New top administrator for Idaho's federal courts to be sworn in Friday in public ceremony

A new clerk for Idaho’s federal courts will be sworn in Friday at 4 p.m. in a public ceremony at the James A. McClure federal building in Boise.

Elizabeth “Libby” Smith replaces Cameron Burke, who left Idaho’s U.S. District court last year after 24 years. Burke now has a national post working on financial management for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C.

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Denney considering states' rights measure recommended by Wyoming Democrat

Taking an idea from Wyoming’s Democratic governor, Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney is considering pressing Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to bolster states’ rights.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal is asking the Wyoming legislature to urge Congress to make the 10th Amendment’s protections to states more explicit and to amend the Commerce Clause, which Congress has used to expand federal power.

Tea Party Boise members say they want to remain nonpartisan

Most members of Idaho’s largest tea party organization want the group’s efforts to remain nonpartisan, according to a survey released by Tea Party Boise to its membership Wednesday.

About 350 of the group’s 2,000 members responded to the online survey in December and January. Of those, 62 percent said the year-old group should stay nonpartisan. Eighty-four percent of respondents said both Republicans and Democrats are “responsible for big government.”

Idaho has a $250 million tax gap

Idaho has a $250 million tax gap between the money the state is owed and what is collected, Idaho Tax Commission chairman Royce Chigbrow told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday morning.

The total is 7.3% of the total tax bill due in the state and nearly half of the gap comes from underreporting, Chigbrow said.

“It does impose an unfair burden on those who pay on time,” Chigbrow said. “It reduces revenues needed by the state to provide services.”

Crapo’s staffers to hit the road in search of interns

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is sending out staffers from his Washington, D.C., office to visit Idaho colleges and universities and one school in northern Utah this month to inform students about internships in Crapo’s Washington and Idaho offices.

Staff Assistant Mandi Critchfield, a former intern from Oakley, will meet with students and faculty in mid-February. She will be joined by Legislative Correspondent Rachel Johnson, also a former intern from Boise, who was recently promoted after managing the intern program for the last 18 months.

Simpson, champion of earmarks, blasts both parties for deficits

Idaho’s U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is telling his colleagues and the Obama administration that bickering over which party is responsible for a record national debt must end.

Simpson, a Republican member of the House Budget Committee, engaged with White House Budget Director Peter Orszag during a hearing Tuesday on President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget. Simpson is an original cosponsor of House Joint Resolution 1, a constitutional amendment requiring balanced annual federal budgets.

Ward becomes fifth Idaho politician to sign "No Climate Tax Pledge"

First District Congress candidate Vaughn Ward has joined four Idaho elected officials in signing a pledge to "oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”

In a news release Tuesday, the free market group Americans for Prosperity, said Ward had signed on. An early signatory was state Treasurer Ron Crane, who signed last year when he was considering running for same job Ward wants, the GOP nomination to face Democrat Walt Minnick.

Come see what the kids are up to these days: Boise State Day at the Capitol

Feb. 11 is the big day for student researchers from BSU to display their projects at the Statehouse.

The Boise State Alumni Association is hosting the event, featuring 52 research projects from 75 undergraduate and graduate students on a range of topics — everything from electromagnetic energy scavenging to the growth and development of kids in foster care.

Projects will be on display between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the fourth floor of the rotunda. Students will be on site to talk about their work.

U of I student paper rips Otter, Legislature, praises Luna

In an editorial titled, "Why come to Idaho?" the University of Idaho Argonaut says Gov. Butch Otter and lawmakers are doing long-term damage to education.

"The reality of the situation is Otter, along with Idaho legislators, only live so long," writes Kelsey Samuels on behalf of the paper's editorial board. "Our generation will have to put up with their choices long after they are gone, and we will have our work cut out for us in putting the state’s higher education system back together."

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