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Idaho budget panel told to nix public hearings

By The Associated Press
Published On: Jan 19 2013 08:34:04 AM MST
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BOISE, Idaho -

Just two years after Idaho's budget committee held its first-ever public hearing, the sessions are being canceled.
    
The Spokesman-Review (http://tinyurl.com/9wuxl4 ) reported Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee Co-chairman Dean Cameron announced Friday he's been told to dump the public hearings, planned this year for Feb. 1 and Feb. 8.
    
There was standing-room only at the 2011 hearings, as lawmakers on the panel that writes Idaho's spending plan got an earful on the effects of budget cuts in the classroom, among other things.
    
Last year's edition also drew a crowd.
    
But now, Cameron says he's been instructed by legislative leaders to call off the hearings.
    
There have been longstanding complaints among several committee leaders, including those that set the course of public education, that the budget committee is inappropriately setting policy through funding decisions.