News

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would expand the list of the worst kind of felons banned from owning firearms.

Lawmakers spiked a similar effort last year after Republicans opposed including felony convictions for arson, racketeering and rioting as qualifiers to lose one's right to own firearms.

Under the new proposal, terrorists, criminal gang members, human trafficking and hijacking convictions would be banned from owning firearms, even if they are discharged from their sentences.

AP

University presidents in Idaho and Washington State are urging foreign students to avoid trips home or international travel following President Donald Trump's recent executive order.

The order blocks people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, along with other limitations placed on refugees.

Idaho Democratic Leader Responds To Immigration Bill

Jan 31, 2017
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Monday Idaho House Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) introduced a bill opposing the adoption of sanctuary cities. Although Idaho has no sanctuary cities in place, the lawmaker says his proposal would ensure that no state funding would ever be given to cities and counties that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
 
House Minority leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) blasted the bill.
 

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Social media requests to flood the phone lines of Idaho’s congressional delegation seem to be working. Over the weekend, the voicemail inboxes of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and Sen. Mike Crapo were full.

According to Crapo communications director Lindsay Nothern, the Boise office was fielding calls from Idahoans all Monday morning. Nothern says he personally took dozens of calls.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

More than 600 people held signs, chanted and demonstrated yesterday at the Boise Airport in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entering the country.

“No hate. No Fear. Refugees are welcome here!” resounded through the concourse between the airport’s check-in counters and security area.

J. Mc. / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise wants people to move their inaccessible bins from alleys to the street. The request comes after winter storms that have made some alleys with piled-up snow and ice impossible for trucks to navigate.

Here's the full press release from the city:

Spokane Public Radio

The Forest Service has settled a lawsuit with a conservation group and an Idaho Indian tribe that will allow oversized truck loads to resume using a two-lane federal highway through an environmentally-sensitive section of the Idaho Panhandle. But the settlement essentially bans so-called megaloads of oil equipment destined for the oil sands in Alberta.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Treasure Valley bus riders are now able to cruise the web at the same time they cruise around town.

ValleyRide buses are offering free wireless internet to their users. The WiFi is another step toward modernization of the bus system; in Oct. 2016, the system opened a brand new underground transit center in downtown.

According to a press release from Valley Regional Transit, the service will come with filters to block access to websites deemed inappropriate. Many cities across the world have offered free internet on buses for years.

Jason Lantz / Idaho Bureau of Land Management

Four days in January cost Southwest Idaho and Eastern Oregon more than $25 million in winter storm damage. The Idaho Statesman talked with a New Jersey-based company that analyzes insurance claims data, and reports the Jan. 6-9 storm meets the industry standard of a “catastrophic event.”

Verisk Analytics says the total pricetag for damaged homes, cars and businesses is unclear.

Idaho residents flocked to the Capitol Friday to urge lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, address Idaho's medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.

The testimony was part of the annual listening session hosted by the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Steps
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

North Idaho Representative Heather Scott stood on the House floor Friday and asked to be allowed to return to her committees.

“I respectfully request that I be returned to my committees so I can properly perform my duly elected position and the voice of the citizens in District 1 in North Idaho will no longer be silenced," said Scott.

megaload, transportation
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Environmental groups, the Nez Perce Tribe and the U.S. Forest Service said Friday that they have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over huge "megaload" shipments on a scenic northwestern Idaho highway by tractor trailers.

The shipments had been on hold since 2013 along a 100-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 12 between Lewiston, Idaho and the Montana border.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets.

Keith Kohl / Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

Antelope injured while falling on ice. Horses stranded in snowy mountains. Cougars descending from their wilderness lairs to forage in a town.

It's been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.

John Miller / AP Images

Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson will resign at the end of February, after serving the district of Idaho for the last six years. She was sworn in by former President Barack Obama.

According to Idaho Reports, Olson says she is anticipating changes under President Donald Trump and wants to choose when she would leave her post. U.S. attorneys serve at the discretion of the president.

Idaho Ed News

House Speaker Scott Bedke has joined 140 GOP officials in endorsing Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s controversial choice for education secretary.

Bedke co-signed a letter calling DeVos “an advocate and ally for all children.” The letter was signed by state school superintendents, lieutenant governors and legislators from all 50 states. Bedke was the lone Idahoan to sign on — and said he did so at the urging of the Republican National Committee.

capitol, JFAC
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature is ramping up its third week of the 2017 session.

This week, lawmakers are considering tax reductions in a surplus budget year. They’re also considering tweaking election rules when it comes to running for office. And the legislature’s budget writers, the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, or JFAC as it’s known, is hearing budget requests from state agencies.

In this week’s 2017 Weekly Legislative Update, Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says the real work of the session is getting underway.

Keith Ridler / AP

As priorities and strategy dramatically shift in Washington DC with Donald Trump assuming the presidency, officials at the Idaho National Lab are altering their narrative to better align with the new administration.

With Trump's White House saying the jury is out on climate change and a lack of clarity on the direction of energy research, INL officials plan to focus less on themes surrounding greenhouse gases and more on the facility's role in energy security and as a font of good jobs.

AP

As the Idaho Legislature prepares its annual budget, it's debating on how best to handle a $139 million surplus. That's a good thing. But according to experts, the presence of a one-time surplus can make political decisions very difficult.

Earlier this month, a panel of academics and journalists at the City Club of Boise wondered what Idaho legislators would do with a substantial surplus. Retired professor Jim Weatherby said that dealing with excess funds can be harder than dealing with a deficit.

Dean Shareski / Flickr

This winter’s snow and cold temperatures have taken a toll on area roads. And it’s not just piles of snow that are causing problems. On many streets there are new potholes to worry about.

Potholes crop up every winter, but back-to-back storms this season have made these road hazards blossom.

The Idaho Transportation Department says usually there is time after a winter storm for crews to put temporary patches on potholes. But with so many storms so close together, they can't keep up.

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