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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Resolution Rejecting DEQ Backflow Device Testing Rules Killed in House Environment Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

AIC-opposed legislation that would have rejected rules of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality concerning testing of backflow prevention devices was killed in the House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee last week.

AIC extends its appreciation to the city officials who contacted legislators and asked that they oppose House Concurrent Resolution 35

There is another backflow prevention resolution that would reject rules of the Idaho Plumbing Code—House Concurrent Resolution 37—which is currently awaiting hearing in the House Business Committee.  It is not clear if this resolution will advance this session.

Supporters of the resolution argued that annual testing for backflow prevention devices seemed to be overkill and that it would be better for cities and counties to develop their own regulations.

Proponents of the current backflow testing regime noted that such regulations have been in place for decades and have been repeatedly approved by the Idaho Legislature.

Outstanding testimony was provided by Mayor Darin Taylor of Middleton, Emmett Public Works Superintendent Bruce Evans, and Twin Falls Water Superintendent Rob Bohling.

“The single most important thing we do as cities is provide safe, clean drinking water,” Mayor Taylor said in his remarks to the committee.

“There will be costs if we don’t have a state backflow testing program,” said Bruce Evans, testifying on behalf of the City of Emmett and the Idaho Rural Water Association.   “We will have increased water sampling costs, and higher costs for continuous disinfection.  Each city would have to develop, adopt and implement its own backflow testing program, which would add to the unnecessary costs,” Evans said. 

Two committee members—Rep. Don Cheatham of Post Falls and Rep.  Jeff Thompson of Idaho Falls—had compelling personal stories about being sick after drinking contaminated water.  “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” said Cheatham.

A motion by Rep. Cheatham to kill the resolution passed by a vote of 10-6-2.  

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Magistrate Court Funding Bill Passes House by Wide Margin

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Legislation co-sponsored by the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) and the Idaho Association of Counties to provide sustainable funding for magistrate courts passed the House by a vote of 53-17-0 this afternoon.

House Bill 643 now heads to the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee, where it could be heard later this week. 

AIC extends its appreciation to the many city officials who contacted House members in support of House Bill 643.  Your involvement truly makes a difference.  

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Watch Floor Debate on Magistrate Court Funding Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The landmark AIC sponsored magistrate court funding bill--House Bill 643--will be up for floor debate in the House this morning, which goes on the floor at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time.

You can watch the debate live on the Idaho Public Television Legislature Live website by clicking the play button on the House video screen.  If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you will need to click the "Try the Chrome/iOS device stream" link at the top of the screen once it brings up the House Chambers screen.  The Legislature Live website works best using Internet Explorer.


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Legislative Alert: HB 547 Passed House Floor – Please Contact Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee to Oppose the Bill

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 2, 2018

House Bill 547, the AIC-opposed legislation on building codes, passed the House floor and is now headed to the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee.  We ask city officials to reach out by phone or email to members of the committee and respectfully ask them to oppose the bill (see members and contact information below).   

Talking Points Against HB 547 and Regarding State Building Code Adoption

  1. In general, code amendments made by local governments provide additional flexibility and relief for builders.
  2. Preserving local governments’ ability to amend the state adopted code is important for building safety.
  3. HB 547 creates considerable uncertainty by restricting local amendments to addressing immediate threats to life or safety.  The bill does not provide any examples or make any attempt to clarify what is meant by an immediate threat to life or safety.
  4. HB 547 adds and removes language in a manner that has unintended consequences.  The bill fails to adequately distinguish between residential building and energy codes versus commercial building and energy codes. 
    First, the added language prohibits any changes to the International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) unless adopted by the state, as the bill’s sponsor Rep. Joe Palmer has presented. Then, HB 547 deletes an entire section (i.e., Section 4) that allows local governments to “amend by ordinance the adopted codes or provisions of referenced codes to reflect local concerns, provided such amendments establish at least an equivalent level of protection to that of the adopted building code.” By removing this section in its entirety, HB 547 removes the ability of local governments to amend ANY codes, including commercial building codes.
  5. Changes made to the International Residential Building Code and the International Energy Conservation Code since 2012 provide MORE options to comply via performance versus prescription - thus increasing compliance flexibility for builders and potentially decreasing home buyer costs.
  6. Failing to adopt the residential energy efficiency code is anti-consumer protection.  When purchasing a new home, buyers naturally assume that they are acquiring a house that is constructed according to current code.
  7. The incremental cost of building a more energy efficient home does not “price people out of home ownership” but high building material costs do.  The leading reason for foreclosure, after loss of income, is the inability to pay energy bills.  That is why low-income housing advocates are vocal supporters of stronger energy efficient codes since energy is the highest cost of home maintenance – higher than taxes and insurance.

