News

money, budget
Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is on track to finish the fiscal year with $139 million more tax revenue than the 2016 Legislature predicted, if the latest forecast holds true. According to revenue projections released Thursday, Idaho should take in nearly $3.26 billion from state tax and fees for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The amount is $92 million more than what lawmakers originally estimated during this year's legislative session. Multiple factors could still change the economic outlook between now and...

Gowen Field Military Division
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho National Guard says its training center in Boise is one of five locations the U.S. Air Force is considering as a base for about 18 fighter jets. The Idaho Statesman reports that the F-35s would replace 21 A-10 planes that are currently based at Gowen Field. The Idaho Guard says a lot of work must be done before the military makes a decision, including an Environmental Impact Study and a facility inspection. If Gowen is selected, the new flight likely won't arrive until 2021 or 2022....

IDOC

The Idaho Board of Correction has appointed Henry Atencio as the new director of prisons two days after his predecessor, Kevin Kempf, gave his resignation notice. The board unanimously appointed Atencio to the position Wednesday. The Idaho Senate must now ratify Atencio's appointment during the 2017 legislative session. Atencio has been with the department for 26 years and has served as the deputy director since 2014. The number two spot was created after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he...

Washington DNR

A proposed fuel break system in southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon and northern Nevada will limit the size of destructive rangeland wildfires and protect habitat for sage grouse, say officials with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The agency on Tuesday released a plan called the Tri-State Fuel Break Project, which would create gaps in combustible vegetation along existing roads on public lands in the three states by reducing fuel next to the roads, using either machines or chemical...

Idaho Black History Museum / Facebook

Officials with the Idaho Black History Museum say someone wrote a racial slur on the roof of the museum's storage shed. Museum director Phillip Thompson said Wednesday that he found the slur sketched in the snow while heading to a board meeting. Thompson has since shared photos of the slur on the Boise museum's Facebook page. Thompson says he doesn't plan on reporting the incident to the Boise police because there is nothing they can do. He added that the act is not a representation of Boise,...

Idaho Ed News

Idaho’s supplemental levy bill has hit an all-time record this year. Property taxpayers will shell out $188.8 million in voter-approved supplemental levies in 2016-17 — up from $186.6 million in 2015-16. The previous high-water mark was $188.1 million in 2013-14, as Idaho schools were digging out from the aftereffects of the Great Recession. But the rising supplemental levy bill comes after Gov. Butch Otter and the Legislature approved 7.4 percent funding increases for K-12 for the past two...

Idaho National Laboratory

A $1.65 billion facility will be built at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation's fleet of nuclear-powered warships, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday. Officials said the new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed. The new construction will be at the Naval Reactors facility on the Energy Department's southeastern Idaho site that covers about 890-square-miles of high-desert sagebrush steppe. The...

AP

A restored, hand-carved carousel will likely start offering rides next spring, a northern Idaho group says. Coeur d'Alene Carousel Foundation President Cari Fraser tells The Spokesman-Review that plans to have it running this year changed after poor weather in October and design changes delayed work on a new building in downtown Coeur d'Alene. "The carousel construction has been moving slowly, as of late," Fraser said. "We are on pace to be open spring 2017. I am hoping for an April opening,...

telephone, buttons, hotline
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is expanding its services by adding an additional phone line for people to call in crisis. The Idaho Statesman reports that the new phone number will also accept text messages Mondays through Fridays, between 3 p.m. and midnight. Organizers announced the additional services on Monday. Idaho's suicide rate has long been above the national average, peaking as the ninth highest rate in the country in 2014, the most recent year for which figures were available...

University of Idaho, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences / Facebook

Upgrading aging infrastructure at nine research and extension centers around the state is a main goal, the new director of the University of Idaho's Agricultural Experiment Station said. Mark McGuire told the Capital Press that some of that infrastructure dates back to the 1960s and 1970s and needs upgrading so researchers have modern facilities and equipment. "We're trying to revitalize all of the college's infrastructure," he said, noting the college will try to get state, federal and...

