Since the advent of live blogging, we've been a little sad this medium wasn't available years ago; it would long have been a great way to cover and follow, for example, state legislative meetings. Fortunately, there was some live blogging of today's Idaho House Transportation Committee meeting, which was giving initial consideration to a string of road bills, five of them key measures proposed by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.
A subsequent news story, even if well written, may not give the flavor of what happened here as well as some of the real-time takes on what happened. Some excepts from an Idaho Statesman live blog on the meeting (in chronological order, reversed from the original):
1:42 p.m. — Jason Kreizenbeck, Gov. Butch Otter's chief of staff, is presenting an overview of all five bills. Kreizenbeck said these bills are to generate additional revenue to maintain and improve Idaho's roads and bridges.
1:46 p.m. — Kreizenbeck is looking for some help from the Idaho Transportation Department, but none seems to be coming.
1:50 p.m. — Hard to say this is going well. Committee members seem stumped by the bills, which seem to be lacking some pivotal information. Kreizenbeck and committee chairwoman JoAnn Wood have struggled to connect on information as well.
1:55 p.m. — [Representative Phil] Hart wants to know what the money going into a new account created by the Gov. is going to be used for. Pam Lowe, director of the Idaho Transportation Department, said the money will be used to renovation and restoration.
2:00 p.m. — Wood got a jab in saying that she has not had time to look at the bills. The bills did not get to the Legislature until late Monday afternoon.
2:02 p.m. — It is hard to hear in the room as legislators are struggling to hear questions. "I think the amount of people here is soaking up the sound," Wood said.
2:03 p.m. — There is a lot of confusion, particularly about financial impact of the proposals, in the room.
2:19 p.m. — JoAnn Wood expressed concern about what raising the fees on the heaviest trucks would mean, especially since they pay such a high rate now.
The committee voted to print the bills, though some of the committee members made a point of indicating that didn't necessarily mean they would vote to move them any further. As the committee chair, JoAn Wood, remarked at 2:31 p.m.: "We do have a lot of work left in front of us."