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Medicaid Cuts
2:25 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Judge Halts Idaho Medicaid Cuts After ACLU Lawsuit

Credit Jasleen_Kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

The decision lets an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho lawsuit on behalf of disabled Idahoans proceed as a class-action case.

That opens it up to more people who lost some their Medicaid dollars when the program was slashed in 2011.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill cited cases of severely mentally disabled Idahoans that can no longer afford necessary therapy and other care in his decision.

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Affordable Housing
1:11 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Report: It Takes A 73 Hour Work Week To Pay Rent On Idaho's Minimum Wage

Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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Protests
10:01 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Gay Rights Protesters Take Their Message On The Road, Begin Training Idahoans Outside Boise

Emily Shannon got involved with the "add the words" movement after seeing news coverage of this year's first Capitol protest. She participated in subsequent protests, was arrested and most recently trained people in Moscow to protest.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s 2014 legislative session may well be defined by protests. Gay rights advocates stepped up pressure on lawmakers 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.

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Theater
1:30 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Actor Says It's A Thrill To Work On Boise Contemporary Theater’s Evolving New Play

Carie Kawa is a Los Angeles-based actor starting in BCT's new original play, The Uncanny Valley.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Carie Kawa awkwardly holds a beat-up, framed poster showing earth-seen-from-space to face the mostly empty seats at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT.) The first week of rehearsal is ending for the original play The Uncanny Valley. The poster is a stand-in for a painting which is an important linchpin in the plot. The story turns on this prop, but the prop itself is too big for Kawa to turn around to show another actor as she’s supposed to.

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Wages
10:43 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Idaho's Share Of Minimum Wage Workers Declines, Now 2nd Highest In U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports most hourly workers earning at or below the minimum wage work in the service sector, largely in food preparation.
Credit Gorgeoux / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s share of minimum wage workers declined 0.6 percent from 2012 to 2013 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The drop means Idaho no longer has the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country; Tennessee has taken Idaho’s spot.

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Flood Insurance
9:44 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Idaho Residents Face Big Flood Insurance Increases

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.

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.

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Wildlife
9:41 am
Mon March 24, 2014

With Idaho Wolves On The Decline, Environmental Groups To Ask For Federal Protection

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho's wolf population is on the decline, heading toward 10 breeding pairs, or 150 wolves.

That's the goal set in the 2002 wolf management plan that will remain the state's official policy unless it is changed by the Legislature.

The Idaho Statesman reports that last week's legislation to establish an Idaho Wolf Control Board, along with efforts to expand and increase wolf hunting and trapping, has galvanized some national conservation groups.

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Economy
6:45 am
Mon March 24, 2014

The Number Of Idaho Fur Trappers Doubles As Pelt Prices Soar

Patrick Carney sets his traps in a gated community pond near Eagle, Idaho.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

Just four years ago, bobcat fur sold for about $200. Now, that same bobcat pelt can be sold for almost $2,000. Higher prices come from a rise in demand for fur in Asia, and it has led to more trappers in the field here in Idaho.

Patrick Carney, president of the Idaho Trappers Association, gets calls almost daily from folks who want advice on how to get into commercial trapping.

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Reader's Corner
1:26 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Author Adam Makos Tells An Incredible Story Of Chivalry In The Skies Of WWII

On December 20th, 1943, a crippled B-17 bomber desperately headed for the safety of the German coast and the North Sea. Piloted by a 21-year-old American airman on his first combat mission, it had been strafed by enemy fire after dropping a bomb load on the German town of Bremen. With half its crew dead or injured, its tail nearly blown away and gaping holes in its fuselage, the besieged bomber struggled to stay aloft.

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Economy
11:42 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Idaho's February Jobless Rate Drops To Five Year Low

Idaho's unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a percentage point in February to 5.3 percent, the lowest rate in more than 5 years.

That decline came as the participation rate - which is the percentage of the population 16 and older working or actively looking for work - fell a tenth of a percentage point to 63.7 percent.

Idaho's participation rate dropped below 64 percent last October - the first time in over 30 years - and has been gradually sliding since.

Higher Education
11:02 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Boise State Sets Policy As It Prepares For Guns On Campus

Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University has released its preliminary plans for implementing the state’s new guns-on-campus law. It and other state colleges and universities have until July 1 before the law goes into effect.

