Submitted by Kevin Richert on Fri, 03/14/2008 - 5:16pm, updated on Fri, 03/14/2008 - 5:17pm
A pair of legislative incumbents, Boise Republican Rep. Max Black and Boise Democratic Rep. Phylis King, filed for re-election Friday.
The end of the first week of candidate filing also saw a familiar name resurface. Former legislator Gary Bauer, who served in the House in 2003 and 2004, will run again in District 11, which includes Gem County and a sliver of Canyon County. Bauer, a Nampa Republican, joins what could be a crowded primary for the seat now held by controversial Rep. Steven Thayn of Emmett.
Bauer narrowly lost in 2004 to current Rep. Carlos Bilbao, and lost again to Bilbao two years later.
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Fri, 03/14/2008 - 3:56pm
House Republican leadership held a news conference this afternoon to defend a constitutional amendment to allow local-option taxes.
But the lawmakers wouldn't predict whether they have the votes to pass the amendment in the House.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee approved the amendment on a 13-5 party-line vote this morning. It now goes to the House floor, where it needs a two-thirds majority — or 47 votes in the 70-member chamber.
Does leadership have the votes? The usually outspoken House Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star smiled and shrugged. House Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts of Donnelly was noncommittal. "We've done no vote-counting at this point in time."
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Fri, 03/14/2008 - 11:10am
The controversial local-option tax amendment is headed to the House floor — after a pair of 13-5, party-line votes in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.
Republicans on the committee approved the constitutional amendment this morning and recommended its passage.
The amendment would allow cities and counties to pursue local sales and use taxes, which would require two-thirds voter approval. Opponents include not just legislative Democrats but some advocates for Treasure Valley public transportation, who say the amendment would not help the Valley solve its regional transportation problems.
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Thu, 03/13/2008 - 5:38pm
One election rumor dispelled.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, has decided to stay put, filing for a second House term representing West Ada County's legislative District 14.
There had been rumors Labrador might jump into a Senate race against incumbent Sen. Stan Bastian, R-Eagle. Bastian, a former Eagle City Council member, will still face an interesting primary challenge from former Eagle mayor's candidate Saundra McDavid.
And the Eagle House races will still be interesting. Former Eagle mayor Nancy Merrill has said she's running for a House seat — which means a run against either Labrador or House Majority Leader Mike Moyle. Meanwhile, former gubernatorial and Boise mayoral candidate Chuck Winder has told Boise Weekly he is looking at running in a District 14 House race.
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Thu, 03/13/2008 - 4:48pm
I'm hearing a chorus of that kids' song. You know, "The wheels on the bus are falling off, falling off, falling off ... "
The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce has said no to the proposed constitutional amendment on local-option taxes.
The chamber, and other transit advocates, have been pushing for a bill that would allow local, voter-approved taxes for public transportation or roads.
The fragile alliance behind a local-option compromise — one Gov. Butch Otter thought might be in place a few days ago — appears to be falling apart in a hurry.
Here's what chamber president CEO Nancy Vannorsdel and board chairman Mark Bowen said in a letter today to House Speaker Lawerence Denney:
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Thu, 03/13/2008 - 12:28pm
After two months of behind-the-scenes discussions, the local-option tax debate went public and became testy.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted this morning to introduce a proposed constitutional amendment to allow local-option sales and use taxes. The vote fell along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed, and foreshadowed the debate to come.
The talking points:
• Why a constitutional amendment? Critics have a good point. If state law already allows some limited local-option taxing authority, for jails or resort cities, what's different here?
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Wed, 03/12/2008 - 5:37pm
Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre announced his re-election campaign today, setting up what could be a high-profile race this fall.
The Republican Yzaguirre, a former Eagle mayor, has served on the commission since 2002. Democratic state Sen. David Langhorst of Boise is stepping down from the Legislature to run for commissioner.
In other highlights from the third day of candidate filings:
• Fruitland Democrat Larry Grant filed his paperwork for a second run at the 1st Congressional District post held by Republican Bill Sali. Grant is expected to face a primary challenge from Boisean Walt Minnick.
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Wed, 03/12/2008 - 3:45pm
One of Rep. Branden Durst's House colleagues took me to task for my Tuesday morning post about the first-term Boise legislator.
Here's what Moscow Democratic Rep. Shirley Ringo had to say in an e-mail earlier today:
"During the 2007 and 2008 sessions of the Idaho Legislature, I have been seated next to Representative Branden Durst. I have observed his constant efforts to respond to his constituents by phone and e-mail. He reads proposed legislation carefully and critically, and asks questions that add clarity and understanding. Representative Durst always displays great passion in his advocacy for Idaho residents. He has been active in proposing legislation to solve problems, but passage of such legislation often requires more than one year of effort. In my opinion, residents of District 18 are well served by Representative Durst. While serving in the legislature is a great honor, it also places great demands on an individual. I am confident that Representative Durst will continue to show growth as he serves in this position."
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Wed, 03/12/2008 - 11:46am
The already-interesting Eagle area legislative races took another intriguing turn this morning.
Saundra McDavid, who nearly won the Eagle mayor's race in December,filed to challenge incumbent Sen. Stan Bastian in the May 27 GOP primary.
McDavid was one of three city candidates who ran as a ticket last fall — and sharply criticized municipal policies on Foothills development and other growth-related issues. Her two colleagues on the "Preserve Eagle" ticket won City Council seats. McDavid outpolled three competitors in the four-way mayor's race in November, but failed to get a majority of the vote; she then lost to Phil Bandy in a December runoff election.
Submitted by Kevin Richert on Wed, 03/12/2008 - 8:48am
Elfreda Higgins, a City Council member from Garden City, is running for an open House seat in Ada County's legislative District 16.
Higgins is a Democrat. District 16, which encompasses Northwest Boise and Garden City, has historically been something of a swing district, but is now served by an all-Democrat delegation.
If elected, the Democrat, wouldn't be the first elected official to split time between city government and the Legislature. Most recently, Republican Sen. Stan Bastian doubled as a member of the Eagle City Council.
Higgins, a longtime community activist, was elected to the council in 2005. While the Garden City Council isn't exactly a high-profile political office, the council is getting heat over a walkers-only section of the city's Boise River Greenbelt — a longstanding mess inherited by the current council. I don't recall ever seeing the biking community weighing in heavily on a legislative race, but I'm sure it's an issue that will surface in her race.