Otter appoints Boise attorney to open seat and other Idaho Legislature updates

January 9, 2014 

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, the newest member of the Idaho House, was sworn in Wednesday afternoon by House Speaker Scott Bedke.

Gov. Butch Otter appointed her to complete the term of Janie Ward-Engelking. Otter appointed Ward-Engelking to the Senate to replace former Sen. Branden Durst, who moved out of state.

Rubel was the top nominee to represent Southeast Boise of three submitted to Otter by the District 18 Democratic Committee.

She will face election to a full two-year term later this year.

Rubel, 41, has lived in Boise for 14 years and is a litigation partner at the law firm Fenwick & West in Boise. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. She and her husband, attorney John Paschke, have four children.

- Dan Popkey


Balukoff: Otter led state on wrong path

Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff says the man he wants to remove from office — GOP Gov. Butch Otter — “is a good person and a likable man, but it is clear that it is time for a new governor to lead our state.”

In his written response to Otter’s State of the State Address, Balukoff said the education and economic policies of Otter and Idaho Republicans are a failure, marked by low wages and inadequate support for schools.

“Our kids are not career- and college-ready and the voices of parents and educators are routinely ignored,” Balukoff said. “To give our kids, our economy and our state the future they deserve, we need new leadership and to restore funding and make education a top priority.”

- Dan Popkey


Boise State will host legislative leaders

At its new Downtown digs, the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State is launching “Politics for Lunch,” a lecture series beginning Jan. 14 and running through April.

The first four speakers booked are Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls (Jan. 14); House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley (Jan. 21); Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum (Jan. 28); and House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston (Feb. 4).

Lunch is $10 and will be served at 11:30 a.m. at 301 Capitol Blvd. Reservations are required; call 426-3784 or email Cathe Scott at

- Statesman staff


State pay is falling ‘behind the curve’

State workers lamented wages falling further behind their private-sector peers and urged a legislative panel to bring their salaries up — or risk losing employees to better-paying jobs.

Donna Yule, Idaho Public Employee Association director, urged the Change in Employee Compensation Committee Wednesday to begin a three-year program of raising salaries.

Excluding benefits, Yule said, it would cost just more than $16 million annually — but the expenditure would buttress morale that’s taken a hit since the recession began in 2008.

Idaho State Police Association Chairman Fred Rice said his agency struggles to compete with other police outfits.

The average wage at the ISP, Rice told the panel, is $24 hourly. Meanwhile, average Ada County Sheriff’s Department pay is $33.50.

“We’re behind the curve,” Rice said.

- The Associated Press

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