The members of the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee are listed below with their phone numbers and email addresses.

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls, Chair:   (208) 332-1318

Sen. Jim Guthrie, Inkom, Vice Chair:   (208) 332-1348

Sen. Fred S. Martin, Boise:    (208) 332-1407

Sen. Todd M. Lakey, Nampa:    (208) 332-1328

Sen. Steven P. Thayn, Emmett:    (208) 332-1344

Sen. Mary Souza, Coeur d’Alene:   (208) 332-1322

Sen. Antony L. Potts, Idaho Falls:   (208) 332-1313

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, Boise:   (208) 332-1425

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:   (208) 332-1409


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Legislative Alert: Please Contact Your Legislators and Ask for their Support of Magistrate Court Funding Bill—HB 643

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 2, 2018

Landmark magistrate court funding legislation co-sponsored by the Association of Idaho Cities and the Idaho Association of Counties was approved yesterday by the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee and will be up for floor consideration soon in the House.

We ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they support House Bill 643.  You can get legislators’ email addresses and phone numbers through the Idaho Legislature’s website.

House Bill 643 is the product of a work group including city and county elected officials, as well as representatives from Idaho’s court system that met over the interim to try to find a consensus legislative solution to Idaho’s court funding challenges.

Idaho has a unified state judiciary: all judges are state employees, but the counties are responsible for providing facilities, staffing and equipment for the District and Magistrate Courts. 

The courts are currently facing a funding crisis as revenue from misdemeanor and infraction citations has declined substantially in recent years.  Many counties are at the state law levy caps for their Justice and District Court Funds and are unable to raise additional revenue through property taxes.  Counties are also facing very costly public defense reforms that will require additional funding to ensure indigent criminal defendants are afforded a legal defense that meets the requirements of the state and federal constitutions.

Cities are part of the court funding deliberations because of Idaho Code 1-2218, which provides:

“Any city in the state shall, upon order of a majority of the district judges in the judicial district, provide suitable and adequate quarters for a magistrate’s division of the district court, including the facilities and equipment necessary to make the space provided functional for its intended use, and shall provide for the staff personnel, supplies, and other expenses of the magistrate’s division.”

This law provides broad authority for judges to determine that a city will be liable for providing court facilities, equipment and staffing.  Currently, several cities voluntarily agree to provide financial support for magistrate courts in lieu of providing facilities, equipment and staffing as required by Idaho Code 1-2218.  The City of Meridian is currently in litigation with Ada County over requirements that the city provide court facilities and given the scope of the court funding challenges it seems likely that more cities would face such demands in the future.

After considering a wide range of options, the work group decided to support a proposal dedicating a portion of future revenue growth from the State Liquor Fund to provide additional court funding.  Liquor revenue has a clear nexus to courts and is a revenue source that has grown consistently.  That would satisfy the need for court funding and allow for the repeal of Idaho Code 1-2218. 

The legislation contains the following provisions:

·         Each city would forego 3.66% increments of growth in State Liquor Fund revenues for the five years of implementation.  Each county would forego 2% increments of growth in the State Liquor Fund.  State Liquor Fund revenues typically grow between 5-6% a year.

·         The State of Idaho would divert $6 of court fees from the state general fund to magistrate courts.  There is an additional $1 fee diversion to the Peace Officers Standards & Training (POST) to hold them harmless. 

