Boise's singing senator brings down the house

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb's rendition of "O Holy Night," brought 700 people to their feet Tuesday night in the last of three holiday benefit concerts organized by Curtis Stigers at Boise's Egyptian Theater.

Buckner-Webb, who learned to sing in church, was one of 21 acts in a marvelous three-hour show. Stigers has been doing his Extreme Holiday Xtravaganza for seven years to benefit the Interfaith Sanctuary Homeless Shelter.

Idaho's Crapo opines on consequences of inaction on 'fiscal cliff,' vows to press on for comprehensive tax reform

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, says in his weekly column to describe the impact of tax increases should a deal not be struck by year's end and reiterate his promise to work for comprehensive tax reform. Crapo is an original member of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" in the Senate and served on the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission.

1355938356 Idaho's Crapo opines on consequences of inaction on 'fiscal cliff,' vows to press on for comprehensive tax reform Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Idaho Rep. Patterson defends 'I don't do Facebook' claim despite dozens of postings

Newly-elected Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, on Tuesday elaborated on his statement that campaign staff caused misstatements on his campaign biography which exaggerated his education and professional credentials.

Patterson addressed the question how he could say he never used Facebook when his campaign page has dozens of posts since 2010, most recently last week.

"I don't do Facebook," Patterson told John Miller of the Associated Press in a story published Monday.

1355864218 Idaho Rep. Patterson defends 'I don't do Facebook' claim despite dozens of postings Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reviving Idaho's Luna laws would spark third recall effort, says twice-failed comedian

Boise comedian Pete Peterson said his third attempt to gather 158,000 signatures and force a recall vote depends on whether Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter attempt to re-enact the laws widely rejected by voters in November.

"If Butch and Luna reintroduce the three Luna laws or some variation of those it could generate another firestorm that would eclipse anything that happened in 2011," Peterson said Tuesday.

1355854962 Reviving Idaho's Luna laws would spark third recall effort, says twice-failed comedian Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Deputize armed volunteers to protect schools, says perennial Idaho candidate Pro-Life

The six-time candidate formerly known as Marvin Richardson said Monday that he's running for governor again and urged sheriffs to organize an unpaid cadre or armed guards for Idaho's schools.

"The community would say, 'Farmer Joe's over there with his gun,' and they'd feel safe," Pro-Life said Monday in reaction to Friday's deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

He suggested Idaho's 44 sheriffs meet with school boards to discuss the matter.

1355848533 Deputize armed volunteers to protect schools, says perennial Idaho candidate Pro-Life Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Idaho formally casts four votes for Romney-Ryan; no boycott talk

Idaho's four members of the Electoral College cast their votes Monday for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan presidential ticket during a short ceremony overseen by Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and Gov. Butch Otter.

Electors in the 50 states and District of Columbia all voted today.

There was no mention by the Idaho participants of the suggestion by state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, that Idaho and other GOP states boycott the Electoral College. Nuxoll mistakenly argued that denying the process a quorum would have thrown the election to the U.S. House, where Romney would have won.

Deide says table 'hot-button' Idaho ed reforms to 2014, move ahead on others ASAP

Darrel Deide, who chairs a PAC loyal to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, says Idaho lawmakers should re-enact many of the reforms rejected by voters last month, but employ an interim task force to take on the most controversial issues and report to the 2014 Legislature.

In an essay he sent me Sunday, the longtime former Caldwell school superintendent and chairman of Idahoans for Choice in Education offers the greatest detail yet about how pro-reform forces may proceed.

1355781091 Deide says table 'hot-button' Idaho ed reforms to 2014, move ahead on others ASAP Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Early discussions afoot on archiving audio and video of Idaho Legislature's proceedings

Upgrades in the remodeled Capitol made for a huge advance in
public access to the proceedings
of the House and Senate. Floor actions are available on live video and audio is live-streamed from committees.

But the question of whether to preserve the digital record has been a largely behind-the-scenes conversation among top legislative leaders. The technology exists, says Idaho Public TV General Manager, but current policy calls for destruction of the Legislature's digital audio and video after five days.

1355541883 Early discussions afoot on archiving audio and video of Idaho Legislature's proceedings Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Idaho's Labrador swaps committees to play larger role in immigration reform

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, landed a spot on the House Judiciary Committee for 2013 and 2014, where he can expand his portfolio as an expert on immigration reform.

Labrador, easily elected to a second term last month, has been touted as a key player despite having just two years in the House. Labrador's practice of immigration law was attacked by former Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick during the 2010 campaign, but his expertise is welcome among House Republicans seeking to adjust GOP policy to reflect the political reality of a growing Hispanic electorate.

Otter appoints new Idaho budget chief, Jani Revier

Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday announced the long-awaited and just-in-time-for-the-Legislature appointment of a new administrator of the Division of Financial Management.

Revier, who worked for Otter during his three terms in the U.S. House, succeeds Wayne Hammon, who resigned in September to run the Idaho Associated General Contractors. (My Q&A with Hammon ran Tuesday in the Statesman's Business Insider.)

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