Politics + Policy http://boisestatepublicradio.org en What Do Idaho Voters Want? Without Recent Public Opinion Polls, It's Hard To Tell http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/what-do-idaho-voters-want-without-recent-public-opinion-polls-its-hard-tell <p></p><p>Idaho voters will soon be inundated with campaign ads and sound bites from political candidates who proclaim to know exactly what Idahoans want. But it's unclear how voters are feeling heading into the May 20 primary election, thanks to a lack of public opinion polling. Without such polling, it's tough to tell if politicians' rhetoric matches the electorate's viewpoint.</p><p></p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:53:09 +0000 Emilie Ritter Saunders 43607 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org What Do Idaho Voters Want? Without Recent Public Opinion Polls, It's Hard To Tell ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Leaving For Washington D.C. http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/aclu-idaho-executive-director-leaving-washington-dc <p>The executive director of the ACLU of Idaho has been hired for the same post at the ACLU in Washington, D.C.</p><p>Monica Hopkins has led the Idaho ACLU affiliate since 2008. During her tenure the organization has pushed for improved safety and health conditions for Idaho inmates, lobbied for ordinances in seven Idaho cities to prevent discrimination against gay and transgender residents, and pushed for free speech protections for protesters on state property.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:31:12 +0000 Associated Press 43533 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Governor Candidate Spurns NRA Questionnaire http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-governor-candidate-spurns-nra-questionnaire <p></p><p>Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff has refused to answer the National Rifle Association survey and has criticized the organization for pushing for concealed-carry guns on Idaho college campuses.</p><p>Balukoff says Idaho's governor and Legislature shouldn't be beholden to the NRA.</p><p>Rather than complete the 23-question survey, Balukoff wrote a letter to the NRA, saying the questionnaire allows only for polarizing and extreme positions.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:13:30 +0000 Associated Press 43461 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Governor Candidate Spurns NRA Questionnaire Idaho Governor Signs Law Aiming To Reduce Incarceration Rates http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-governor-signs-law-aiming-reduce-incarceration-rates <p></p><p>Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed a new law that proponents hope will reduce the state's high incarceration rate and save money on prison spending.</p><p>The Justice Reinvestment legislation makes several tweaks to Idaho's criminal justice system. Most of the changes focus on what happens when a person is sentenced, imprisoned or placed on parole or probation.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 23:12:45 +0000 Associated Press 43233 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Governor Signs Law Aiming To Reduce Incarceration Rates Meet Two Couples Suing To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal In Idaho http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/meet-two-couples-suing-make-same-sex-marriage-legal-idaho <p></p><p>Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson have been together for three years. Within the last six months they've become the public face of an effort to strike down Idaho's constitutional ban on gay marriage. At home, they're like many other couples playing with their dogs on the back patio.</p><p>“Charlie's the corgi,” Amber says. “Then we’ve got the Labradoodle Boozer. And Georgia is the basset hound.” Add in Herman, the big orange cat, and that’s their family -- so far. The two have planned on having kids ever since they got together more than three years ago.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:35:00 +0000 Adam Cotterell 43160 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Meet Two Couples Suing To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal In Idaho Idaho Gets A Failing Grade For Government Transparency http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-gets-failing-grade-government-transparency <p></p><p>Idaho is one of three states with a failing grade when it comes to government transparency, <a href="http://www.uspirgedfund.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/Following%20the%20Money%20vUS%20v2_0.pdf" target="_blank">as ranked by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group</a>, a consumer interest group.</p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:01:29 +0000 Emilie Ritter Saunders 43125 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Gets A Failing Grade For Government Transparency Idaho Asks Judge To Toss Lawsuit On So-Called 'Ag-Gag' Law http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-asks-judge-toss-lawsuit-so-called-ag-gag-law <p></p><p>Attorneys for Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities.</p><p>A coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and others sued last month, asking U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to strike down what they call an "ag gag" law. The coalition contends the law curtails freedom of speech and makes gathering proof of animal abuse a crime with a harsher punishment than the penalty for animal cruelty itself.