New bill would remove AG from Idaho Land Board

Posted at 11:21 AM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 13:33:33-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would change the Idaho constitution to replace the state's attorney general with the state treasurer on the Idaho Land Board.

 The five-member Land Board -- made up of statewide elected officials including the governor -- is in charge of managing Idaho's 2.5 million acres of endowment land to reap the highest long-term financial returns.

 The House State Affairs Committee unanimously approved introducing the legislation on Wednesday.

 House Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, a Republican from Nampa, says currently the attorney general is asked to protect the trusts of the state as well as provide legal advice to the board. VanderWoude says this this creates possible conflicts of interests, particularly when the attorney general chooses to sue the board.

 Attorney General Lawrence Wasden sued the Land Board in 2010 alleging they violated the state constitution by setting rents below-market value on state-owned lakeshore lots.

 Constitutional amendments must pass with a two-thirds majority in both bodies and then win a simple majority in a statewide vote come November.