Senate approves constitutional amendments on state lands


Idaho may expand a state-federal program designed to have the federal government house more gang-related individuals and ease overcrowding in Idaho prisons.

Idahoans are a step closer to casting their vote on giving more flexibility to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to sell, lease, and buy state lands. The Idaho Senate approved two constitutional amendments that would allow land managers to sell larger tracts of land and use other methods to lease or sell lands besides a public auction.

“The idea here is to increase the returns, and thereby be able to benefit the beneficiaries,” said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who sponsored the two amendments on the Senate floor. Those beneficiaries include public schools and universities.

Darrell Kerby, who is filling in for Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said there are concerns in north Idaho that IDL could mismanage lands used for logging. “There’s high anxiety over unintended consequences that may or may not come because of this,” he said.

Winder said that the added flexibilities wouldn’t affect the decision-making process or responsibilities of land managers to get the best long-term profits from state lands.

The two amendments now head to the Idaho House for approval. If two-thirds of House members approve the amendments, they would go on the November ballot. Majority approval from voters would lead to constitutional changes.

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