·         Prevents any new cities from being ordered to provide magistrate court facilities or funding upon enactment.

·         Phases out current city magistrate court funding obligations over a five-year period beginning in fiscal year 2019 and ending in fiscal year 2023.

·         Funds will be distributed to counties through a formula with a base amount for every county and the remainder distributed by a combination of population and caseloads of municipal misdemeanor and infraction charges.

·         Funds will be deposited into a newly created county magistrate court fund to ensure funds are dedicated to magistrate court operations.

·         Fully repeals Idaho Code 1-2218 on July 1, 2023.

HB 643 will benefit cities by repealing Idaho Code 1-2218 and providing certainty about cities’ financial obligations for magistrate court funding. 

The bill will benefit counties and the courts by providing sustainable funding for our court system.

The bill also reflects the fact that the State of Idaho has an important stake in the magistrate court system.  The Idaho State Police issue misdemeanor and infraction citations that create workload for the magistrate courts.  It is also important to recognize that most city and county citations are enforcing state laws, not local ordinances, and that the State of Idaho benefits from these enforcement efforts.

For these reasons, the Association of Idaho Cities and the Idaho Association of Counties strongly support House Bill 643 and we respectfully ask legislators to support this important bill.

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ITD Seeks Participation in Regional Planning Meetings

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 2, 2018

Transportation Partner,

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is updating its long-range transportation plan, IDAGO 2040. The update is part of an ongoing process that identifies transportation challenges in Idaho and best practices to overcome those challenges. The updated plan will help ITD define transportation goals and assist in developing investment and operational strategies within available funding parameters.

ITD is requesting stakeholders and partner agencies to participate in the planning process. Please join us to provide your professional insights on future planning scenarios. These scenarios will be related to safety, mobility, and economic opportunity for Idaho as they relate to transportation.

ITD District 1 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM PDT
ITD District 1 Office - Emergency Operations CR
600 West Prairie Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
Stakeholder Meeting – 3:00 PM
Public Meeting – 7:00 PM

ITD District 2 Stakeholder Meeting
Monday, March 12, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM PDT
ITD District 2 Office
2600 Frontage Rd.
Lewiston, ID 83501

ITD District 3 Stakeholder Meeting
Monday, April 23, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM MDT
COMPASS Board Room
700 NE 2nd St
Meridian, ID 83642
Stakeholder Meeting – 1:00 PM
Public Meeting – 5:00 PM

ITD District 4 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM MDT
ITD District 4 Office
216 S Date Street
Shoshone, ID 83352

ITD District 5 Stakeholder Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM MDT
ITD District 5 Office - Main Conf. Room
5151 S. 5th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83204

ITD District 6 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM MST
Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority
1810 W. Broadway #7
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Stakeholder Meeting – 3:00 PM
Public Meeting – 6:00 PM

Long-Range Transportation Plan Fact Sheet(PDF)

At the meeting, we will discuss ITD's modal planning activities, transportation systems, transportation data, new/emerging technologies and how to strengthen long-term working relationships between partner agencies.

Your feedback is a valuable part of the long-range planning process.

Please respond using the link above or email Jovie Garcia atjgarcia@dowl.comby Wednesday, April 18, 2018, to confirm your participation in the meeting.

Please feel free to forward to professional stakeholders.

Visit ITD's project page:
Contact Us:
Schedule ITD to present to your organization!

Ken Kanownik
Senior Transportation Planner, Planning Services
Idaho Transportation Department

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Half Staff Notice

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 2, 2018

United States Flags at Half-Staff

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Day of Billy Graham's Interment





Presidential Proclamation on the Death of Billy Graham

As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, Ihereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the UnitedStates of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the UnitedStates shall be flown at half-staff at the WhiteHouse and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on allnaval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the UnitedStates and its Territories andpossessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that theflag shall be flown athalf-staff for the same period at all UnitedStates embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels andstations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of February, in the year of our Lord twothousandeighteen, and of the Independence of the UnitedStates ofAmerica the twohundred and forty-second.



