Transit Rally, Gilligan’s & God

A deal on local option tax for transit appears stalled now that major transit groups have withdrawn support for the compromise. Valley Regional Transit and COMPASS met Friday and opposed or took no position respectively on running a Constitutional amendment to authorize local taxing. Republican House leaders are moving forward with their plan anyway and it could be up to Democrats to lend support or squash the compromise measure.

While only about six people showed up, a rally for transit and against changing the Constitution in Nampa did get some coverage.

Unda’ the Rotunda deplores legislative prayer, Mary Ann busted and hot supreme court race in today’s Newsrack (which had 200 readers yesterday and is now accepting advertising and donations)

Transit advocates oppose Constitution route. Valley Regional Transit, a key group pushing for local option taxes for transit, opposes the compromise reached with House leadership to amend the Constitution. Conservatives want to write a high threshold for passage of local option tax in to the state Constitution. Otter, Counties support it, but transit groups have withdrawn support. COMPASS took no position. Ferguson in the LMT [subscrip]. Kovsky short in the IBR. Transit protest in Nampa. With captive commuter audience. Give us local option tax now, without Constitutional amendment. Runkle in the Press Tribune.

U.S. Constitution merely tolerates Jesus in the Annex. Daily prayers at Idaho, other Legislatures are pretty much unamerican. So says Hoffman in the Boise Weekly.

House bills propose $40 million for ITD. Short of $240 million Otter wants for transpo funding. JoAn Wood: Tack $24 onto registrations. Jaquet: “It’s just frustrating to me that there doesn’t seem to be more analytical assistance” from Idaho Transportation Department officials. Miller, AP in the Argus. ITD not talking. Druzin in the Statesman.

Senate committee approves slashing state retiree funds. Caps current bennies and eliminates future coverage for retirees. Shifrin AP in the Press Tribune.

Cement truck bill on Otter’s desk. Would require inspections of cement trucks with promise not to hinder cement making. Two widows from Grangeville brought the bill after a cement truck with bald tires killed their husbands, who worked for the state. Ferguson in the LMT [subscrip].

Audit questions usefulness of three state planes. Otter admin needs them to get around the state, and hey, other governors have planes too. Idaho planes are old. Russell in the Spokesman.

Permanent absentee for some bill may not get hearing. Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher tabled the counties bill for absentee votes and will only bring his modified version to hearing if the counties want it. It allows for permanent absentee status for homebound, missionaries. Missionaries? Davidson in the Post Register.

Loertscher also wants to strike party convention language from state law. Bill would remove references to political conventions and delegates from state law. Dems, Sec of State withholding comment for now. Davidson in the Post Register.

Judge running for Supreme Court spot to highlight political nature of appointees. John Bradbury, 71, says Trout resigned early so governor could appoint a new judge, so he’s taking on political appointee Joel Horton: “These are the same justices that swear to uphold the constitution that requires no partisan elections (in judges’ races). It’s a disgrace.” Hedberg in the LMT [subscrip].

Owyhee County energy plan author resigns. Retains attorney on eve of hearing on conditional use permit for Idaho Energy Complex, a proposed nuclear site near Bruneau. Joe Weatherby: “I’m trying to do this without blowing the county up. I’ve worked my butt off to try to do the right thing for the county, and most of the time I get kicked in the teeth.” JPB in the Owyhee Avalanche.

dawn wells mugDawn Wells of Mary Ann fame on Gilligan’s isle caught with pot. Count the three-hour tour references. It was on her birthday. And they just got a film incentive bill to bring more Hollywood crews to Idaho passed after years of trying. Post Register’s Wells had the story. AP on Press Tribune. CNN.

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