Legislative news in spades

The Idaho Associated Press bureau put on a show Thursday with three panels including Senate and House leadership from both parties and discussions on transportation and schools. The panel generated stories on pavement and teacher pay and set the stage for some good battles in the session to come. Also, ’07 was a record year for Idaho ag and Obama and Romney supporters were glued to CNN last night.

Idahoans will pay for pavement. Senate Majority Leader says stars are aligning for transportation funding and House Speaker Denney says: “People were willing to pay as long as they know it is going to pavement.” Sewell in the Statesman.

Davis: Idaho needs a revolving door. At least 8 former lawmakers or governor staff have moved into lobbying in the past year. Sen. Minority Leader Clint Stennett: “We’re using public money in order to help promote the careers and give these individuals the access that they have.” And Sen. Majority Leader Bart Davis: “For Idaho, it seems to be more of a solution in search of a problem.” John Miller, AP in IPT. And Eye on Boise has the latest spin of the revolving door in Kempthorne aide David Lehrman.

Luna, IEA sqaure off on teacher pay. Debate at AP Legislative preview forum focuses on teacher job security and basis for supplemental pay. Rep. Ringo: “There are many important educational outcomes that are not measured in a multiple-choice test. (And market scarcity) isn’t really a measure of excellence, it’s a measure of convenience.” Mike Butts in the IPT… And Luna has heard a mouthful from both teachers and law makers but he’s sticking by the iSTARS (little i) and says it has the best chance of passage: “It would be a waste of our time, and everyone else’s time, to put forth a plan that isn’t going to go anywhere.” Anne Wallace Allen in the Statesman.

Idaho farmers have record year. U of I ag economists estimate record-high cash receipts of $5.6 billion in 2007. All time high for potato sales, but livestock continues to outpace crops, with dairy coming in at $2.04 billion, a 56 percent increase from ’06. U of I’s Bill Loftus in Ag Weekly. And Blackfoot Morning News (scroll down) says ’08 is UN Year of the Potato.

Thank IBR for going to Idaho Legislature Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee. Economist predicts slow growth in front of budget setters. Brad Carlson in the IBR.

Audio from the Legislative preview. Samantha Wright on Boise State Radio.

Gov. orders fuel efficiency for state fleet. Otter spokesman Jon Hanian: “It’s just an effort to get a handle on our greenhouse gas emissions… He felt the state needs to be taking the lead on this issue and coming up with proactive solutions to this problem.” Todd Dvorak, AP in the IPT… and briefly reported here first.

ID schools fail in national nutrition study. State Dept. of Ed, local districts cry foul, but Twin district has 11 soda machines and 3 milk machines. Andrea Gates in the Times-News.

Party at Boise Obama HQ. Boise, Twin Falls Obama supporters celebrate. Bethann Stewart in the Statesman and Christensen in the Times-News.

Risch stumped for Romney in Iowa. Lt. Gov. is Romney campaign chairman in Idaho. Risch: “You only have to spend about three minutes with Mitt Romney and you get convinced really quickly that this is the real deal.” Statesman.

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