Deal struck to protect funding for Idaho Human Rights Commission

A quickly struck deal with the Idaho Department of Labor appears to have filled a funding gap at the Idaho Human Rights Commission.

Pam Parks, the commission’s director, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Friday that the commission can be folded into the Department of Labor without compromising its duties to enforce civil rights and anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, public accommodations, education and various transactions.

“The resources would be there to fulfill those functions,” Parks said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Movement to save Idaho Public Television goes grassroots on Facebook

Wednesday afternoon, the "Save Idaho Public Television" Facebook group had 600 members.

By Thursday morning, the number had grown to 845. By Thursday afternoon, the number of members had grown to 1,119, and the cause is still young.

This use of social networking for a cause comes on the heels of Gov. Butch Otter's proposal to wean seven agencies and commissions, including IPTV, off state money over the next four years.

Mayor Dave Bieter: Obama's approach to cities "refreshing"

WASHINGTON – When President Barack Obama said the word "livable," he had Boise Mayor Dave Bieter's attention.

Bieter, in Washington for the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was among more than 200 mayors at the White House on Thursday, for a reception with the president. The mayors at the White House gave the president a standing ovation when he was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden. Many interrupted their applause to take cell-phone photos of the host.

Sec. Of State: Supreme Court decision won’t affect Idaho

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said Thursday afternoon that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on corporate contributions to campaigns will not affect the state.

From the McClatchy D.C. bureau:

WASHINGTON — A closely divided Supreme Court on Thursday swept away long-standing limits on campaign spending by unions and corporations.

Tax check-off for Idaho political parties one step closer to extinction

The House State Affairs Committee passed House Bill 379 on Thursday morning. The bill would end tax form check-offs for Idaho’s political parties.

The lone dissenting vote was Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello.

Next up: The full Idaho House will consider the bill.

Reps. Phylis King, D-Boise, and Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, have said they will propose a trailer bill to reinstate the tax check-off, but the money will come from an individual’s tax rebate or be added to their tax bill rather than the current set-up which diverts money from the general fund.

Blake Hall denies claims made in civil suit, seeks jury trial

Former Idaho GOP Chairman Blake Hall denies allegations made in a civil suit by a former girlfriend he pleaded guilty to stalking last year. Allison Chambers and her husband, John, have sued Hall alleging that he assaulted and falsely imprisoned Mrs. Chambers, and trespassed, inflicted emotional distress, invaded her privacy and stalked her.

Simpson: Allow 2009 tax credit for 2010 Haiti donations

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in calling for taxpayers to be able to claim charitable donations to the Haitian earthquake relief effort on their 2009 income taxes.

"Tragedy tends to bring out the best in Americans, and it is clear that this situation is no different, as Haiti has been flooded with vital assistance from individual citizens in the past week," he said in a statement. "I am hopeful that this legislation will provide an incentive for Americans to continue to give to rescue and recovery efforts in Haiti."

Crapo supports an independent budget commission, but maybe not the White House version

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has long advocated finding ways to roll back the federal deficit, and was among a bipartisan group of 30 senators who support an 18-member task force that would review the government’s long-term financial condition.

But he's not as excited about a compromise proposal that came out of the White House Tuesday night, said spokeswoman Susan Wheeler. President Barack Obama's proposal would create an independent budget commission to find ways to change the tax code and entitlement spending to curb the deficit.

1264029874 Crapo supports an independent budget commission, but maybe not the White House version Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bipartisan group speaks out against proposed cuts to Idaho Human Rights Commission

A group of local leaders, including former Gov. Cecil D. Andrus, Bethine Church, former Republican state Sen. Laird Noh, and Rev. Brian J. Thom,
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho, have sent an open letter to the Idaho Legislature, urging lawmakers to vote against Gov. Butch Otter’s proposal to phase out state funding for the Idaho Human Rights Commission over the next four years.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will review the Human Rights Commission budget at 8:45 a.m., Friday, Jan. 22 at the Idaho State Capitol.

1264021749 Bipartisan group speaks out against proposed cuts to Idaho Human Rights Commission Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

State street improvements divide Capitol Commission, 4-3

The Idaho State Capitol Commission voted 4-3 Wednesday to fund $350,000 in changes to State Street as it runs past the Capitol, between 6th and 8th streets.

The improvements will narrow the street from its pre-construction width of about 40 feet to 28 feet, by constructing a new curb and planter beds. The new curb will be placed roughly where Jersey barriers have stood during renovation and expansion of the Capitol.

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