Legislature notebook

January 14, 2014 

U.S. SENATE

Boise Democrat to challenge Risch

Political newcomer and Boise attorney Nels Mitchell will formally announce his campaign to unseat first-term GOP Sen. Jim Risch at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Boise Depot.

Mitchell “promises to give Idaho’s hard working families and small businesses a powerful advocate in Washington, D.C.,” according a news release from the Idaho Democratic Party. “With Idaho wages at 50th in the nation, it is time for our career politicians, like U.S. Sen. James Risch, to retire.”

Mitchell is a graduate of Boise High School, Columbia University in New York and the University of Idaho Law School, where he has worked as an adjunct instructor for 10 years.

Dan Popkey

TOWN HALL

Meridian hosts legislators Jan. 15

Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Winder will be joined by other members of the House and Senate leadership as well as Senate and House members representing Meridian for a town hall meeting 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Meridian City Hall, 33 E. Broadway.

Lawmakers will hear presentations on issues from the city of Meridian, Meridian Chamber of Commerce, Joint School District No. 2, Meridian Development Corp. and Meridian’s health sciences and technology sector known as The CORE.

The public is invited to attend the meeting to ask lawmakers questions and offer opinions.

Statesman staff

DISTRICT 17

Boise lawmakers hold forum

Boise Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk and Democratic Reps. Sue Chew and John Gannon begin their annual in-session constituent meetings Tuesday with the first of four public forums at the Borah High School Library, 7 to 9 p.m.

Beginning Jan. 21, the District 17 trio will hold weekly office hours from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Borah Career Center. The Tuesday office hours will continue through the end of the 2014 legislative session, except on the four nights when the trio holds public forums.

The other three forum meetings also are scheduled 7 to 9 p.m. on:

• Feb. 11, Horizon Elementary School Library.

• March 18, Monroe Elementary School Library.

• April 8, Whitney Elementary School Library.

Dan Popkey

SAME-SEX COUPLES

House panel delays debate on tax rules

House Revenue and Taxation Committee Chairman Gary Collins said numerous people wanted to testify, so he put it off until Tuesday a discussion of new rules forbidding same-sex couples legally married elsewhere from filing joint Idaho income tax returns.

According to temporary State Tax Commission rules, same-sex Idaho couples legally married elsewhere must recalculate federal taxes as single filers before filing state taxes.

This change and the potential it will require gay married couples to do more paperwork and pay more than opposite-sex couples is one foundation of a constitutional challenge filed in federal court last year seeking to topple Idaho’s 2006 gay-marriage ban.

Monica Hopkins, ACLU of Idaho director, estimates hundreds of Idaho couples married in 14 states that allow gay unions will be affected.

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