoted the measure, arguing there's been an influx of emergency rooms patients seeking narcotics who turn violent when refused the drugs.
Nampa Sen. Todd Lakey argued the enhanced penalty is appropriate because data show doctors are increasingly facing attacks on the job.
But Senate opponents argued the bill is too harsh, would expand state prison populations and might unfairly target patients with mental illness.
State overrules city in land-use fight
The Senate voted 24-11 to exempt the state from Boise's local planning rules, to help it build a parking garage near the Capitol.
During Friday's debate, Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, argued it had never been city government's place to regulate the state.
Idaho has sold bonds for the $8 million, 580-car garage, but a city planning board has rejected the project's design.
Idaho fears the project will be delayed and grow more expensive.
State officials still hope to win an appeal next month. If they don't, however, this measure that's now due a House vote would allow them to proceed with the garage, anyway.
Democrats opposed the measure, as did Republican Sen. Todd Lakey of Nampa, who worried Idaho's garage exemption gambit undermines principles of local control.
'Fix it' bill wins Senate approval
The Idaho Senate voted unanimously for the $30 million measure that restores funding to public education that had been eliminated when voters rejected the Students Come First laws in November.
After Gov. Butch Otter signs the measure, as he's expected to do, more than $30 million would go toward teacher salaries, dual credit courses, technology and professional development.
Education groups including the Idaho Education Association and the Idaho School Boards Association all backed the plan.
The money addresses issues that weren't at the core of the dispute over Students Come First.
Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, chairman of the Education Committee, characterized the measure as a must-pass proposal. He said Friday lawmakers owed it to schoolkids.
The Associated Press