Really? … $1.2 million for a bathroom, bedroom, shower and earthquake upgrades

At first glance, the fire department bond measure in Boise appears to have a predictable premise, funding a number of projects to update and upgrade the city’s fire department infrastructure with low-cost municipal debt. Five major projects are detailed for a total cost of $17 million, with the largest at $6.8 million to a build a new “live fire” training facility. We are also told that spending the money will save taxpayers money because the borrowing costs, now, are less than the costs of construction over several years, when the inflation component is added. The notion is that Boise can
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‘Criminal frequenting’ is a trap door that should be sealed shut

One crime that has held my ire is “criminal frequenting.” Most traditional crimes in the Idaho Code are appropriately contained in Title 18, under the heading “Crimes and Punishments.” “Criminal frequenting,” however, is found in Title 37, Chapter 27, along with many other crimes, under “Uniform Controlled Substances.” According to I.C. 37-2732(d): “It shall be unlawful for any person to be present at or on premises of any place where he knows illegal controlled substances are being manufactured or cultivated, or are being held for distribution, transportation, delivery, administration, use, or to be given away. A violation of this section
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Constitutional amendment cements our system of checks and balances

When the EPA announced this summer that it was putting in place regulations that would stretch its authority over wide swaths of private property, much of the country was in an uproar. The EPA said that dry streambeds that only occasionally flow with water, small ponds and watering holes should be regulated as “navigable waters of the U.S.,” subjecting them to the Clean Water Act. Imaginative and outrageous as these regulations are, Congress is unable to tell the EPA to pound sand. Regulations passed by federal agencies—from the EPA to the IRS to the Department of Health and Human Services—cannot
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Freedom of religion and freedom of association under attack in Idaho

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene. When they politely declined to perform a marriage for a gay couple, they found themselves on the wrong side of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Now they could be facing 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each day they decline to perform the wedding. Although the city previously stated that “if you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services for them, then in theory you violated our code, and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation,” once confronted with
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HJR2: Institutionalizes oversight into state constitution

Whether it passes or fails, HJR2, the constitutional amendment on the November ballot, will not change anything about the way state government operates. All it proposes to do is enshrine in the state constitution a practice that has been going on in Boise each winter for decades. That is the tedious but important job of reviewing the regulations passed by state agencies to execute the statutes passed by lawmakers. Sometimes lawmakers leave the intricate details of state government to state agencies to figure out. Lawmakers may, for example, vote to create a new tax incentive program, as they did last
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