Highlights from 01-21-2013
House takes up plan to revamp panel
A permanent five-member House Ethics Committee would replace the chambers system of convening temporary committees to consider complaints against legislators, according to a measure introduced Monday.
Its now due for a full public hearing in the House Judiciary & Rules Committee.
House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, has been pushing changes since taking office in December.
Rep. Lynn Luker, R- Boise, helped draft the measure. He said having a permanent panel of three majority and two minority members will bolster the groups professionalism and speed up vetting complaints.
Complaints could be filed only by representatives and would be confidential initially, becoming public only after a majority of members agreed to hold hearings.
House members couldnt be called to account for something they did before taking office.
The Associated Press
Administrator asks for 3 new judges
Patti Tobias won introduction of her measure Monday in the House Judiciary & Rules Committee to create new posts in Idahos 3rd, 4th and 7th districts.
The state cost would run about $673,000 annually for three judges, three court reporters and related expenses. The affected counties would pay their share of the expenses, Tobias said.
The Associated Press
Ed committees will hold public hearing
The 2 1/2-hour session is set for the same time and place as the hearing in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that was canceled by GOP leadership last week.
This was always my intent, Bedke said Monday. This is about elevating these other germane committees and is certainly not to denigrate JFAC.
The session will be 8 a.m. Feb. 1 in the Capitol Auditorium.
A joint hearing by the Health & Welfare committees likely will take place the following week, Bedke said. The speaker had hoped that hearing would be Feb. 8, the same day JFAC had scheduled its second listening session, but that date isnt convenient for the committees.
It could get harder to earn spot on ballot
Legislation on referendums and initiatives was introduced Monday at the request of the Idaho Farm Bureau lobbyist.
Idaho lawmakers amended the law in 1997 to require signatures equal to at least 6 percent of the registered voters in at least 22 counties, in an attempt to ensure that such measures dont qualify solely with signatures from Idahos biggest cities. That was overturned as unconstitutional in federal court.
The new proposal is to require signatures from at least 6 percent of registered voters in at least 22 of Idahos 35 legislative districts. The total number of signatures still would have to equal 6 percent of the registered voters in the state.
Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review