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The head of Idaho's pro-business lobby has been placed on temporary leave after sending a profanity-laden email criticizing a state senator and suggesting the group introduce retaliation legislation.

The Idaho Statesman reports the board of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry made the decision regarding President Alex LaBeau on Thursday.

Idaho authorities are telling movie theaters serving alcohol that they can't provide drinks during showings of the erotic blockbuster "Fifty Shades of Grey."

The Idaho State Police's Alcohol Beverage Control has contacted at least two theaters showing the popular R-rated flick, ordering them to comply with a law banning businesses from serving booze to people watching sexually explicit films.

The law lists types of scenes requiring a booze ban. "Fifty Shades of Grey" features bondage and sadomasochism scenes.

Curt Bowen

We’ve been following an Idaho non-profit over the years as it helps farmers in Guatemala grow more sustainable crops. We first learned of Semilla Neuva - that’s “New Seed” in Spanish - in 2011. The fledgling group was giving advice on farming techniques to Guatemalan farmers.

screen grab wallethub.com

According to the financial website WalletHub, Idaho is the 9th worst state for women. Lists ranking states on various things come out almost daily and we don’t often report on them, and WalletHub in particular is a list juggernaut. But this one caught our eye.

Idaho was dead last for women’s preventative health care, but in the middle of the state rankings for women’s health care overall.

West Ada School District

Across the state, a high-stakes school election day looms on Tuesday.

How high are the stakes? There are at least $393.3 million in bond issues and school levies on the ballot next week.

Karen Day

Last April, we told you the story of one Idaho woman filmmaker struggling to make a documentary about a pioneer of Idaho filmmaking.

A House panel is considering a plan to spend $2.5 million to support school counselors and lay out specific guidelines for their job descriptions.

The House Education Committee introduced the bill Thursday.

Marilyn Whitney, education liaison for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, says counselors often get sidetracked by having to substitute teach or maintain records.

According to the bill, counselors should spend their time helping students choose academic courses and work with students with disciplinary problems.

Jonathan Hull / Flickr Creative Commons

A landmark Utah proposal protecting gay and transgender individuals has passed its test at the state Legislature.

A Republican-controlled state Senate committee voted unanimously Thursday morning to support the bill, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.

The bill, which has earned the rare stamp of approval from the Utah-based Mormon church, bars discrimination against gay and transgender individuals while protecting the rights of religious groups and individuals.

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus have filed a notice of their intent to sue the federal government over proposed shipments of spent commercial nuclear fuel rods to Idaho.

The former governors sent the notice Thursday to the U.S. Department of Energy seeking to halt the shipments scheduled to arrive in June and December at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho.

Batt, a Republican, and Andrus, a Democrat, both fought commercial nuclear waste shipments culminating with a 1995 agreement banning them.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two months into Idaho’s legislative session, many of the priorities lawmakers set at the beginning of the year haven’t been touched. Legislative leaders say things like road and bridge funding and a tax overhaul may have to wait until next year.

At an event organized by the Idaho Press Club Wednesday, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said he’s optimistic the session can end by March 27. That’s despite the fact that a highly-anticipated bill to give teachers a raise was introduced Wednesday and a comprehensive plan to pay for fixing Idaho’s roads and bridges hasn’t yet surfaced.

Jeffrey Johnson / Boise State University

Jeffrey Johnson got quite a wakeup call this week. The assistant professor of geosciences at Boise State University is working in Pucon, Chile on a Fulbright grant to study volcanoes. He was just ten miles away when the Villarrica volcano had a large eruption Tuesday morning.

Johnson's work includes listening to low frequency sounds that volcanoes make. Here’s the low-frequency sound his sensors recorded during this week's eruption; the sound is normally too low for us to hear, so it's been sped up:

Jay Yohe / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House committee has ushered in a roughly $215 million plan to boost teacher pay over the next five years with the hope of attracting and retaining the state's instructors.

Members on the House Education Committee unanimously approved the proposed legislation Wednesday after getting a sneak peak last week to read the 33-page bill.

Under the plan, rookie teacher pay would bump up from $31,750 a year to $32,200 a year. By 2020, new teachers would be paid $37,000 a year.

Devin Ferrell / Hackfort, Treefort Music Fest

The technology-centered offshoot of Treefort Music Fest, Hackfort, got about as high-profile an endorsement an event can ask for.

During his address at Boise State University in January, President Barack Obama gave a shout-out to the event about halfway through his speech.

Contractors have received $29.7 million under the voided Idaho Education Network contract.

Should the state try to get this money back?

It’s one of the many legal issues surrounding the defunct statewide broadband system. And it’s one many state officials don’t want to talk about.

Utah's governor says he would veto a resurrected bill that would allow anyone over 21 to carry an unloaded, concealed gun without a permit.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he thinks Utah's gun laws work well as they are.

A Senate committee voted 4-1 on Tuesday morning to approve the proposal, which now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

It mirrors a similar one introduced by a House Republican earlier this year.

That lawmaker, Rep. Curtis Oda, agreed to withdraw his proposal as part of a deal with Herbert.

Idaho Capitol Senate
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho Republicans want a bigger say in the 2016 presidential election cycle. A bill that would move Idaho’s presidential primaries up two months, into March, passed the state Senate Tuesday.

Republican State Sen. Jim Rice says the whole point of elections is to let the voice of citizens be heard.

“And there is no citizen who is not impacted by the president of the United States. None,” Rice says.

Idaho Legislature

Three lawmakers refused to attend the Idaho Senate's daily invocation after objecting to the offering of a Hindu prayer.

Rajan Zed, guest chaplain, gave a lengthy prayer in both English and Sanskrit on Tuesday that focused on selflessness and peace. Senators from both sides of the aisle shook his hand and thanked him for coming.

However three lawmakers, all Republican, only came back onto the floor once the prayer was over: Sens. Steve Vick, Sheryl Nuxoll and Lori Den Hartog.

Dan Stahler / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr

Trappers killed 77 gray wolves in Montana during the 2014-2015 season that ended over the weekend.

That's down from the previous trapping season, when 87 wolves were killed.

To date, a total of 204 wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers this winter. Montana's rifle hunting season for the animals ends March 15.

Idaho hunters and trappers have killed 205 wolves, as of Feb. 25.

Dave Frazier, Adam Cotterell, Emilie Ritter Saunders

During the Vietnam War, few people had an experience quite like Boise resident Dave Frazier. He served as a public relations specialist for the Traffic Management Agency (TMA) of the Military Assistance Command, the military outfit in charge of moving supplies, equipment and people around Vietnam by land, sea and air. In his PR role, Frazier traveled throughout Vietnam taking pictures and writing stories about the work of the TMA while fighting was going on around the country.    

Frazier tells the story in his new memoir “Drafted! Vietnam at War and Peace.”

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Last month was the warmest February ever recorded in Boise.

The National Weather Service says the city broke records for average high temperatures, warmest average low temperatures and warmest average temperature. The region also received more rain than usual.

The average high temperature in Boise was 53.2 degrees. That broke a record set in 1992 by a half degree. The previous record for average lows was set in 1983. The previous record for warmest average temperature in a February was set in 1963.

Such records have been kept in Boise since 1940. 

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