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Taxpayer-funded lobbying common practice in Idaho

A central Idaho school district has come under scrutiny for recently deciding to hire a lobbyist, making it the only school district in the state to do so. However, the Blaine County School District is hardly a trailblazer.

Multiple taxing districts across the state hire lobbyists using public funds to represent their interests while lawmakers meet in Boise during the legislative session.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, nearly 20 taxing districts – ranging from irrigation, public health and urban renewal – hired lobbyists in 2016. The majority of these districts are located in or around Boise, the state’s most populated city.

Power County Commissioner Ronald Funk says hiring a lobbyist is essential because their three-person commission in eastern Idaho doesn’t have the resources or the time to travel to keep up with the Legislature.

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