Teacher Contracts, Guns & Abortion

With school board members from across the state in town Tuesday, top lawmakers and schools chief Tom Luna declared his controversial teacher merit pay plan dead, citing a lack of buy in. Details of a new plan were sketched out during several private meetings throughout the afternoon.

Committees are having fun with abortion and gun rights. And toll roads. And midwives.

And a Michigan policy on immigrant drivers licenses, similar to one being considered by the Idaho Legislature, is shutting out thousands legitimate workers. Rick Pluta on Michigan Public Radio… in today’s Newsrack.

New teacher contract idea gone. “iSTARS II” now in the works. No Category 4 contracts proposed, but ISAT is still a measure for teacher merit pay. Allen in the Statesman. Merit pay for hard-to-fill positions, additional teaching duties. Miller, AP in the Press Tribune.

Rival abortion bill would felonize anti-abortion coercion. Adds a clause to Nonnini abortion coercion bill to make coercing a woman NOT to have an abortion a crime as well. Both measures awaiting legal opinion. Druzin in the Statesman.

Interfaith group lobbies for grocery tax credit. Poorest couples who do not file tax returns don’t qualify for the $20 credit. Fix it. Miller, AP in the Press Tribune.

Attorney General says Moscow City violates gay marriage ban. Recent policy extends health benefits to domestic partners. AG apparently says it’s unconstitutional, based on Idaho’s marriage definition. ACLU, city defend policy. Druzin in the Statesman. No one has applied for the benefits. State law precludes city from offering bennies. David Johnson in the LMT [subscrip].

Just be born. Docs oppose voluntary midwife licensing bill… Unda’ the Rotunda asks why.

College kids with guns at Annex. Debate today on superseding local gun bans. Rep. Roberts: It’s a freedom issue. Ferguson in the LMT [subscrip]. REMINDER: Capitol Mall area is a no-carry zone. Except for Legislators…

Lobbyists with connections. All of them really. Lobbying in Idaho is a family affair. AP in the IBR.

What I’ve got is a brain tumor. Sen. Clint Stennett’s tumor removed, now on to chemo, experimental drugs. Stennett: “And I intend to be working and taking the treatments at the same time.” He’s coming out swinging. Stahl in the http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005119329.

County toll roads proposal rejected. Nice idea, but nah. State can authorize toll roads under old, old law. Russell in the Spokesman.

School districts seek help for waning rural school funding. Craig-Wyden timber money could cost rural districts thousands. Appeals to Legislature for help. Ferguson in the LMT [subscrip].

Vote by mail stalled, again. Counties want permanent absentee status. Tom Loertscher, a Bone Republican, has not scheduled a hearing. Dan Chadwick, Idaho Counties Association: “We keep hearing, ‘Maybe this week, maybe next week. I just want a hearing on the bill.” Davidson in the Post Register [subscrip].

Senate will do naturopathic rules, then. Alternative docs can’t get their act together. Sen. Chuck Coiner: “I’ve never seen a group as dysfunctional as this one. They don’t understand the process. They don’t understand what they’re talking about.” Poppino in the Times-News.

ICL: No public involvement in bighorn plan. Conservation League letter: Otter plan to separate bighorn sheep and domestics is top down policy, inviting lawsuits. Depts. of Ag and Fish and Game plan due to governor Thursday. Christensen in the http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2008/02/13/news/local_state/130677.txt.

US Fish and Wildlife wants out of sage grouse agreement. Service says agreement could delay listing decision, but environmental lawyers want them to wait for a sage grouse report in November. Attorney Laird Lucas: “If we don’t wait for that, it means they can put science aside. We’ve already seen them do it.” Ridler, AP in the Press Tribune

N. Idaho silver mining on the upswing. Sterling Mining in the Silver Valley hiring new workers, pulling out lots of silver. Garmire in the CDA Press.

White men still running Boise City, Ada County. Meridian has a few women. Boise city councilwoman Maryanne Jordan: “We have a great team, I just wished it photographed a little differently.” Kreller in the Statesman.

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