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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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Audit
10:53 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Report: Idaho Doesn't Know Total Cost Of Death Penalty

A new report from Idaho's state auditors shows that sentencing a defendant to life in prison without parole is more expensive than imposing the death penalty.

But the Office of Performance Evaluations also found that the state's criminal justice agencies don't collect enough data to determine the total cost of the death penalty. Hannah Crumrine and Tony Grange presented the report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee Wednesday morning.

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Idaho Legislature
10:33 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Former State Senator Hides In Statehouse Closet

Credit Idaho Legislature

Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour hid in an Idaho Statehouse closet for more than five hours as part of her effort to persuade Republican lawmakers to update the Idaho Human Rights Act.

The Spokesman-Review reports that LeFavour, a Boise Democrat, was discovered late Tuesday afternoon in a closet in the Senate lounge behind the Senate chamber.

Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill of Rexburg says he asked her to leave and she complied.

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Policy
8:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Why Medical Marijuana Legalization Has No Traction In Idaho

Various strains of medical marijuana on display at a California convention.
Credit Audio Vision, Public Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

Four of Idaho's six neighboring states allow some form of legal marijuana use. Oregon, Nevada and Montana allow medical marijuana while Washington recently legalized pot for most residents. In each of those states, voters approved legalizing marijuana, but in Idaho, the issue has gotten nowhere.

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St. Luke's Lawsuit
4:35 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

St. Luke's Gets $10 Million Bill After Failed Lawsuit

Credit St. Luke's Health System

St. Luke's Health System has been handed a $10 million bill for a lawsuit the hospital lost, according to the Idaho Statesman.  

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Idaho News
3:23 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Twin Falls Sheriff Sued For Discrimination

Two former Twin Falls County sheriff's deputies have filed a lawsuit against the county, contending Sheriff Tom Carter discriminated against them based on their sex.

The Times-News of Twin Falls reported Tuesday the lawsuit was filed March 13 in federal court by Becky White and Susan Stringer.

They contend they were passed over for promotions, given fewer training opportunities than males and held to a higher standard than male deputies.

Idaho Legislature
12:52 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Business Tax Incentive Bill Heads To Idaho Senate Revote After Changes

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Legislators say they'll change a tax bill before trying it again on the Senate floor, after the attorney general's office said it might leave Idaho on constitutionally shaky ground.

The bill, which would give up to 30 percent in tax incentives to job-creating businesses, cleared the Senate 29-6 Monday.

But that was before Deputy Attorney General Chelsea Kidney released an opinion that giving a seven-member board the final word on who gets tax breaks could result in unequal treatment of identical businesses.

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Idaho Legislature
9:52 am
Tue March 18, 2014

A Session Of Civil Disobedience, But Is Idaho Any Closer To Gay Rights Law?

Add the Words protesters encircle the upper level of the rotunda at the Idaho Capitol. They put a hand over their mouth to symbolize how they've been "silenced" by lawmakers.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

This winter, protests hit the Idaho Capitol at a level rarely seen in Boise. Gay rights activists blocked entrances and were marched away in handcuffs.

They want Idaho's Republican-controlled Legislature to pass an anti-discrimination law similar to those in Oregon and Washington. It would make it illegal for employers, landlords and most businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But lawmakers plan to wrap up the session this Friday without ever printing the bill.

Pressure through civil disobedience

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Wildfires
3:56 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Idaho Should Have 'Normal' Wildfire Season Thanks To Recent Storms

Last Summer's Beaver Creek Fire Threatened Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey
Credit InciWeb / http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3635/

It's still at least three months away, but it looks as though Idaho’s wildfire season should be fairly normal in 2014. Ed Delgado manages predictive services at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

“We’ve got good snowpack right now and assuming it melts off fairly regularly over the next couple of months, that’s going to be good for the soils especially in the mountain areas,” Delgado says. “So that’s going to kind of prolong the wet period.”

