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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

AIC-Opposed Legislation Banning Condemnation for Pedestrian, Bicycle Facilities Introduced

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, February 6, 2015

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will consider legislation to prohibit cities and other local governments from condemning property for greenbelts and other pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Senate Bill 1044 is sponsored by Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon.  Similar legislation was narrowly defeated in the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee in 2013, but the makeup of the committee has changed as Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, is no longer on the committee.

The legislation is in response to concerns over Bannock County residents who support the use of eminent domain to join disconnected segments of the Portneuf Greenway.  The City of Pocatello has been clear and consistent in refusing to pursue eminent domain and continues to work toward negotiated agreements with the property owners.

In the 2013 hearing on the bill, Sen. Guthrie characterized bicycle and pedestrian facilities as nice recreational amenities that are not in the same category of essential transportation infrastructure as roads.

City officials are normally reluctant to use eminent domain, and have rarely condemned property for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. 

Boise used condemnation once in the early stages of developing the Boise River Greenbelt, which proved essential in bringing that tremendous community asset to fruition. 

The only other example that AIC can find involves Garden City, where a homeowner’s association requested the city to condemn property needed for a greenbelt bridge across the Boise River as a way of avoiding restrictive covenants placed on disposal of commonly owned property. 

The City of Eagle filed a condemnation action in April 2014 over a path next to the Laguna Point subdivision, but settled with the property owners and the action never went to court. 

Many city officials who are working to build multi-modal transportation networks would dispute the characterization of pedestrian and bicycle facilities as nice, but not as essential as streets.  These are the routes that children take to school, that allow people to access jobs and shopping, and provide recreational opportunities and access to rivers for many Idahoans.   

The Boise Greenbelt is conservatively estimated to carry 65,000 trips per year.  Greenbelts are key to Idaho’s economic vitality, and are amenities that help attract businesses, visitors and new residents to our communities.  Given the rarity with which condemnation has been used for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, we should trust local officials who are elected and accountable to their constituents to act in the best interests of their communities.

We urge city officials to contact members of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee to respectfully express your opposition to SB 1044.  The members of the committee are listed below.

Chair: Sen. Jeff Siddoway, Terreton  --  jsiddoway@senate.idaho.gov

Vice Chair: Sen. Dan Johnson, Lewiston  --  djohnson@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Curt McKenzie, Nampa  --  cmckenzie@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Jim Rice, Caldwell  --  jrice@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Steve Vick, Dalton Gardens  --  sjvick@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Clifford Bayer, Boise  --  cbayer@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Jim Guthrie, McCammon  --  jguthrie@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Elliot Werk, Boise  --  ewerk@senate.idaho.gov

                  Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise  --  gburgoyne@senate.idaho.gov

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Legislative Activity Picks Up in Anticipation of February Deadlines

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, February 5, 2015

The first few weeks of the legislative session are relatively quiet and relaxed as committees focus on reviewing administrative rules and few bills are introduced.  Starting in early February as the Legislature approaches deadlines for bill drafting requests (February 9) and introduction of bills by non-privileged committees (February 16) the pace of legislative activity quickens and committees start introducing lots of bills.    

New bills are being added every day to the AIC Bill Tracker and we urge city officials to check it out.  If you have questions or comments on any bill, please email jruen@idahocities.org

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Thanks for Making City Officials’ Day at the Capitol a Success!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 2, 2015

Nearly 180 Idaho city officials participated in the 2015 City Officials’ Day at the Capitol last Thursday (list of attendees).  Almost all of the 105 members of the Idaho Legislature were in attendance, as well as all of Idaho’s constitutional officers and several state agency representatives.

The highlight of the morning legislative briefing was a legislative leadership panel moderated by Dr. Jim Weatherby, which included Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, House Minority Leader John Rusche and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett.  The panelists provided great insight on several issues, including transportation funding, local option taxation, and the Rangen water call.  At lunch city officials had an excellent opportunity to discuss issues with their legislators.

Thanks again for making this year’s City Officials’ Day at the Capitol a success! 

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See You at City Officials’ Day at the Capitol!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, January 26, 2015

We look forward to seeing everyone at Thursday’s City Officials’ Day at the Capitol in Boise.  You still have time to register here at the AIC website.

The event will kick off with a legislative briefing at 9:00 a.m. in the Summit Auditorium of the Boise Centre.  The briefing will feature a panel moderated by Dr. James Weatherby that will include Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, House Minority Leader John Rusche and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett. 

You will also hear about a variety of policy hot topics, including transportation funding, annexation, public defense reform, public records, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, municipal water rights, local option taxation, and urban renewal.

The meeting will break at 11:30 a.m. to allow city officials to walk or catch a shuttle bus to the capitol, meet their legislators and escort them to the legislative luncheon at Noon in the Boise Centre Eagles Room. 

After lunch city officials can attend legislative committee hearings, check out the capitol, or schedule meetings with legislators or state agency staff.

Tags:  City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

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