Tom Kelly/Flickr

The Idaho State Police and other law enforcement agencies are pushing for new rules for 911 and emergency dispatchers. Idaho does not currently require training or hiring standards for 911 dispatchers. ISP, the Idaho Sheriff’s Association and the Idaho Chiefs of Police want to change that. They’ve drafted legislation that would require a week of either academy or online training in the field of emergency dispatching. Dispatchers would also have to take a minimum of 40 hours of continuing...

Idaho Dept. of Correction

Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf is resigning to take a job as the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators. Kempf gave the state Board of Correction his resignation on Monday, he said in an email, calling the decision "bittersweet." In the email, he said the state is headed in a good direction, crediting lawmakers, the governor's office, members of the state judiciary and other criminal justice officials for working together. He said that...

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney wants to reform the state’s Sunshine Laws. According to Idaho Reports, Denney plans to introduce new legislation in the upcoming session. Sunshine laws are used to make government agencies more transparent. Specifically, he wants to increase the penalty for campaign contribution violations by more than $2,000. Denney also wants any candidate or advocates for a ballot measure who spend more than $500 to issue a financial report. And he wants these...

Parolan Harahap / Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to require mining companies to show they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution so taxpayers aren't stuck footing the bill. Friday's announcement follows a 2015 court order for the agency to enforce a long-ignored provision in the 1980 federal Superfund law. The requirement would apply to hard rock mining, which includes mines for precious metals and other ores. The EPA spent $1.1 billion on cleanup work at abandoned hard...

Idaho officials have sold seven commercial properties for $17.3 million as part of a plan to get rid of politically contentious commercial real estate and use the money to buy timberland and agricultural land that the state uses to generate revenue to fund schools. The Idaho Department of Lands sold the properties on Thursday in an auction that officials said brought in $4.5 million more than the appraised value of the properties. "I was surprised we got that much above the appraised value,"...

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Interior Department has updated a rule that governs activities like ranching, mining and gas drilling on federal land. Obama Administration officials say they aim to simplify the process for land development, while building in more transparency and public input. But to some energy industry groups and western state politicians, the timing of the rule update is concerning. According to the Associated Press, Wyoming senator John Barrasso is concerned the change will mean policy decisions...

NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory

Next August, eclipse-chasers will converge in Idaho and a handful of other states to watch the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 38 years. The Boise State Physics Department is getting ready with a special talk Friday. The last total solar eclipse that crossed the continental U.S. was in 1979 and it crossed over Northern Idaho. This time, the path for best eclipse viewing will travel through the middle of Idaho , just north of Boise. Brian Jackson is an...

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park biologists say more than 900 wild bison would need to be killed or removed this winter to begin reducing the size of herds that spill into neighboring Montana. The park has an estimated 5,500 bison, the highest number since at least 2000. Park officials meet Thursday with state, tribal and U.S. Agriculture Department representatives to discuss options for managing the animals. Biologists say 900 would need to be removed just to stabilize population growth. Many...

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Senate Chambers Siddoway
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have gathered in Boise to determine who will sit in the most coveted spots in the Statehouse. Committee chairmen wield tremendous influence in setting the tone of legislative sessions because they control the fate of most legislative proposals that come across their desk. The positions are determined every two years. On Thursday, legislative leaders announced that Sen. Jeff Siddoway, a Republican from Terreton, will take over Senate State Affairs Committee — one of the most...

AP

Federal prosecutors want a judge in Nevada to schedule a trio of trials for the 17 defendants jailed on charges stemming from an armed confrontation in April 2014 with U.S. officials over grazing rights near cattleman Cliven Bundy's ranch. But Bundy and his attorney call in documents filed Wednesday for all the defendants to be tried together. Otherwise, the defendants who are required to wait will spend more months behind bars without a chance to prove their innocence, Bundy attorney Bret...

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