[Vision2020] Grading the 2008 Idaho Legislatue's 2008 Session

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sun Apr 6 07:04:31 PDT 2008

>From today's (April 6, 2008) Spokesman Review -


In review: Idaho Legislature's 2008 session


•Several measures to scale back a proposed North Idaho water rights 

•An increase in Idaho's grocery tax credit.

•A tax exemption that will free 88 percent of Idaho businesses from paying 
the personal property tax on business equipment.

•Vehicle emission testing for areas with severe air pollution.

•Felony penalties for dogfighting.

•New regulations on the impact of field burning on public health.

•A $134 million bonding plan for some highway projects.

•Ratification of fuel tax agreements between the state and Idaho Indian 

•Measures to prevent invasive quagga mussels from entering Idaho waterways.

•A small pay increase for state employees.

•Bonding plans for a new $70 million secure mental health facility.

•A school math initiative.

•A $10 million investment into a state scholarship fund.


•Funding to address a $200 million-a-year road maintenance backlog.

•Authority for voters to impose local-option sales taxes.

•Basic regulations for small day-care centers including criminal 
background checks.

•A teacher merit pay plan; statewide review of unexpected child deaths.

•Early-childhood education.

•Vote by mail.

•Election consolidation.

•Divestment of the state retirement fund from Sudan.

•Expansion of state anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation.

•Changes in Idaho's primary election system.

•A plan to sharply increase state employee pay while cutting benefits.

•Changes to state retiree health benefits.

•Full funding for substance abuse treatment services (though 90 percent 
funding was approved through a compromise).

•A private prison.

•Changes sought by local governments after a state Supreme Court decision 
limited their ability to take on debt.

•A $50 million boost for a state college scholarship fund. 


Here is how I grade this past legislative session:


1)  It took Michael Vick, a former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, 
(and some key reps from right here in Vandalville, Tom Trail and Shirley 
Ringo) to get the Idaho legislatue to pass felony penalities for promoting 

2)  Although the pro-rated 3-percent pay increase for state employees is 
not in step with our neighbors, it is better than the zero-percent last 

3)  A healthy "thumbs up" for scaling back the recent water rights 
adjudication.  We really must clean up our own backyard before we start 
giving handouts.

4)  A much-appreciated failure to pass sharp cuts to state employee 
retirement health benefits.

5)  A tax exemption that will free 88-percent of Idaho businesses from 
paying the personal property tax on business equipment.  You can almost 
hear a loud sigh of relief up and down Moscow's Main Street.


1)  Failing to pass legislation requiring criminal background checks of 
employees of small daycare centers (coming to a street corner near you).

2)  Failure to pass legislation expanding anti-discrimination laws to 
include sexual orientation.  Just another legislative notch for the 

3)  Failure to pass legislation requiring investigations of questionable 
infant deaths.  Idaho remains the ONLY state in the union not to enact 
such legislation.

I give this session a "C-".

Once again, the Idaho legislature (and its lame governor) keep the streets 
safe and profitable for adult, white, male corporate Idaho.  Way to go, 

Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"People who ridicule others while hiding behind anonymous monikers in chat-
room forums are neither brave nor clever." 

- Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch (August 21,

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