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:09:59 +0000 Associated Press 43065 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Asks Judge To Toss Lawsuit On So-Called 'Ag-Gag' Law Gov. Otter Signs Tax Incentive Bill To Lure Businesses To Idaho http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/gov-otter-signs-tax-incentive-bill-lure-businesses-idaho <p></p><p>Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is backing legislation aimed at creating jobs and bringing business to Idaho.</p><p>Otter on Thursday signed the bill into law that refunds up to 30 percent of state corporate income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes to businesses that create a certain number of new jobs.</p><p>The measure mandates workers must be paid wages that at least match the county average.</p><p>The bill hit some speed bumps during the session, drawing the ire of small business owners who said the tax breaks give an unfair edge to their larger competitors.</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 21:43:15 +0000 Associated Press 42898 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Gov. Otter Signs Tax Incentive Bill To Lure Businesses To Idaho Idaho Secretary Of State Candidate Gets High Profile Endorsements http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-secretary-state-candidate-gets-high-profile-endorsements <p>Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt has endorsed Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane to be Idaho secretary of state.</p><p>The Republican in a statement released Thursday says McGrane is the best person to continue the sound judgment and fiscal responsibility set by current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and his predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa.</p><p>Ysursa endorsed McGrane on Tuesday. Ysursa is retiring at the end of the year.</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:04:00 +0000 Associated Press 42875 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Removed From Idaho Education Task Force, One Member Cries Foul http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/removed-idaho-education-task-force-one-member-cries-foul <p>A member of Idaho’s '<a href="http://www.boardofed.idaho.gov/board_initiatives/education_improvement_taskforce/taskforce_jump.asp" target="_blank">Task Force for Improving Education</a>' has been kicked out of the group. Mike Lanza says he was told it was because he went to work for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Democratic challenger.</p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 22:38:10 +0000 Adam Cotterell 42831 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Removed From Idaho Education Task Force, One Member Cries Foul Idaho Is More Dependent On Federal Government Than Most States http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-more-dependent-federal-government-most-states <p></p><p>Idaho ranks in the top half of states with the highest dependence on federal dollars, according to a new study.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/1lhSniv">The Idaho Statesman reports</a> the Gem State outranks every neighboring state in dependence except for Wyoming, which comes in at a national ranking of 43rd to Idaho's 31st.</p><p>In personal finance website WalletHub's study, released last week, a higher ranking meaning more dependency.</p><p>That means only 20 states depend more on money from the government than Idaho.</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:59:42 +0000 Associated Press 42656 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Is More Dependent On Federal Government Than Most States Idaho Agriculture Industry Happy With 2014 Legislature http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-agriculture-industry-happy-2014-legislature <p></p><p>Idaho's farmers, ranchers and producers say they're happy with the outcome of the 2014 Legislature.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/1i1yyJk" target="_blank">The Capitol Press</a> reports a lot of things went right for the agricultural industry during the 74-day session, where numerous industry-boosting bills found a foothold.</p><p>That included the Agriculture Security Act, a dairy-backed bill that punishes those who film agricultural operations, and is designed to protect farmers from spying activists.</p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:17:02 +0000 Associated Press 42528 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Agriculture Industry Happy With 2014 Legislature Idaho Mental Health Records Added To FBI Gun Check http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-mental-health-records-added-fbi-gun-check <p>Idaho added mental health records to a national Federal Bureau of Investigations database, making it easier for background checks to discover if would-be gun owners have a history of mental illness.</p><p>The <a href="http://bit.ly/1jz8pHn" target="_blank">Twin Falls Times-News</a> reports gun store customers are asked to complete a form revealing their legal status, criminal history and whether they have been committed to an institution for health reasons or found mentally unfit by a court.</p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 22:41:07 +0000 Associated Press 42489 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Gets A C+ On Election Gender Equality By Sending One Woman To Congress http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-gets-c-election-gender-equality-sending-one-woman-congress <p>Idaho gets a C+ for the percentage of women it elects to Congress in a new <a href="http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2014/03/gender_equality_in_the_us_hous.php" target="_blank">election gender equality report card</a> from the University of Minnesota’s <a href="http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/" target="_blank">Smart Politics</a> blog. The site, dedicated to data-driven political reporting, looked at all the U.S. House races for the past 25 years.