Otter’s agenda & response

Gov. Otter’s ’08 agenda — grocery tax relief, money for southern Idaho water users, a freeze on property taxes — is getting a public airing prior to his state of the state address, but some law makers feel left out and are casting doubts on his ability to get it done… Discussion of local option taxes to fund Treasure Valley transit needs, the state roadless plan and Moscow’s offer of health benefits to domestic partners in today’s News Rack.

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Otter’s top-down governing peeves some lawmakers. “We’re going to meet,” he said. “We just haven’t yet.” Sens. Hill, Cameron, Langhorst, others want in on the governor’s pre-session thought process. Extensive AP review by Miller. Statesman.

Local option tax bill still opposed by Canyon Co. Reps Collins, Schaefer. Rodine. Statesman.

State roadless plan reccs may not do what they say they do. “Though statements by Risch and others contend that the draft Idaho plan would fully protect the state’s roadless areas, Forest Service documents seem to indicate otherwise.” Kauffman. Mtn. Express.

Thayn, Fulcher, McKenzie, Jorgenson, Bowers, Hart ask AG for non-binding opinion on Moscow domestic partner benefits resolution. Druzin. Statesman.

Minimum wage will go up to $5.85 an hour next week (from $5.15), affecting 3.2 percent of non-farm workers in the state. Idaho minimum wage will increase in coming years tied to federal minimum wage increases, but Washington state already requires at least $7.93/hr. Estrella. Statesman.

Canyon County buys land for temporary jail. $1.78 million. 200 inmates. Statesman.

Democratic presidential candidates suggest an overhaul of No Child Left Behind, including de-emphasizing testing, or as John Edwards put it: “You don’t make a hog fatter by weighing it.” Sam Dillon. NYT.

New Mormon Temple in Rexburg to open soon… home prices skyrocket near the temple. National interest in the LDS church up with Romney candidacy as well. John Miller, AP.Washington Post. Also, Mormon police chief/novelist in Idaho Falls makes the Seattle PI

Rare Billie Holiday recording to be featured at Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest in February. AP in International Herald Tribune.

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