Idaho Lawmakers Face Laundry List Before Adjournment

By Tom Bacon

A veteran Idaho state senator from Sandpoint is beginning to fidget about the legislature's plan to adjourn by the end of the month, because several big - and contentious - issues have yet to be addressed.

Senator Shawn Keough cited the issues of repealing personal property taxes, more restrictive public education laws, and whether Idaho highways - especially those in the northern reaches of the state - should be open to longer, heavier trucks.

In an op-ed article published this weekend, Keough said she's worried about so-called school reform. She said several pieces of legislation seek to implement restrictions that voters soundly rejected last November.

Tops on Keough's worry list is a measure to allow longer and heavier trucks with weights up to 129-thousand pounds. She cited a 10-year pilot project in southern IDaho for the bigger trucks which found little additional damage to interstate highways from the heavier loads. But Keough said northern roads and climate are quite different from southern Idaho.

She sees a pending bill as potentially creating conflict between state and local highway jurisdictions.

Keough: "Many local jurisdictions and trucking companies have grave concerns over this bill and would like it to be defeated."

But she said that enormous political pressure is being put on lawmakers by businesses that would profit from the larger loads.

Keough and other legislators hope to wrap up the session as scheduled by the end of March, but privately, they're betting that the session will go into overtime.
Download
Currently Playing
Schedule Grid KPBX 91.1
Guitar Hour with Leon Atkinson
11:00am 12:00pm
Schedule Grid KSFC 91.9
The Takeaway
11:00am 12:00pm
Click for Spokane, Washington Forecast
SPR Family of Underwriters: