North Idaho

Idaho lawmakers finally declare telegraph obsolete

BOISE, Idaho - After a unanimous House vote, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's pen stroke is all that stands between finally declaring the telegraph obsolete in Idaho.

Tuesday's 63-0 vote is part of the Idaho Supreme Court's annual effort to excise archaic language from state code.

Back when trains dominated cross-country passenger travel, Idaho required stations to communicate late arrivals from waiting room to waiting room via telegraph.

Failure merited a $100 misdemeanor fine.

But even in Idaho, hardly anybody uses the telegraph these days.

Rep. James McMillan, substituting for his mother, Shannon McMillan, told lawmakers before the vote that Idaho has just one remaining active passenger station, in Sandpoint.

And that structure is in such disrepair, passengers waiting to board Amtrak trains aren't allowed inside and instead are banished to an outdoor platform.