Lobbyists, H&W Understaffing, Meth

A survey conducted last fall and released by the Idaho Meth Project Tuesday shows that Idaho youth know quite a bit about meth and are not overwhelmingly concerned about the drug. Talk at the Legislature has turned to Health and Welfare funding this week, specifically funding for housing mentally ill people. Also, workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians may not be addressed by the Senate, an updated definition of lobbying is in the works according to the BW and an interim state bighorn sheep-domestic sheep plan is nearly complete…

[Refresh for updates]

McKenzie threatens to block anti-discrimination bill. Chairman of Senate State Affairs said bill to add sexual orientation to Idaho’s Human Rights Act will likely NOT get a hearing. Curt McKenzie: “I don’t know if we want to broaden those characteristics (for discrimination) to include lifestyle choices like that does.” Proponents still hopeful for hearing. Butts in the Press Tribune. Gay man beaten in Sandpoint, not charged as hate crime because there is no statute on crimes against homosexuals. Keith Kinnaird in the Bonner County Daily Bee.

One student in every junior high and high school class has used meth. New survey shows lenient attitudes toward the drug among Idaho youth. Weight loss and energy are selling points. Strauss in the Press Tribune. Survey conducted last fall, released Tuesday. Poppino in the Times-News. Respondents given $10. Boone, AP in the State Journal. Forester in the Statesman. Adam Cotterell interviews Lori Otter on Boise State Radio. Survey here [pdf].

Green fees are lobbying too. Secretary of State bringing bill to define lobbying as hanging out with politicians if you are paid to influence them anyway. More or less. Hoffman in the BW.

Craig, Crapo voted against Craig-Wyden funding for rural schools. N. Idaho school districts may lose millions in funding. Shoshone County commissioner Sherry Krulitz: “At this point we surely shouldn’t have to convince our senators in Washington how much this issue matters to their rural communities back in Idaho.” Ty Hampton in the Shoshone News Press.

Rural-urban divide aired at joint transportation meeting. Roberts, Wood concerned that increased ITD funding would not benefit rural highway districts. ITD cost-cutting praised. Druzin in the Statesman. Twin Falls Rep. Leon Smith: “The GARVEE presentation was an effort to characterize their concerns separately, so it would make it appear necessary they get an additional $134 million appropriated this year.” Hopkins in the Times-News.

H&W wants to add beds to State Hospital in Nampa. For dangerous mentally ill patients now at other facilities. Also would add housing for developmentally disabled. AP in the Press Tribune. Don Wimberly on Boise State Radio. [AUDIO]

Understaffing at children’s welfare division keeping kids in foster care too long. Health and Welfare division asks for 12 new positions to help with caseload. Boone, AP on Eye on Boise.

South Idaho Head Start funds in jeopardy. Federal and state cuts expected. Gates in the Times-News.

Lawmakers could still pony up $1 million for 9th grade ISAT. But probably won’t. Dean Cameron: “I think it’s a valuable tool. But I don’t think it’s the end of the world we don’t have it until the State Board gets things straight.” Hopkins in the Times-News.

Bonneville schools super back Luna plan. Expiring contracts motivate workers better, he tells joint education committees. Testimony continues today at 3 p.m. in the Hall of Mirrors. Davidson in the Post Register.

Colleges ask for access to building fund monies. Boise State’s Marty Peterson: “There are no requirements that any money has to go into it at all, but what we would hope is that in times where there’s a little bit of budget surplus, and the state is looking for one-time expenditures, they’ll look at this fund as a place to put some money and let higher education go out and match it with nonstate sources.” Allen in the Statesman.

Bighorn plan calls for buffers, killing sheep. Gov. Otter wants interim bighorn sheep management plan on his desk Feb. 15. Wild and domestic sheep advocates sound off on the plan. AP in the State Journal.

Idaho milk output doubles. Outpaces taters. But who knows how many cows we have? Guy Hand on Boise State Radio.

Snowpack about normal, but should double by April. Farmers watching the weather. Don Taber: “I’m committed on corn right now, but you’ve got to be flexible. … Come March, if the snow’s not there, you’ve got to be nimble.” Barker in the Statesman.

Owyhee Co. gets it from both ends. Proactive energy plan for the county eschews nuclear, but state, which favors local decision making, puts the pressure on. Nowhere to turn for info. Shea Andersen in the BW.

Welcome to Paleomedia

Follow & Lead