Submitted by Dan Popkey on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 10:40am, updated on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 1:10pm
My story Sunday about the tiff between Idaho's two Republican congressmen has prompted a number of questions to me about why Rep. Mike Simpson went nuclear on his junior colleague, Rep. Raul Labrador.
In short, I'd say that Simpson is ticked at Labrador for two reasons: attacking his good friend, Speaker John Boehner, and, in Simpson's view, undermining an institution that he loves, for all its flaws.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 9:23am, updated on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 9:27am
Republican Rep. Raul Labrador says he's waiting to measure the prospects of reforming immigration law in Congress before determining whether to shift gears and run for governor in 2014. GOP Gov. Butch Otter has said he is running for a third term, but has made no formal announcement.
"Right now, my number one priority is doing something about immigration," Labrador told me Friday. "And it will help me -- seeing how things are in Washington. Whether we can get something done or not is going to be instrumental in helping me make my decision. It's going to be one of the keys.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Fri, 01/11/2013 - 9:39am, updated on Sat, 01/12/2013 - 8:34am
House Speaker Scott Bedke is supporting his predecessor's interest in exploring an Idaho version of the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act, which seeks to shift management of millions of acres of federal lands to the states.
Former Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, is planning informational hearings in the House Resources Committee, which he now chairs. Whether Denney presses for adoption of a bill is still up in the air, Denney told me this week.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 3:04pm, updated on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 4:03pm
The biggest disappointment of Gov. Butch Otter's six years in office is likely his inability to convince lawmakers to raise new revenue for roads and bridges.
Rebuffed by the Legislature in 2008 and 2009, he appointed a Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding in 2009. Fifteen months later, the group agreed state and local highway funding was short by $543 million annually -- made up of $262 million in operation, preservation and restoration; and $281 million in capacity and safety enhancement.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:23am, updated on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 2:04pm
Two years ago when Rep. Eric Anderson lost his vice chairmanship of the House State Affairs Committee, Speaker Lawerence Denney called it an oversight. Denney said Anderson would have to live with the loss of power for two years.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 11:02am, updated on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 11:08am
Fourteen-year veteran Rep. Jim Clark is darkening the halls of the Capitol this week, in his new job as a lobbyist.
Clark, one of the funniest lawmakers ever, represented Kootenai County from 1996-2010 and spent two years as chairman of Ways & Means and four years as chairman of Judiciary. He also spent a decade on the Revenue & Taxation Committee, where I spotted him with his lobbyist's green name tag Wednesday morning.
"This is my third day on the job, so I know everything," Clark said, showing off his J.C. & Associates.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 10:06am, updated on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 10:07am
Tea Party Boise says its not too late to stop Gov. Otter's proposal to implement a state-run health insurance exchange under President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The group is rallying Monday at 1 p.m. at the Capitol and using its January newsletter to promote the event.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 9:48am, updated on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 9:50am
In its January newsletter, Tea Party Boise says Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, "is the only one who not only Talks the Talk but Walks the Walk."
Labrador opposed the deal that lowered income tax rates for all taxpayers excepting individual income over $400,000 and couples over $450,000. The rest of the Idaho's all-GOP delegation -- Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson -- supported the compromise. Labrador said no deal was better than the deal, which ultimately passed the House despite most Republicans voting no.
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 9:22am, updated on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 5:02pm
The Legislature's new gatekeeper on taxes says he had no warning when Gov. Butch Otter proposed authorizing local-option taxes in his State of the State speech Monday.
"There was kind of a big pause when the governor mentioned that in his talk," said House Revenue & Taxation Committee Chairman Gary Collins, R-Nampa. "At least my breath -- my breathing -- changed a little bit. That was a big surprise to me. I think it was to a lot of different people. I guess that will just be part of the conversation."
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Tue, 01/08/2013 - 3:14pm, updated on Tue, 01/08/2013 - 3:16pm
United Vision for Idaho and United Action for Idaho issued a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State and Budget Address on Monday.
The groups, which include labor, human rights and activists of various stripes, say Otter favors business over ordinary workers and belittles the contributions of the public sector.
The full statement follows: