Friday, March 7, 2014

Starting to Count Down

I think it's a fairly unanimous call ringing throughout the Statehouse - "We're going to be done by the 21st."

Here's a brief update on what's been going on in the Idaho Legislature since my last post. To put it simply -- a LOT has been going on. We've past the "date of no return," in other words, no more new legislation can be introduced, and today is the goal date for the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the budget-setters, to wrap up the state's 2015 budget.

Here's the update from The Argonaut --

The full House passed Senate Bill 1254, the bill that would allow concealed firearm carry on Idaho college and university campuses, by a 50-19 vote. It will now be moving on to Gov. Otter's desk -- and in the past he said he supports it.

JFAC set the budget for 4-year colleges and universities, giving them a 6.6% increase in funding along with a 2% uptick in employee compensation.

Otter signed the "ag-gag" bill -- Senate Bill 1337 -- the one that would punish activists who surreptitiously gather photos or video of an agricultural production without owner permission. The bill stemmed from a video of employees severely abusing cows at a large southern Idaho dairy. But, Greek yogurt maker Chobani wrote a letter to Gov. Otter requesting he veto. He's one of the key stakeholders in the dairy business, as his $450 million-dollar factory brought over 500 jobs to Twin Falls, Idaho. There have been no statements that Otter will reconsider.

And finally, Otter is officially running for a third term as Idaho governor. That is all.