The Idaho Senate delved into national labor politics this morning, passing a resolution opposing the Employee Free Choice Act. The Act, which is just short a vote or three in the U.S. Senate, would make it easier for labor unions to organize workplaces by eliminating employer-controlled elections if a majority of workers sign on to the union at the outset.
About an hour ago, President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Bill into law, creating 2 million new acres of wilderness across the United States, including 500,000 acres in the Owyhee Canyonlands. [Map .pdf]
Ranchers and fishermen, small business owners, environmentalists, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats on the local, state and federal levels -- all united around the idea that there should be places that we must preserve; all doing the hard work of seeking common ground to protect the parks and other places that we cherish.Also invited to the signing: Sen. Mike Crapo who championed the bill through Congress, Fred Grant, chairman of the Owyhee Initiative Work Group and Rick Johnson, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League (who snapped the photo above for citydesk with his handy iphone).
Idaho budget writers snatched $109 million from Idaho public schools Friday morning, backfilling some of the state cuts with some $40 million in federal stimulus money, but leaving teachers, principals and superintendents with a $69 million hole in the coming fiscal year.
"No one wants to cut education, least of all me. Unfortunately in these unprecedented economic times, the members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee had to make the tough decision to cut public education. While I am not happy that we had to cut public education, I am relieved JFAC made every effort to minimize the cuts to education as much as possible."
Ada County plans to apply to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for federal stimulus package funds, Commissioner Fred Tilman said at a town hall meeting last night.
Ada County wants the funds to expand its landfill, and Tilman said the landfill is a perfect candidate for funds earmarked for renewable energy projects. The landfill has a project under way to produce fuel from the methane gas given off by garbage.
"We have one of the best alternative fuel projects in the whole Pacific Northwest, in my opinion," Tilman said.
Ada County applied for stimulus money from Gov. Otter as soon as Idaho received its funding, Tilman said. "We didn't make the short list," he said. "We didn't even make the list."
But Ada County still has opportunities to apply again. Most of Idaho's aid was sent to state agencies like the Idaho Transportation Department and DEQ, and those agencies will disburse funds to projects around the state.
"Every dollar we can get that way is less money we have to get from you, the taxpayer," Tilman said.
Commissioner Sharon Ullman said Otter's focus on rural Idaho might prevent Ada County from getting funding, however. "I had privilege of hearing the governor speak a week ago," she said. "He was going to focus on rural Idaho. We have some rural areas of Ada County, but we can't submit that and claim we are rural."
The town hall meeting, at Meridian City Hall, was the first in a new effort by commissioners to take their show on the road. Other topics discussed included open space, property taxes, liquor laws, and election consolidation. Not quite two dozen people attended the event.
Boise City and CCDC, the city's redevelopment agency, are circulating a timeline and letter to downtown property owners and other stakeholders updating them on plans for a streetcar line.
I opposed the TARP bill and I opposed the bailout for AIG. I'm a businessman, and when I bought businesses I took due diligence seriously. We taxpayers shouldn't buy companies or socialize businesses. Having made the mistake with AIG we should not now throw good money after bad. Instead, we should now withdraw taxpayers' support and let AIG go bankrupt, let a federal bankruptcy judge void these ill-advised bonus contracts, sort out the losses, and bring in new, qualified management to properly manage AIG free of one more nickel of taxpayer support. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.AIG Chief Liddy promised to return some of the bonuses.
This week's Unda' the Rotunda features a brief examination of President Obama's still developing economic philosophy. We recommend David Leonhardt's detailed and insightful review of Obama's economic analysis during his campaign.