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Fisher’s Technology expanding to Rexburg

Fisher’s Technology is opening an office in Rexburg.

The office-technology company based in Boise will move into a 1,500-square-foot building at 76 E. First N. after some renovations are finished.

Four full-time employees will work in the office, said Fischer’s Technology Southeastern Idaho Branch Manager Chad Bertoni. The office space is described as being open, with a demonstration room that will include displays of copiers and printers. Wall-mounted televisions will showcase Fisher’s products.

Big Man Property Maintenance LLC, of Idaho Falls, is renovating the building. Project costs weren’t disclosed.

A Feb. 20 opening is slated, Bertoni said. More expansion is planned, with a branch to open in Pocatello sometime in 2015. Fisher’s Technology was founded in Boise in 1936 and has locations in Boise, Twin Falls and Idaho Falls.

Jennifer Gonzalez

House committee votes to kill Medicaid expansion

The House Health and Welfare Committee rejected a proposal to increase health care coverage for low-income Idahoans, putting the final nail in the coffin of Medicaid expansion hopes.

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, had promoted the bill as a way to help the state’s poor, who are particularly vulnerable without coverage, as well as save hospitals and businesses millions.

He faced opposition from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who has already spoken out against the expansion of eligibility, as well as his Republican majority colleagues.

Lawmakers voted along party lines Feb. 5, dooming the bill before it could make it to a full committee debate.

Detractors said it wasn’t the right time to implement eligibility for the state’s working poor.

Rusche said Idaho is “missing an opportunity.”

The Associated Press

Proposal seeks lower prejudgment interest rates

A bill that could pit lawyers against insurance companies gained traction when the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee voted to send it to a full hearing.

Sen. John Goedde, the bill’s main sponsor, said the proposal updates a decades-old law that sets the prejudgment interest at a hefty 12 percent.

This can add tens of thousands of dollars to judgments before a court rules.

The new bill could set the interest rates at 5 percent plus yearly adjustments determined by Idaho’s state treasurer.

The proposal comes on the heels of two Boise class-action lawsuits in which attorneys were allowed to collect the 12 percent interest on multimillion-dollar judgments against insurance companies.

Goedde called the surcharges in these cases “unconscionable.”

Trial lawyer lobbyist Barbara Jorden declined to comment Feb. 4.

The Associated Press

Twin Falls denies permit for Snake canyon jump

A Texas stuntman’s plans to repeat Evel Knievel’s attempted jump over the Snake River Canyon suffered a setback when the Twin Falls City Council denied his request to lease the site from where Knievel made his failed attempt nearly 40 years ago.

A motion to approve the lease to Beckley Media LLC failed on a 5-2 vote on Feb. 3.

“Big Ed” Beckley has already paid nearly $1 million for a two-year lease on state land on the north side of the canyon as a landing site, but he also needed permission from the city, which owns Knievel’s takeoff point.

Many Council members said they were worried that Beckley’s safety plan for the proposed September jump was incomplete while some questioned whether local law enforcement could handle the expected crowds.

“I don’t know what to say,” said an emotional Beckley after the vote. “I’m numb.”

Mayor Don Hall said the Council will consider at its next meeting whether to look at proposals from other daredevils.

Meanwhile, Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun has permission to make a similar jump, taking off from private land on one side of the Snake River and landing on private land on the other. Scott Record and Scott Truax propose the rocket-powered jump on Sept. 1, a week before Beckley had hoped to make his jump. Truax’s father designed Knievel’s rocket, which failed during the 1974 jump because the parachute deployed too early. Knievel landed in the canyon.

Truax has said he hopes to clear his dad’s and Knievel’s names.

The Associated Press

Meridian man pleads guilty to illegal gambling

A 44-year-old Meridian man has pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business.

U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson says Kings Daniel Santy entered his plea Feb. 3 during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Boise.

Prosecutors say Santy admitted owning and operating two illegal gambling businesses, one in Boise and the other in Nampa. He said the poker games had been in nearly continuous operation for over six years and that others were involved in their ownership.

Olson says as part of the plea agreement, Santy will forfeit just over $16,000 in seized currency and another $100,000 in proceeds from his illegal gambling business.

He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on April 21.

The Associated Press

Tax break for retired vets passes House committee

A bill that would halt Idaho from taxing veterans’ retirement income passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Main sponsor Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, touted it as a way for the state to compete against 13 others that don’t tax military pensions to draw veterans. Although Idaho’s take would decrease by about $3.5 million under the exemption, she argued that most veterans get a civilian job after they retire from the military, funneling more revenue to the state’s coffers.

But some lawmakers expressed reluctance at the Feb. 4 hearing, saying that if they allowed an exemption for one group, members of other professions – like retired police officers and firefighters – would come looking for the same tax break.

Despite the dissension, the bill passed 11 to 4, clearing the way for House floor debate.

The Associated Press

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