</p><p></p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:47:52 +0000 Adam Cotterell 42455 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho Gets A C+ On Election Gender Equality By Sending One Woman To Congress Judge Halts Idaho Medicaid Cuts After ACLU Lawsuit http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/judge-halts-idaho-medicaid-cuts-after-aclu-lawsuit <p></p><p>A U.S. District Court judge issued an injunction Tuesday to halt deep cuts to Medicaid and restore about $16 million in assistance to Idaho's developmentally delayed adults.</p><p>The decision lets an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho lawsuit on behalf of disabled Idahoans proceed as a class-action case.</p><p>That opens it up to more people who lost some their Medicaid dollars when the program was slashed in 2011.</p><p>Judge B. Lynn Winmill cited cases of severely mentally disabled Idahoans that can no longer afford necessary therapy and other care in his decision.</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:25:55 +0000 Associated Press & Adam Cotterell 42409 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Judge Halts Idaho Medicaid Cuts After ACLU Lawsuit Gay Rights Protesters Take Their Message On The Road, Begin Training Idahoans Outside Boise http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/gay-rights-protesters-take-their-message-road-begin-training-idahoans-outside-boise <p>Idaho’s 2014 legislative session may well be defined by protests. Gay rights advocates <a href="http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/session-civil-disobedience-idaho-any-closer-gay-rights-law">stepped up pressure on lawmakers</a> to extend discrimination protections to gays, lesbians and transgender people. More than 100 people were arrested in numerous protests. Those were well choreographed and featured people standing silently, each with a hand over his or her mouth. Now, organizers are bringing this distinctive strategy to other parts of the state.</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:01:56 +0000 Adam Cotterell 42361 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Gay Rights Protesters Take Their Message On The Road, Begin Training Idahoans Outside Boise Idaho Residents Face Big Flood Insurance Increases http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idaho-residents-face-big-flood-insurance-increases <p>About 1,400 flood insurance policies in Idaho subsidized by the government are facing hefty premium increases despite a congressional fix intended to limit the worse of the rate hikes.</p><p>More than a million policyholders across the nation will be required to pay higher annual premiums as the federal government cuts subsidies in an effort to cover the National Flood Insurance Program's more than $24 billion deficit brought about by the discounts and a series of catastrophic storms.</p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:44:26 +0000 Associated Press 42255 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho A Big Supplier http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/study-cigarette-tax-evasion-sky-high-washington-idaho-big-supplier <a href="http://cpa.ds.npr.org/northwestnews/audio/2014/03/032114TB_IllegalCigs_web.mp3" class="asset-audio"></a><p>Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state according to an estimate from a new study by two think tanks.<p> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 00:25:00 +0000 Tom Banse 42159 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho A Big Supplier Romney's Job In Idaho: Prevent GOP Voters From Veering 'Wild Right' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/romneys-job-idaho-prevent-gop-voters-veering-wild-right Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.<p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>And I'm Linda Wertheimer. We've talked on this program about something resembling a civil war in the Republican Party this year. More establishment Republicans are in primary battles against Tea Party candidates, and money is pouring in on both sides.<p>GREENE: We saw that happening when we visited Idaho some weeks ago. That's where a Tea Party backed political newcomer named Bryan Smith is trying to push out long-time Republican Congressman Mike Simpson. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 09:09:00 +0000 Emilie Ritter Saunders 42100 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho's 2014 Legislative Session Ends After 74 Days http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idahos-2014-legislative-session-ends-after-74-days <p></p><p>The Idaho Legislature has wrapped up for the year after appropriating $2.9 billion.</p><p>The session lasted only 74 days — that's two weeks fewer than last year's session and only five days longer than the record shortest session in 2004.</p><p>Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis commended his fellow lawmakers as their final day on the floor drew to a close.</p><p>Senators also regaled the gallery with the state song and "God Bless America" before adjourning for the last time.</p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 03:05:49 +0000 Associated Press 42096 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Idaho's 2014 Legislative Session Ends After 74 Days