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A Seat in the House

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Idaho voters consider constitutional amendments

November 2 is election day throughout our country and we will all have the opportunity of voting to elect or re-elect members of our government who because of their office and the decisions they make impact every one of our lives.  Don’t take the right to vote for granted; take the time to vote in this general election.

In addition to being able to vote for various government officials holding elected positions in Idaho there are also four proposed constitutional amendments that will be submitted before Idaho voters on November 2. Because these are significant constitutional amendments I will list them along with the Legislative Council’s Statement of “Meaning, Purpose and Result” that would occur if passed in this River Journal article since this will be the last article published before November 2.

S.J.R. 101 is a proposed amendment that “will clarify that the Board of Regents of the University of Idaho may charge students tuition, as authorized by law. Currently, the University of Idaho charges student fees to undergraduate students, but not tuition. Student fees cannot be used to pay for classroom instruction. All of the other state-supported colleges and universities in Idaho have the authority to charge tuition, and this amendment specifies that the University of Idaho will have the same authority.”

H.J.R. 4 is a proposed amendment to Section 3C, Article VIII of the state of Idaho that “will allow public hospitals to acquire facilities, equipment, technology and real property through a variety of means that aid the public hospital operations, as long as the acquisitions are paid for solely from charges, rents or payments derived from the existing or financed facilities and are not funded by property taxes. Under current Idaho constitutional provisions, public hospitals, as subdivisions of the state of Idaho, have limited ability to incur debt without the approval of a two-thirds vote at an election held for that purpose. This proposed amendment will provide a limited alternative to that two-thirds vote requirement. The use of tax dollars to finance these kinds of investments is prohibited.”

H.J.R. 5 is a proposed amendment to Article VIII that would add a new Section 3E that “will allow local governmental entities that operate airports and regional airport authorities to issue revenue and special facility bonds to acquire, construct, install and equip land, facilities, buildings, projects or other property. Voter approval will not be required to incur such indebtedness, as long as the bonds are paid for by fees, charges, rents, payments, grants or other revenues derived from the airport or its facilities. The use of tax dollars to repay such bonds is prohibited.”

H.J.R. 7 would amend Article VIII of the Idaho State Constitution by the addition of a new Section 3D. “The proposed amendment has two parts. The first part will allow any city owning a municipal electric system to acquire, construct, install and equip electrical generating, transmission and distribution facilities for the purpose of supplying electricity to customers within its service area. The city will be authorized to issue revenue bonds to pay for such facilities, with the assent of a majority of the qualified voters, provided that these bonds are paid for by the electrical system rates and charges, or revenues derived from the municipal electric system, and not with tax dollars.

The second part of this proposed amendment will allow any city owning a municipal electric system to enter into agreements to purchase, share, exchange or transmit wholesale electricity to customers within its service area, without voter approval. Any indebtedness or liability from these agreements will be paid for by the electrical system rates and charges, or revenues derived from the municipal electric system, and not with tax dollars.”

These are important amendments to our Idaho Constitution and to help voters decide on what position to take the Secretary of State has prepared a Idaho Voters’ Pamphlet that provides more information on these amendments, including both pro and con arguments relative to the proposed amendments. The Voters’ Pamphlet can be seen on the Secretary of State’s website at: sos.Idaho.gov/ELECT/INITS/2010IdahoVoterPamphlet.

Idaho election law has also been revised and now requires that a voter must present a photo ID or sign a Personal Identification Affidavit. Acceptable forms of photo identification include an Idaho driver’s license or photo identification card, a U.S. passport or Federal photo identification card, a tribal photo identification card or a current student photo ID, issued by an Idaho high school or post secondary education institution.

Thanks for reading; I hope this information is helpful and remember:  PLEASE VOTE ON NOVEMBER 2.

George

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Author info

Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

Politics, elections, amendments, 2010 elections, SJR 101, HJR 4, HJR 5, HJR 7

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