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IdahoPower.com

As part of a push to relicense the Hells Canyon hydroelectric facilities, Idaho Power is seeking an expenditure review by the state’s Public Utilities Commission

If the commission agrees to review the $221 million spent by Idaho Power and grants a prudency determination, the electric company could recoup that money from ratepayers.

Richard Carter / Flickr Creative Commons

While Idaho residents are lamenting heavy snowpack and icy roads, wildlife in the state have been struggling in the backcountry.

Idaho Fish and Game officials told the Post Register that the tough winter will likely mean higher mortality rates for elk and deer that are coping with heavily crusted snowpack.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management has given the green light to the final federal land section of the Gateway West Transmission Line.

It’s called a Record of Decision, or ROD, and wraps up the federal permission process for the 990-mile power line from Glenrock, Wyoming to Melba, Idaho. The two companies building the line, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power, started working with the BLM on the project in 2007.

Washington Post screenshot / YouTube

President Donald Trump's scathing criticism of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will prevent the soldier from getting a fair trial on charges he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, Bergdahl's attorneys said Friday.

In a motion filed shortly after Trump was sworn in, defense lawyers asked a military judge to dismiss the charges against Bergdahl and argued the Republican's comments have violated his due process rights and amount to unlawful command influence.

Laura Gilmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Several Boise State students will compete in an international contest, with the chance to win $1 million. The student teams were chosen out of more than 50,000, and their projects seek to help refugees.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

Donald Trump has been sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Follow NPR's full online coverage with this live blog.

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

As the Idaho Legislature wraps up its second week, lawmakers have introduced around 30 bills so far.

Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says that’s a little below normal, but we’ll see a lot more bills next week.

Right now, lawmakers are looking at a change to the Primary Election system in Idaho. They also want to make sure liquor licenses get used for selling booze instead of as investments. And Democrats had a suggestion for getting more teachers into rural schools.

White House

There are only a few hours left in Barack Obama’s presidency and chances are dimming that he’ll move on two issues with ties to Idaho.

There has been speculation over the last few months of Obama’s presidency that he might create a National Monument across Idaho’s border in eastern Oregon.

Idaho Ed News

Idaho’s average teacher salary has increased by slightly more than 5 percent since 2015, when the state adopted a five-year plan to boost pay.

Like many averages, this number tells only part of the story.

In 26 districts and charters across Idaho, average salaries increased by more than 10 percent. In 19 districts and charters, the average actually decreased — which happens when experienced teachers retire or resign, and entry-level teachers take their place.

Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released new floodplain maps. Those revisions could impact some Treasure Valley residents.

The new maps cover parts of Ada and Canyon Counties.

The floodplain is an area that has a one percent chance of being inundated each year. The new maps chart areas facing the risk of being overrun with water along the Boise River, Nine Mile Creek and Willow Creek among others.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Demonstrations are expected both in Washington, D.C. and across the country as Donald Trump assumes the presidency. One of the biggest will be the Women's March on Washington set for Saturday. The movement has generated so-called sister marches across the nation, including here in the Gem State.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke removed Republican Rep. Heather Scott from her three legislative committee assignments last week, causing a stir in the statehouse. Bedke made the announcement after Scott commented to another female lawmaker that women only move up in the capitol by trading sexual favors.

John Miller / AP Photo

Two federal agencies have approved a 2.4-mile-long open pit phosphate mine proposed by a Canadian company in southeastern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service late last week issued separate decisions approving the plan by Calgary-based Agrium Inc.

The BLM manages the area where the mining will occur, while the Forest Service manages land that will receive waste materials.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Interior Department was questioned by a senate committee Tuesday. Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke was pushed on several hot button land use issues -- issues he’s well acquainted with as a Montana congressman.

 

When it comes to questions about how he would manage the relationship between states and federal land managers, the greater sage grouse inevitably came up. The imperiled bird narrowly avoided landing on the Endangered Species List, but the debate over how to save the bird remains contentious.  

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s been a tumultuous first two weeks in the Idaho Legislature. It started last week when Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke removed Republican Representative Heather Scott from her committee assignments for comments she made about her colleagues.

The move came after Scott was accused of telling another lawmaker that women in the House trade sexual favors with leadership to secure committee chairmanships. That’s when Representative Christy Perry of Nampa wrote a letter to the Speaker saying Scott displayed aggressive and anti-social behavior during meetings.

AP

Visits to U.S. national parks set a record in 2016 for the third consecutive year as landmarks such Zion, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain experienced historic levels of popularity that brought collateral headaches stemming from overcrowded roads and trails and increasing visitor misbehavior.

At many parks, visitors waited an hour or more in cars to get through entrance gates and then spent the day trying to outmaneuver fellow visitors for parking spots and room on popular trails. They left behind enormous amounts of trash and sometimes, human waste.

Courtesy Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and backers of a proposed for-profit osteopathic medical school have been touting the 78 new medical residency positions the proposed school claims to have created.

But an Associated Press review shows those residency spots don't yet exist, and the accreditation board responsible for approving them has denied the first step in the process of creating them. A separate accreditation board has also deferred a decision on whether to grant the proposed Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine pre-accreditation status.

AP

A change in U.S. House rules making it easier to transfer millions of acres of federal public lands to states is worrying hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts across the West who fear losing access.

Lawmakers earlier this month passed a rule eliminating a significant budget hurdle and written so broadly that it includes national parks.

President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Interior secretary, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, voted for the rule change as did many other Republicans. The Senate would have to weigh in on public land transfers as well.

Rick Bowmer / AP

Leaders of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon were driving to a public meeting a year ago when police shot and killed one of them at a roadblock.

Now, LaVoy Finicum's widow and their children are planning to hold that meeting later this month in the same town, John Day. Speakers are slated to talk about the Constitution, property rights and other issues.

Kate Haake / AP Images

On Friday, Boise State University released a survey that examined the attitudes of Idahoans on key policy issues. The second-annual survey included views from 1,000 Idahoans.

 

Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn directed the research team for the survey. Vaughn says they were careful to poll people from different parts of the state, evenly polling both cell and landline phone users.

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