Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador say they are withholding judgment on a series of gun proposals issued by President Obama — at least for now.

The Idaho Republicans say they want to take some time to review the proposals, including 23 separate executive orders issued Wednesday.

Simpson says he doesn't see any momentum building in Congress for more gun control measures. And Labrador says he will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment and make sure Obama's proposals don't infringe on the right to bear arms.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Zoo Boise has raised nearly $220,000 to build a new exhibit for its patas monkeys in just five weeks after the City of Boise contributed $100,000 from its Parks and Recreation Department budget.

The Friends of Zoo Boise raised the remaining $119,000 from private donors.

Construction is expected to start this spring on a new 1,000-square-foot patas monkey exhibit to replace the previous primate exhibit, which was built in 1967. Officials hope to have the new building finished by fall.

Federal prosecutors are suing the Jerome County Sheriff's Office over allegations the law enforcement agency intentionally refused to rehire a member of the Idaho Army National Guard.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson filed the lawsuit in federal court Monday on behalf of Mervin Jones.

The lawsuit accuses sheriff department administrators of terminating Jones while he was recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2004 while serving in Iraq and re-injuring in 2008 during weekend training exercises.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is taking a wait-and-see approach on the impact to the state of federal funding cuts in the wake of any fiscal cliff deal.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has asked the State Board of Education to shepherd a statewide discussion about improving education for students.

Otter said Thursday a broadly representative group of Idahoans yet to be selected will study options that could lead to changes without lawmakers creating new laws.

But he says if the group determines legislation is necessary, lawmakers could take up the ideas in 2014.

A divided Idaho Supreme Court has sided with the utility PacifiCorp in a tax fight the state has said could shift millions in assessments to others.

www.elkmtnranch.com

A state committee will move forward with inspecting two Salmon schools to determine whether a state fund can be tapped to repair or rebuild the schools. 

Salmon School District 291 is looking for new revenue after local voters have rejected seven separate bond levies since 2005.

The battle over the future of public education and ballot box rejection of the 2011 education laws has been chosen as the top story in Idaho for 2012 by The Associated Press.

It's the second straight year public debate over the future of schools has dominated state headlines.

The highlight of 2012 came in November when voters rejected laws limiting collective bargaining, a teacher merit pay plan and giving high school students laptop computers.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a plan by St. Luke's Health System to buy Saltzer Medical Group can move forward for now.

The Idaho Statesman reports that U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Thursday denied a request for a preliminary injunction by Saint Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital.

The two entities filed a federal lawsuit in November seeking to halt the deal, contending it would allow St. Luke's to dominate the market in Nampa and block referrals to St. Alphonsus.

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's chief of staff is exiting the Idaho Republican's office.

John D. Goodwin, Jr., has worked for Labrador in Washington, D.C., for two years, but Thursday was his last day on the job.

Labrador's office didn't immediately say why Goodwin was leaving.

Goodwin had worked as a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and worked for Republican representatives from Illinois and Connecticut.

He'd also worked for groups including the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. government officials are rolling out a Native American land buyback program as part of a $3.4 billion settlement over mismanaged royalties.

The 10-year, $1.9 billion program is meant to purchase individual allotments from willing Indians and turn over the consolidated parcels to tribes.

Program manager John McClanahan said Tuesday it could be up to a year before the first land sales are completed.

The Idaho Supreme Court is considering whether Native America[n] retailers that sell cigarettes to other Native American retailers must obtain Idaho state tax stamps.

University of Idaho Photo Services

The University of Idaho has announced that Paul Petrino will be its new head football coach.

The university said Monday that Petrino has produced some of the most prolific offenses in the nation as an assistant coach at several other schools.

Petrino replaces interim coach Jason Gesser, who guided the Vandals during the final four games after Robb Akey was fired.

Petrino spoke Monday of recruiting young men of good character for the Vandals. “We're going to make sure that we go out and get the very best character we can,” he explained.

Stack of Books
Albertogp123 / Flickr

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho just finished a bruising debate over reforming public education, with voters rejecting public schools chief Tom Luna's overhaul.

Come 2013, the Legislature is likely to discuss an education policy change not in that package but potentially as contentious: whether Idaho should offer tax credits to those who donate to scholarship programs meant to help students attend private or parochial schools.

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