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Online Legal Notice Bill Dies in House State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 1, 2018

Despite strong support from local governments, a bill that would have allowed optional online publication of legal notices died in the House State Affairs Committee this morning.

House Bill 420, sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, would have permitted online publication on local government websites in lieu of publishing legal notices in the newspaper. 

“We are living in a digital age,” Rep. Nate said in his opening remarks to the committee, “and almost everything that we used to rely on newspapers for, like tv show listings, movie times, and classified ads, now are all being accessed online.”

“This bill will save local governments money, which can be redirected to important local services, like schools, roads, law enforcement, etc.,” Nate said.

The bill was fiercely opposed by the Newspaper Association of Idaho (NAI) and the Idaho Press Club, which argued that the current system provides important accountability measures in terms of third party verification that legal notices are published in a timely and accurate manner.  

Currently, each notice that is published in a newspaper gets an affidavit of publication that is a third-party silver bullet proving that the notice was published on the specific date, which is very helpful if there is a legal challenge to an ordinance, planning and zoning decision or other local government action. 

“The newspapers provide a third-party, independent verification that notice was published,” explained Jeremy Pisca, Executive Director of the Newspaper Association of Idaho.  “It can’t be manipulated.  It can’t be changed after the fact.  It can’t be hacked.”

Opponents of the bill also noted that newspapers bring together notices from all the local government entities in the area—city, county, school, highway district, etc.—and that it would be more difficult for people to look up notices on each local government website than to find them in the newspaper or on the website that the NAI has developed to provide a one stop shop for Idaho legal notices online.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “I think this is a great idea, it’s just that the time has not yet come.  Print media needs to regard this as an inevitability and be ready for it.  But we’re not there yet.”

AIC extends its sincere appreciation to all the city officials who weighed in to support the legislation. 

We hope discussion on this issue continues, but for it to be a truly credible effort it must be a very broad-based process involving all the state and local government entities that come together to create a third party one stop shop for online legal notices, perhaps administered by the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, that ensures credibility, transparency and accountability in publishing legal notices online. 


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Idaho Water Infrastructure Grants and Loans

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Water shapes economic growth, the environment, and the very social fabric of our communities. Ensuring that all people have access to safe, reliable, and affordable water and water treatment is the cornerstone of a sustainable and prosperous Idaho, and nation.

Financial assistance to Idaho communities is one important means to ensuring affordable water services. There are a number of resources available, including a new one designed to forge new  urban/agricultural partnerships!

Idaho Resources - Applications Accepted Annually October - January (link)

Drinking Water

Water System Planning Grants (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): $400,000 available

DEQ's Drinking Water Planning Grant Program provides assistance to eligible public drinking water systems for facility planning projects designed to ensure safe and adequate supplies of drinking water. Grants awarded under this program are used to develop engineering reports identifying the most cost-effective, environmentally sound method of upgrading a public drinking water system to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with a matching share funded by local sources.

Water System Construction Loans (link)

FY2018 (7/2018 - 6/2018): ~$36.7 million available

DEQ's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund provides below-market-rate interest loans to help repair or build new drinking water facilities. Loans of up to 100% of project costs may be awarded for project design and/or construction. Eligible participants include community water systems and nonprofit, noncommunity water systems. Disadvantaged communities may receive principal forgiveness. 


Wastewater System Planning Grants (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): $350,000 available

DEQ's Wastewater Planning Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible entities in Idaho planning to upgrade public wastewater facilities. Grants awarded under this program must be used entirely to prepare facility plans that identify the most cost-effective, environmentally sound methods to upgrade public wastewater systems to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with the grantee providing a matching share from local sources.

