Saying they were anxious to "plant the seed" with Idaho lawmakers, handing them green folders stuffed with alternate energy options, clean-energy advocates brought their cause to the Statehouse Thursday.
The third-annual Energy Lobby Day saw lobbyists throughout the rotunda's fourth floor in an effort to give a voice to water conservation and energy concerns.
Patricia Winn, a native Portlander, agreed that Idaho has a bit of catching up to Oregon to do.
"Maybe the effort must go from West to East, because the other side of the country uses so much nuclear energy," said Winn. "Today is about planting the seed of concern in Idaho."
Greg Olson, owner of Boise-based Blue Lighting, said Idaho's abundance of cheap hydropower gives the Gem State added advantages.
"If you can sell green energy here, imagine its appeal in California," said Olson.
GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul, fresh off today's campaign rally in Twin Falls, has tacked on additional Idaho events for the next two days.
The Magic Valley Times News reports that Paul attracted hundreds to his town hall meeting at Twin Falls High School's Roper Auditorium.
"We have to recommit ourselves to what a free country is all about," Paul told the crowd, promising to cut the federal budget by $1 trillion during his first year as president.
Paul will appear at another Idaho rally on Friday at the University of Idaho's Student Union at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.
Paul will hold a Boise rally on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 12:30 p.m. in the CenturyLink Arena.
UPDATE 11:30 a.m.
Idaho Public Television's live legislative feed of this morning's Senate proceedings was disrupted when a main computer crashed, freezing the transmission.
The crash occurred at an inopportune moment when Boise Sen. Nicole LeFavour unsuccessfully tried to attach the Add the Words measure to a pending bill regarding the Dept. of Correction. Just as LeFavour was debating her motion with Senate Republicans, the feed went to black.
"There is absolutely no way that the legislature controls what we do," Dave Thomason, who oversees the IPTV's Statehouse feed told Citydesk. "They can't censor us one bit. We control it all."
Thomason wants viewers to know that a complete archive of this morning's activity on the Senate floor is available at the broadcasters' website.
ORIGINAL POST 11:15 a.m.
Senate Bill 1215 would amend Idaho law regarding "the escape or rescue of prisoners," but Boise Democratic Sen. Nicole LeFavour stood before her colleagues on the Senate floor this morning in an attempt to amend the legislation by attaching the recently killed Add the Words measure, which would afford equal human-rights protections based on sexual orientation.
Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Winder said that LeFavour's proposed amendment was not germane, in that the motion would create a bill on two very different subjects.
But LeFavour aligned the two matters.
"We're addressing public safety and security," countered LeFavour.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bart Davis objected.
"I don't believe the court could sustain the proposition that we're dealing with," said Davis.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who presides over the Senate as part of his constitutionally mandated duties, ultimately ruled against LeFavour.
"The Constitution trumps everything," said Little. "It's a very slippery slope given the very weak nexus that is here."
Within seconds, Idaho Public Television's live feed of the Senate floor froze and went to black.
When GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum brought his campaign to Boise Tuesday night, one of his rhetoric's main targets was climate science. He considered educators, and in particular "those people in universities," as elitists.
""Don't you see how they look down their nose at you? Those elite snobs," said Santorum to enthusiastic cheers in the Capital High School auditorium. "They all want you to be scared of manmade global warming."
The crowd responded with a thunderous "Boo."
"This isn't climate science. This is political science," said Santorum. "They don't think you can be trusted with your own energy consumption."
It turns out that there is a growing effort supporting Santorum's claims, and in fact, they want to push back against climate science being taught in the nation's classrooms.
When citizens come to the Idaho Statehouse to testify or engage with their lawmakers, they usually need to come with a fistful of quarters to feed the dozens of parking meters that surround the Capitol.
Today, Meridian Republican Rep. Joe Palmer will introduce a measure that would make the meters "non-operational and the fees not imposed" during the legislative session in order to make it more convenient for the public to appear and testify in a hearing or to meet with legislators.
Palmer's bill, which would amend a section of Idaho Code that would prohibit a city from collecting revenues from meters "adjacent to or adjoining any state-owned or state-leased property" when the Legislature is meeting.
Two women were sentenced Wednesday for carrying firearms into Boise's U.S. Federal Building. The incidents were unrelated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush fined Suzanne Cummins of Murphy $500 for carrying a Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol loaded with a magazine containing six bullets into the courthouse on July 22, 2011.
Bush fined Christina Landon of Nampa $300 for carrying a loaded Ruger .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun in her purse.
Both women told Bush that they had forgotten that their weapons were in their respective purses.
The cases were investigated by the Department of Homeland Security.
In the just-published edition of BW, we listen to a Canyon County teacher who says, "The academic freedom that teachers have is shrinking."
Vallivue High School English teacher Travis Manning, an opponent of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's so-called education reforms, said his activism has even been targeted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation's subsidiary, IdahoReporter.com.
"[Wayne] Hoffman [IFF's director] used to to work for Tom Luna. They're on the same page in many ways regarding these education reforms," said Manning, whose school emails were even ordered to be turned over to IdahoReporter.com through a public-records request.
Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that nearly 1,300 Idaho teachers had left their profession in 2011, up from approximately 700 the previous year. More than half said they left for "personal reasons."
Recognizing that at least 1 million Americans have stopped looking for work and have dropped off most statistical data, the White House this morning cheered the news that claims for jobless benefits dropped 13,000 in the week ending Feb. 11 to 348,000. That's a nearly four-year low and an indicator that the painfully slow economic recovery may be picking up steam.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims actually rising so this morning's news came as an unexpected benefit. The seasonally adjusted claims are now at their lowest level since March 2008.
Additionally, the U.S. Commerce Department said this morning that housing starts rose 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 699,000 units last month, again beating economists' expectations.