Otter proposes U.S. Constitutional amendment against health care mandate

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter wants a constitutional amendment banning mandates to purchase health care insurance.

A Senate Joint Memorial was introduced Friday in the Idaho Legislature, proposing a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Otter sponsored the memorial. Memorials do not carry the weight of law.

The amendment would say: “The Congress shall make no law requiring citizens of the United States to enroll in, participate in or secure health care insurance or to penalize any citizens who declines to purchase or participate in any health care insurance program.”

New texting-while-driving bill introduced

On what could be the final day of the 2010 Idaho Legislature, the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a new texting-while-driving bill.

The bill removes texting-while-driving from the inattentive driving statute and makes it simply an infraction — two changes from the texting bill approved by the Senate.

The infraction would be $50 plus court costs on the first offense and $100 plus court costs on subsequent offenses.

The bill now goes to the full House.

GOP congressional candidate Allan Salzberg pitches nuclear energy

Dr. Allan Salzberg, one of five GOP candidates for 1st District Democrat Walt Minnick's seat, says the country needs a "nuclear renaissance" and that wind and solar power "can only play a small role" in energy independence.

Salzberg is the father of Deborah Holmes, who ran as a Democrat in the 2nd District in 2008 against GOP Rep. Mike Simpson. Holmes got 29 percent of the vote.

Salzberg's full statement follows:

The Need for a Nuclear Renaissance

Session will continue Monday

12:04 p.m. — Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, told senators the session will continue next week.

"We're falling behind and when this happens, you can make mistakes and it's too important for us to make sure we do it right," Davis told the chamber around noon.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said lawmakers "have run into a few hiccups" and are likely to return Monday.

Ward announces organization in District 1's 19 counties

Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Vaughn Ward has named county chairmen in the district’s 19 counties, including a number with multiple co-chairs.

“I am grateful to have each and every one of these outstanding individuals take a leadership role in my campaign,” Ward said in a news release. “The depth of our grassroots organization demonstrates the strong, district-wide support for my principles. Idahoans in all regions are supporting me because they know that I will go to Congress and fight for our conservative values.”

Minnick introduces new bill to trim spending, replace unconstitutional line-item veto

After his high-profile opposition to the new health-care law, freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick is emphasizing his record against deficit spending as he fights for re-election in one of the nation’s most Republican territories, Idaho’s 1st District.

Minnick on Wednesday introduced H.R. 4921, which “would allow a president to send pork projects back to Congress for a vote on whether those projects should be stripped out of spending bills,” according to his campaign manager, John Foster.

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By day's end, hopes of Friday adjournment fade

A hangup in the House Resources & Conservation Committee Thursday afternoon regarding plans to recharge Idaho aquifers kept the House from making expected progress on the floor to pave the way to adjournment Friday.

House Speaker Lawerence Denney still held out hope for adjourning for good on Friday.

"It's still possible to get out of here (Friday), but that committee is not back yet," said Denney, R-Midvale. "We're still going to push hard tomorrow...but if we're not done by 3 o'clock, we'll probably come back Monday."

Hope of Friday adjournment revived in Idaho Senate

Having all but given up on aiming for final adjournment this week, the Senate on Thursday renewed hopes of quitting town. Earlier in the day, leaders conceded Friday adjournment wasn’t possible and told senators Friday’s floor session would end at noon.

But after a brief closed-door caucus by the Republican majority, GOP Leader Bart Davis emerged at 3 p.m. to announce a new goal of a Friday finish. “It might be unrealistic, but we’re gonna try,” said Davis.

Battle of the sexes in the Idaho Senate -- over HVAC

Heating and cooling problems have plagued the Senate chamber as the weather has warmed, prompting the Sergeant at Arms to draw back heavy red velvet curtains blocking vents on Thursday. The curtains were held in place by chairs, to improve airflow.

Sergeant at Arms Sarah Jane McDonald said she’s dealing with something of a battle of the sexes.

Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch vote against health care bill

WASHINGTON -- Idaho's two senators, Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, voted against the reconciliation bill in the Senate this afternoon. The bill passed 56-43, with Republicans unanimously opposed. It returns to the House of Representatives for one final vote tonight.

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