Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Joint Finance Appropriations Committee
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Legislative Update: Setting Idaho's Budget

Friday we wrap up week six of the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are getting down to the business of passing bills in committees and sending them to the House and Senate floor. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, or JFAC considered the final budget requests from the state agencies this week. That means this panel of 20 is switching gears and will start to draft bills, in fact, the committee is expected to write close to 100 budget bills. In our 2017 Weekly Legislative Update, we take a...

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Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

BSU Collection Reveals History Of Minidoka Internment During World War II

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Hundreds of students from around Boise were absent from class Thursday morning as they gathered on the steps of the Statehouse to voice their concern over Betsy DeVos, President Trump's secretary of education.

The rally was organized by Nora Harren and Colette Raptosh, the pair of high school students who spearheaded the Women's March Idaho, which drew thousands to the state capitol in the cold and snow the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Courtesy: Hy Kloc

An Idaho Democratic lawmaker's resolution honoring immigrants and refugees faced opposition from a legislative panel after Republican members questioned the timeliness of such praise.

Rep. Hy Kloc, of Boise, says his resolution introduced Thursday is intended to recognize the ongoing contributions of immigrants and refugees in Idaho.

Kloc, who was born in a refugee camp in Germany and whose parents were Holocaust survivors, said he came to the United States as a refugee in 1949. Last year, he backed a resolution honoring the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

Barry Crabtree / Flickr Creative Commons

State budget writers have approved allocating $526,900 to help research and dispose contaminated fields in eastern Idaho.

The request, made up of both state and federal funds, is part of an ongoing effort to treat the negative impacts of a pesticide known as methyl bromide, applied on potatoes in Bingham and Bonneville counties in 2006

Charlie Litchfield / AP

A former regional manager for private prison company Corrections Corporation of America says top employees at a private prison in Idaho were given yearly bonuses if they cut costs on salary, wages and other operational expenses and met other company goals.

CCA, which has since changed its name to CoreCivic, operated the Idaho Correctional Center under a $29 million annual contract with the state of Idaho until chronic understaffing, violence and other problems prompted Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to order the state to take over the facility in 2013.

Rob Howard / Flickr Creative Commons

St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bonners Ferry burned to the ground last spring. At the time, the loss of the building was estimated to be worth $1 million. Investigators found signs of vandalism in the church after the fire was put out, including a broken statue of Jesus they say was smashed before the fire brought the building down.

Adam Theo / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers are considering joining fellow Republican-dominated states calling for a constitutional amendment to limit federal government power.

Dan Brubaker Horst / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials have extended the deadline for farmers to dispose of spoiled or damaged onions following the collapse of many onion storage facilities in southwestern Idaho due to heavy snow.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the March 15 deadline has been extended to April 15.

Agriculture Director Celia Gould says the temporary rule will give onion farmers some flexibility in dealing with the massive disposal effort. She says many facilities are reporting total losses.

Nigel Duara / AP Images

State lawmakers are considering putting an end to mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. The proposal has bipartisan support, but still has several hurdles to jump before becoming a law.

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, says she first became aware of issues surrounding mandatory drug sentences when she spoke with judges around the state. The Boise lawmaker says Idaho’s standards are more stringent than they need to be, going above and beyond federal statute.

Bureau of Reclamation / WaterArchives.org | Flickr Creative Commons

The recent threat of catastrophic flooding at the Oroville Dam in Northern California has abated for the moment, but the incident dredged up old memories of Idaho's own dam catastrophe.

In June of 1976, the earthen Teton Dam in eastern Idaho failed, killing 11 people and causing $2 billion in damage. It cost $100 million to construct, but the government ended up paying over thrice that in damage claims linked to the failure.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Secretary of State believes a federal agency may have tried to hack the state's election website around the date of the presidential election without notifying Idaho officials in advance.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's IP address showed up as trying to access the state elections site around Nov. 8, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said Monday. Similar accusations were made by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in December, reported The Post Register reports.

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2017 Weekly Legislative Update

Check here for updates on what’s happening in the legislature.

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