The update from the university came in the form of an email Thursday from university president Bob Kustra. He says the school is in the process of revising policies and procedures and that administrators have already made several decisions. 

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Idaho Legislature
9:05 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Idaho's 2014 Legislative Session Ends After 74 Days

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature has wrapped up for the year after appropriating $2.9 billion.

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.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis commended his fellow lawmakers as their final day on the floor drew to a close.

Senators also regaled the gallery with the state song and "God Bless America" before adjourning for the last time.

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Alert System
5:14 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Ada County Looking For New Phone Alert Company

Officials in highly populated Ada County in southwest Idaho are looking for a new phone alert company.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office tells the Idaho Statesman that the system hasn't been working as promised by My State USA.

Spokeswoman Andrea Dearden says that two out of three alerts have failed this year.

On Jan. 28 an alert went out on landlines in some neighborhoods in Boise about a missing teenager but the alert contained no message.

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Election 2014
3:52 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Mitt Romney Says Idaho Is A Leading Example Of Conservative Governing That Works

Rep. Mike Simpson, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Jim Risch, and Gov. Butch Otter speak with Idaho media. March 20, 2014.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is in Idaho this week campaigning on behalf of three longtime politicians.

On Thursday, Romney hosted a $250-per-plate luncheon for two-time Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter. The event was also to benefit eight-time Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, and Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, who is campaigning for his first re-election bid.

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Wolves
12:26 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Lawmakers Want Gray Wolf Protections To Stay

Credit Washington Fish and Game

Federal lawmakers are pressing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to drop a proposal that would end federal protections for wolves across most of the Lower 48 states.

Seventy-four House members signed onto a Wednesday letter to Jewell that cites a peer-review panel's recent conclusion the government relied on unsettled science to make its case.

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Treefort Fest
11:34 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Boise's Treefort Music Fest Takes Off In Its Third Year

Treefort Music Fest organizers Eric Gilbert (left), Lori Shandro and Drew Lorona take a break from planning the third annual festival.
Credit Frankie Barnhill

West Coast music festivals like Sasquatch and Coachella are mainstays in the industry, attracting some of the biggest names in the business and fans from all over the country.

But this weekend, a newer music festival in Idaho is beginning to make a name for itself among music trendsetters.

Flying under the radar

Three years ago, Lori Shandro could never have imagined she’d be producing a music festival with more than 350 bands.

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Idaho Legislature
11:14 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Idaho House Passes $1.37B Budget For Schools

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Lawmakers in Idaho's House of Representatives have approved the state's public schools budget, including a 1 percent pay increase for teachers and administrators and money to improve classroom technology.

The House passed the $1.37 billion budget in a series of seven bills on Wednesday evening. The money represents about a 5 percent increase over last year. It now goes to the Senate.

Supporters said they felt it was important hold some money back this year to rebuild the state's coffers in case the economy again turns sour.

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Treefort Fest
6:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

9 Things To Do At Boise's Treefort Music Fest

Credit Treefort Music Fest

Alright Boise, the wait is over. The third annual Treefort Music Fest is in full swing, and there's a lot of options. Like, a lot.

But instead of giving you music recommendations, we thought we'd try something different. Here's some ideas for unique experiences that Treefort has to offer -- in no particular order.

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2014 Election
3:17 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Mitt Romney Hosts Campaign Events For Otter, Simpson

Mitt Romney campaigned in Idaho during the 2012 presidential race.
Credit Screengrab from KBOI2

If there’s one place failed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can still be effective, it’s in Idaho. The former Massachusetts governor won nearly 65 percent of Idaho votes in the 2012 presidential race.

Thursday, he’ll ask Idahoans to re-elect two-time Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. Romney hosted a high-end fundraiser for Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho Falls Wednesday.

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Idaho Legislature
11:53 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tax Incentive Plan Passes Senate Again In Revote

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho tax incentive bill is again bound for the governor's desk after sponsors say they've addressed concerns from the attorney general's office.

The bill, which would give up to 30 percent in tax incentives to job-creating businesses, already passed the Senate Monday.

But Senate leaders called for a revote after the attorney general's office released an opinion saying it could leave Idaho on constitutionally shaky ground.

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