Fire, Election Dates & Guns

The budget committee is paying off supplemental requests for last year including more than $20 million for fire fighting. Lawmakers are hearing from the Ag Department about field burning, animal abuse and… fire. And a dog fighting and closed primary bill could be introduced this morning at the Capitol Annex. See this calendar and this one for details. [Refresh for more stories]

Field burning negotiations, reseeding negotiations. Ag director Celia Gould tells lawmakers N. Idaho field burning could begin in August, depending on negotiations with SAFE. And Western Watersheds Project keeps feds from replanting non-native crested wheat on burned federal lands. Ferguson in the LMT.

Animal neglect cases up 33 percent. State vet tells ag committee that high feed prices and reality television are to blame for rising horse abuse. Ferguson in the LMT.

Lake: all elections should be during primary or general. Bill would force levy votes, others to be held in May or November. Consolidation would give school districts an additional date in March for bond elections. Phil Davidson in the Post Register.

Otter wants fire fighting money up front. Gov. asking for $10 million for fires in his Emergency Fund. Budget committee pays $21.5 million for fighting last year’s fires. Otter’s ex-wife’s ranch burned in Murphy Complex fire. Hopkins in the Times-News.

Luna wants $1.9 million for new data system. Database would track students better, like 45 other states do. Could help districts track enrollment, ease transfers. Andrea Gates in the Times-News.

Bonner, Boundary Co. want out of water adjudication. Bill would remove three North Idaho basins from water rights analysis. Goins in the CDA Press. Analysis at Ridenbaugh Press.

Lawmakers hobbled. McGeachin has torn ACL. Stegner, Gannon missed state of the state due to complications from prostate cancer. Davidson in the Post Register.

Sagness filling in for Malepeai. Richard Sagness, retired dean of ISU’s education college, is taking Edgar Malepeai’s seat in the Senate this year. Malepeai is tending to an ill relative. AP in the State-Journal.

House business committee give nod to mortgage rules. State requires 2 hours of ethics training for loan originators. Lora Volkert in the IBR.

48 US Senators Want Their Guns in Parks. Kempthorne considering request to allow firearms in National Parks. Carrying was banned during the Reagan admin to protect wildlife and the growing crowds at the parks. Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern: “People want to see a bogeyman in this, and there isn’t one there. It’s about consistency and how folks use the land.” Pete Zimowsky in the Statesman.

Anti-Meth ads in high school papers. $1.6 million in the campaign so far. Idaho chasing down Montana for lower meth use. Bethann Stewart in the Statesman.

Snowpack improving. Southern Idaho still below average precip. Ag Weekly.

Weak snow layer, changed conditions in backcountry. Avalanche danger high. Keith Ridler, AP in the Press-Tribune.

In the Blogs: Mountain Goat Report has an analysis of Sali’s speech to the House.

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