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Wildfire Budget
3:03 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Interior Secretary Jewell, Congressmen Visit Boise To Tout Wildfire Suppression Funding Overhaul

Gov. Butch Otter flanked by Sec. Sally Jewell, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch, Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Raul Labrador.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A coalition of Congressional Democrats and Republicans gathered in Boise Monday to tout a proposal that would change the way the federal government pays for firefighting operations in the West and beyond.   

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

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Wildlife
1:38 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Hunters Kill Nearly 500 Wolves In Idaho, Montana

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Hunters and trappers in Montana killed 230 wolves during the recently concluded wolf season.

That's only five more wolves than the prior year's wolf harvest despite the lifting of quotas on the animals across most of the state and a higher bag limit for individual hunters.

Hunters took 144 wolves during a season that started in September and ended Saturday. Trappers took 86 wolves.

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Theater
1:07 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Listen: Get A Sneak Peek Of Boise Contemporary Theater's New Play

Cast and crew gather for a first reading of Uncanny Valley.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Contemporary Theater's new original play, The Uncanny Valley opens in less than three weeks and the script isn't yet finished. The new original play is a work in progress we’ve been following for a few months.

Just last month actors gathered for their first table read.  This was the first time writers and co-directors Dwayne Blackaller and Matthew Cameron Clark showed all the actors the play. Clark is also acting in this show.

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Idaho Legislature
12:47 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Idaho Legislature Approves Bill Limiting Payday Loans

Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

A bill seeking to let Idaho dictate how much payday lenders can give borrowers passed the House Monday by only one vote.

The 35-34 decision came after several lawmakers said they had issues with the bill, which limits loan size and lets borrowers set up interest-free payment plans if they hit a financial snag.

Boise Democrat Rep. Phylis King said letting borrowers take out loans of up to 25 percent of their monthly income was still too much, suggesting the amount be closer to 5 percent.

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Agriculture
10:12 am
Mon March 17, 2014

ACLU, PETA Sue Idaho Over New Law To Punish Animal Rights Activists

Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, PETA and other groups are suing the state over a new measure that would prosecute people who secretly film agricultural operations. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the so-called 'ag-gag' bill into law at the end of February.

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Education
9:42 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Donates $1.2 Million To School Programs

Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe has donated $1.2 million to 52 educational programs in Idaho.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the tribe made the announcement Thursday.

The money is going to support educational efforts ranging from reading, music, arts, science, college scholarship programs and vocational preparation.

The chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Chief Allen, says the money will allow students to focus on learning.

Most of the money was distributed in Kootenai and Benewah counties in northern Idaho.

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Prison Investigation
2:29 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Feds Don't Want Idaho Prison Lawsuit Paused

A federal prosecutor says she doesn't need a lawsuit against a private prison company put on hold for an FBI fraud investigation at an Idaho detention facility.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson's statement comes in response to a request from Corrections Corporation of America lawyers.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based company had asked a judge this week to pause the suit from eight inmates who say they were attacked by a prison gang because there weren't enough guards on duty.

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Film
12:33 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Idaho Documentarian Profiles Harvard Students Saving Lives in Uganda

Uganda children enrolled in the Initiative to End Child Malnutrition
Credit Karen Day

Idaho filmmaker Karen Day has a new documentary, featuring college students making a difference in the world. 

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Wildlife
11:28 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Montana Rule Lets Landowners Shoot Wolves Without A Permit

Credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission has adopted regulations to implement a law that allows landowners to shoot threatening wolves on sight, without a hunting license.

Commissioners approved new wording and definitions for administrative rules on wolf management on Thursday.

Senate Bill 200, which passed last year, allowed landowners to kill wolves that threaten their property without having to buy a permit or hunting license.

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Reader's Corner
7:43 am
Fri March 14, 2014

The Real History Of Bunker Hill With Nathanial Philbrick

On June 17th, 1775, a ragtag army of colonial patriots faced off against the most powerful army of the 18th century. Their goal was to prevent the British regulars from occupying the hills surrounding Boston in order to put an end to a months-long siege of the city. What ensued proved to be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution, and marked a tipping point for the colonists.

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