Chairman Hartgen in Boise for triple bypass, to miss Friday lands meeting

House Commerce and Human Resources Committee Chairman Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, is recovering from triple bypass heart surgery at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise.

The Twin Falls Times-News, where Hartgen is a former publisher, reported on the surgery Wednesday. House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, told the paper, “The surgery was a success and he is recovering.”

Bedke visited Hartgen and his wife, Linda, at the hospital Tuesday. Hartgen, 68, was elected in 2008.

Hartgen is one of 10 members of the Legislature’s Federal Lands Interim Committee, which is exploring efforts to convince the federal government to turn over its lands to the state. The committee’s first meeting begins Friday at 9 a.m. at the Capitol and the Times-News says it is unlikely Hartgetn will attend.

The committee is co-chaired by former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, who Bedke defeated in December. Bedke, however, is a strong backer of the committee’s work and argues that the state could more efficiently manage federal lands without sacrificing environmental quality and recreation.



Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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