Land Department, board ignore parks issue

At two meetings Tuesday the agency that would oversee Idaho parks after a "conceptual" reorganization proposal didn't talk about the controversial issue Rocky Barker says in Letters from the West.

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Handicapped access needs work at Capitol, commission chairman says

The Idaho State Capitol Commission is working to improve handicapped access in the newly renovated and expanded building.

Capitol Commission Chairman Andy Erstad said handicapped visitors wanting to see the entire building need help from security officers to access elevators reserved for legislators and state employees.

Erstad said the problem became clear to him last week as he led a tour and had a handicapped person in his group. He said Jan Frew, executive project manager for the Division of Public Works, is working on a solution.

Vaughn Ward sets announcement tour, including an appearance with Kempthorne, Luna

GOP Congressional candidate Vaughn Ward begins a 14-stop “Official Ward for Congress Announcement Tour" in Emmett Tuesday morning. Later that day, at 3 p.m., he will be joined by former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna for a press conference on the Statehouse steps.

1264005252 Vaughn Ward sets announcement tour, including an appearance with Kempthorne, Luna Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Committee rejects increased boat fees

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee voted down a proposal to increase fees for invasive species stickers. The fee was instituted last year.

The proposal, brought by the Department of Parks and Recreation, would have increased non-motorized fees from $5 to $7 and increased the fee for out-of-state boaters by $2 as well.

Third fiscal 2010 cut likely; Democrat says it's time to talk tax hike

A third mid-year spending holdback is now likely, a co-chairman of the Legislature’s joint budget committee said Tuesday, and one Senate Democrat responded by saying tax increases should now be considered.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, told Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong during the department’s budget hearing to expect another cut before fiscal year 2010 ends June 30.

Boise Bench Democrats begin office hours Wednesday night

Legislators representing the Boise Bench will resume office hours Wednesday evening, a service they offer during legislative sessions.

The District 17 Democrats, Sen. Elliot Werk and Reps. Bill Killen and Sue Chew, will be available from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays until the Legislature adjourns. The meetings are open to constituents on a first come, first served basis, at the Borah High School Career Center, 6001 Cassia Street.

Office hours will not be held when the three lawmakers hold public forums.

Democrats reverse policy, shut the public out

After nine years of open party caucuses, Idaho Democrats met behind closed doors Monday, abandoning their argument that they are the champions of transparency at the Idaho Legislature.

Shortly before 11 a.m., a Democratic aide distributed a statement loaded with sports metaphors to reporters, saying the House and Senate caucuses had unanimously voted to closed their caucuses.

Horse racing groups remain "far apart" from agreement at Les Bois Park

Idaho Racing Commission president Dennis Jackson appeared before the House State Affairs Committee on Monday for a routine hearing about the commission’s re-writing of its rulebook.

Before Jackson left the meeting, however, Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, asked him about the most pressing issue in the horse-racing community: the fate of Les Bois Park.

“The farther we go into the year, the more concern I have. We have no agreement,” Jackson said.

Income tax penalty on saving for college may be lifted; but state could gain on sales tax collections

Families putting a lot of money away for college would get a break under a change proposed by the Idaho Tax Commission and introduced Monday by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Under current law, savers who roll over Idaho college savings plans to another state’s “529” plan, must pay back taxes on any income previously deducted from their Idaho personal income tax liability.

1263833604 Income tax penalty on saving for college may be lifted; but state could gain on sales tax collections Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

True story of newspaper boy’s death revealed

An old Statehouse tale holds that an Idaho Statesman carrier fell almost 200 feet from near the top of the Capitol Rotunda to his death many years ago.

On Friday, the Senate’s senior member, Denton Darrington, told colleagues that a newspaper boy did indeed die in a fall. But the drop was about 40 feet, from the fourth floor to the first floor on a Saturday shortly before Christmas in 1926.

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