Wow! What an intense week of positive events for the rights of citizens to vote on long term debt by local government.
Just a week ago the Idaho Senate pushed a proposed constitutional amendment through in an attempt to get around the Supreme Court FRAZIER decision which reconfirmed the fact local governments must get approval of 2/3 of voters to go into long term debt. The Senate voted unanimously to approve it.
It went to the House where the GUARDIAN editor, David R. Frazier, led the debate Tuesday against passing the amendment. There was adamant vocal opposition of the bill (in support of Frazier’s position) from Rep. Raul Labrador, an Eagle attorney, but the proposal went to the floor of the House and within just over an hour it was defeated by a 36-33 vote. It required a 2/3 majority to pass.
Immediately the House passed a “compromise bill” that watered down the original proposal, calling for approval of a simple majority of citizens on some debt and eliminating the worst of the original proposal. OK, but not good.
Here’s where it got interesting. In the final minutes of the session the Senate KILLED the proposed new amendment passed the previous day by the House. While the Senators last week voted 100% in favor of the original poorly worded sweeping amendment, they ended up killing it by a –23-11 vote which was just a single vote shy of the 2/3 majority required to pass.
Bottom line–the cities and counties have to abide by the constitution and allow voters to approve long term debt PERIOD!
MORE PEOPLE POWER
–It looks like the politicos in Eagle have seen the light and now plan a bond election to fund purchase of the water company. Citizens in that Ada County town were contemplating a law suit using the FRAZIER decision of the supremes and the 2002 JUDGE COPSEY decision declaring Boise City must take a proposed police station project to the voters as ammunition.
–Over in Rexburg the city is attempting to circumvent the voters by getting a judge to declare a proposed $6 million swimming pool as “ordinary and necessary” expense for the urban renewal district. A hearing was held Monday and a judge has it under advisement.
–Nampa voters were left out of the picture when the city attempted to claim a proposed $69 million police and library project were “ordinary and necessary” urban renewal projects. The CALDWELL GUARDIAN and the BOISE GUARDIAN have both filed legal responses to that petition. A court hearing is set for April 30 before former Supreme Court Justice Linda Copple Trout at the Canyon County Courthouse. The 3rd District judges recused themselves on that case.
–Twin Falls City Councilors are treading on thin ice with a scheme to lease a parcel of city land to a finance group for 40 years, make lease payments to the lender for 20 years and own a $4 million Public Works facility when they are finished–without a vote of the citizens. That one is ripe for a legal challenge. One lawyer told them he couldn’t advise them to go ahead, so the found another one to give them the OK. Bad advice.
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