The campaign to throw Idaho Public Television out of the state budget seems to have run out of oomph. On Feb. 20 , the legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee okayed IPTV’s funding requests almost without change — without raising the privatization issue. And five days earlier, the state Board of Education, licensee of the state network, voted 5-2 to advise the legislature against privatization. “I am fairly certain the issue is dead for this year,” says Jennifer Gallagher Oxley, who reported on the struggle for Boise’s Idaho Statesman.
Idaho’s state legislature has imposed extraordinary restrictions on the state public TV network, in delayed reaction to its broadcast last September of the gay-friendly documentary “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School.” The state House of Representatives passed the restrictions March 27  by a vote of 50-16, as part of an appropriations bill that gives $2 million for DTV instead of the $3.9 million requested by the network. And the same legislation passed the state Senate April 4. It will order the State Board of Education, licensee of the network, to monitor “programs expected to be of a controversial nature,” and to reject any program that “promotes, supports or encourages the violation of Idaho criminal statutes.” In a state where sodomy is illegal, the bill could be interpreted as forbidding Idaho Public TV to rebroadcast “It’s Elementary,” a program about classroom treatment of the subject of homosexuality.