Wastewater System Construction Loans (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): ~$89.8 million available

The Water Pollution Control State Revolving Loan Fund provides below-market-rate interest loans to help build new or repair existing wastewater treatment facilities. Eligible wastewater facilities include treatment plants, interceptor sewers, and collector sewers. Loans of up to 100% of project costs may be awarded for facility design and/or construction projects. Loans also may be awarded to address nonpoint source pollution control activities.  Eligible nonpoint source activities include projects such as effluent trading, upgrading or replacing individual septic tanks, restoring wetlands, treating and controlling stormwater, and reducing pollutants from agricultural runoff.  Similar to the Drinking Water Construction Loan Program, disadvantaged communities may receive principal forgiveness. 

NEW! Agriculture BMP Program Grants - applications accepted March 2018 (link)

In the 2017 session, the Idaho Legislature appropriated an ongoing $500,000 from the general fund to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to implement agricultural best management practices (BMPs) in high-priority watersheds throughout Idaho. Projects must be located in a high-priority watershed and implement agricultural or ranching BMPs. Projects that are “shovel-ready” will receive higher priority.  Other information:

• The earliest date a project funded in SFY19 can break ground and begin is July 1, 2018.
• Funded projects must show some level of progress in calendar year 2018.
• Project must be completed by June 30, 2020.
• Projects will be expected to meet a 60:40 grant-to-match requirement.
• Grant amounts cannot exceed $250,000, of which no more than 10% can be used for administrative purposes.

Look for a list of approved grants and loans for FY2018, plus the projected funding available for FY2019 later this spring!

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Online Legal Notice Bill to be Heard by House State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

On Thursday, March 1 at 8:00 a.m., the House State Affairs Committee will consider legislation to allow local governments to publish legal notices on their websites instead of in newspapers.  We strongly encourage city officials to call or email the members of the House State Affairs Committee (listed below) and respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 420.

House Bill 420 is sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg.  The bill would permit local governments to publish legal notices online, as an alternative to publishing in a newspaper.  The local government website must have a tab on the homepage clearly marked "Public Notices" where the notices may be accessed.  The local government must keep a record of the date and time that the notice was posted.  Deadlines for posting notices online would be the same as current state law deadlines for publishing in a newspaper.

Cities support HB 420 for the following reasons.

Many newspapers nationally and in Idaho are losing subscribers, which means that legal notices are being seen by fewer and fewer people in the community.     

The purpose of public notices is to inform the community about important hearings and policy decisions being made by local governments.  Having notices accessible online allows them to be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the most user-friendly way.

HB 420 permits, but does not require, local governments to publish legal notices on their websites.  Small cities that don’t have websites can continue to publish notices in the newspaper. 

Even newspapers understand the value of online notice publication because the Newspaper Association of Idaho has a website that does just that:   Why should city property taxpayers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for a service that cities could provide themselves at a much lower cost? 

We ask city officials to contact members of the House State Affairs Committee and respectfully ask that they support House Bill 420.  The committee members and their contact information are listed below.

Rep. Thomas F. Loertscher, Bone, Chair  Ph:  (208) 332-1183   Email:

Rep. Jason A. Monks, Nampa, Vice Chair   Ph:  (208) 332-1036   Email:

Rep. Lynn M. Luker, Boise   Ph:   (208) 332-1039    Email:

Rep. Brent J. Crane, Nampa    Ph:  (208) 332-1058    Email:

Rep. Joe Palmer, Meridian    Ph:   (208) 332-1062    Email:

Rep. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens   Ph:   (208) 332-1177    Email:

Rep. James Holtzclaw, Meridian    Ph:   (208) 332-1041     Email:

Rep. Steven Harris, Meridian    Ph:    (208) 332-1043    Email:

Rep. Randy Armstrong, Inkom    Ph:    (208) 332-1046   Email:

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, White Bird    Ph:   (208) 332-1033     Email:

Rep. Dustin Manwaring, Pocatello    Ph:   (208) 332-1079    Email:

Rep. Christy Zito, Hammett    Ph:   (208) 332-1181    Email:

Rep. Heather Scott, Blanchard    Ph:   (208) 332-1190    Email:

Rep. Elaine Smith, Pocatello    Ph:   (208) 332-1031    Email:

Rep. Hy Kloc, Boise    Ph:   (208) 332-1075    Email:


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