Bureau of Land Management

BLM Signs Off On Idaho Portion Of Gateway West Power Line

The Bureau of Land Management has given the green light to the final federal land section of the Gateway West Transmission Line. It’s called a Record of Decision, or ROD, and wraps up the federal permission process for the 990-mile power line from Glenrock, Wyoming to Melba, Idaho. The two companies building the line, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power, started working with the BLM on the project in 2007. Wyoming’s stretch of line was approved, but in Idaho there were questions about two...

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Samantha Wright/Boise State Public Radio

Legal challenges have been filed against Idaho officials over a groundwater management area created in November.

AP

Update, 1:08 p.m.:

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's top priority for Idaho lawmakers is to focus on education in 2017.

Otter announced his short wish list during his annual State of the State address Monday afternoon.

The Republican governor proposed a 4.6 percent increase — roughly a $189 million funding bump — to the state's overall budget. More than 60 percent of that would go toward education, including more funding for teacher salaries and higher education facilities.

AP

Monday afternoon, Governor Butch Otter delivers his "State of the State" address, as the 2017 legislature kicks off. Education is expected to be one of his primary topics. Although the so-called health care gap was a hot topic last year, it's not expected to be as big a focus this time around.

Sally Jewell, sage grouse
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter against the Obama administration.

In September 2015, Otter’s office filed suit against the Interior Department, arguing the federal agency illegally imposed land-use restrictions to protect the imperiled sage grouse. Now – a year and a half later – U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the lawsuit.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

UPDATE: 4:55p.m. - Ada County has announced a local disaster emergency because of hazardous winter weather. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect from Saturday morning to Sunday night, with a chance of 6-10 inches of snow to accumulate over the weekend. The county declaration means state resources are freed up to help clear roads in the Treasure Valley.

AP Photo

Speaking at an Associated Press legislative preview Friday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter hinted at some of his priorities for the 2017 session.

Otter traditionally unveils his budget and policy plans in his State of the State speech, which he gives on the first day of the session, which is Monday. But he did give a sneak peek Friday morning when he said his main focus will be education.

He’ll ask lawmakers for $58 million for the teacher pay raise program known as the Career Ladder. The five-year plan is in its third year and Otter says the goals are straightforward.

The new year is a time for fresh starts and big plans. As 2017 kicks off, we check in with Boise State Public Radio General Manager Tom Michael for a chat about what’s ahead for the station. Ahead of Monday’s state of the state address by the governor, Tom sat down with Matt Guilhem for a state of the station.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio

sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

A judge has rejected Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's lawsuit contending the Obama administration acted illegally by imposing federal land-use restrictions intended to protect the sage grouse in Idaho and southwestern Montana.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in dismissing the lawsuit Thursday didn't rule on the merits of the claims but said Otter lacked standing because the state didn't prove it had been injured.

Because Otter lacked standing, the court says it doesn't have jurisdiction and dismissed the lawsuit.

Frankie Barnhil / Boise State Public Radio

Six-and-a-half inches of snow fell Tuesday in Boise, bringing the total snow depth to 15 inches so far this year – a new record. The snow storm prompted the closure of area schools and some businesses, and caused almost 100 car accidents.

 

“The last 29 years I guess the district looks wise for not investing in plow trucks that they didn’t need," says Ada County Highway District President Paul Woods. "Now on this 30th year I guess one could say: ‘Well how come you don’t have more trucks?’”

Gary Moncrief

It’s a new year for Republicans who now control government at the national level. And also for the 2017 Idaho Legislature, which leans even more toward the GOP after losing four Democratic seats in the fall elections. That means change in Washington D.C. and in the Gem State.

Today, we bring you our first 2017 Weekly Legislative Update. We’ll be taking a close look at what happens in the Idaho Statehouse, both in the public eye and behind the scenes.

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2017 Weekly Legislative Update

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

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