2012 Legislature

Idaho Lawmakers Consider Animal Cruelty Bill

Mar 12, 2012
Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, ID – Idaho’s House of Representatives will soon vote on an animal cruelty bill.  House lawmakers in charge of agriculture backed legislation today that calls for penalties on people who torture pets.  The first two violations would be misdemeanors.  A third would be a felony.  Republican Representative Gayle Batt from Wilder has trouble with the bill.  She says, “Philosophically, I’m just really struggling with what to do with this legislation when we have abuse of children as misdemeanors and then we have for animals a felony.”  Child abuse can be considered a misdemeanor in Idaho i

BOISE, ID – Idaho Senator Nicole LeFavour says she won’t run for another term.  She represents Boise’s District 19 and is the only openly gay member of the Idaho Legislature.  The Democrat says Idaho is a tough place to be in the minority.  She points to last year’s legislative session when she campaigned against changes to public education and cuts to Medicaid.

Sen. Nonini
Idaho Legislature

BOISE, Id – The new federal health care law says states need a health insurance exchange.  Supporters of a state-run exchange say without one, the federal government will step in and Idaho will become part of a national exchange.  Now one state lawmaker is offering a solution.

Representative Bob Nonini doesn’t like the idea of a state-run health insurance exchange.

Bob Nonini “I’m gonna say no, not just no, but heck no.”

Molly Messick/StateImpact

Boise, ID – Idaho State Senator John McGee resigned Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment.

The accusations of sexual harassment come from a legislative staffer.  Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill met with the woman on Monday.

Brent Hill:  “I immediately reassigned the attaché to another position within the Senate.  In this situation, my first priority is to ensure the safe, secure and professional work environment of our Senate employees.”

Idaho State Senator John McGee, a Republican from Caldwell, has resigned from the Idaho legislature.

Senate Republican leaders say the abrupt resignation comes after a sexual harassment allegation was brought forward by a female legislative staffer earlier this week.  The woman involved is not a minor.

BOISE, ID – Idaho Senators want to make it illegal for people to drive and text at the same time. They approved a bill Tuesday that would do just that, although it would not apply to voice-operated or hands free devices.  Republican Senator Joyce Broadsword admitted that she’s driven and sent text messages at the same time:

The relevant tax rate for small business owners like Kevin Settles is the individual tax rate.  It stands to reason, then, that Settles would be happy to see that rate go down.  And that’s true.  He would be.  But he’s also done the math, and he says a small rate reduction simply wouldn’t mean that much to his business.  Consider a .2 percent drop in the individual tax rate, for example.  “If I were to pay has much as $100,000 a year in personal income tax,” Settles said, “which I don’t, it would be $200.  It’s not going to be enough money for me to really do anything with.”

BOISE, Id – The Obama Administration stirred up a firestorm this month, when it issued a requirement that most employers had to include birth control in employee health insurance.  Some Catholics, and some Republicans, objected, on the grounds of religious freedom.  The President offered an alternative, where insurance companies, not faith-based institutions, will have to offer, and pay for, contraception.  That compromise was not enough for one Idaho lawmaker.

Ron Paul Draws All-Ages Crowd

Feb 17, 2012
Scott Ki/BSPR

TWIN FALLS, ID – This week, three Republican Presidential hopefuls have been campaigning in Idaho ahead of Super Tuesday on March 6th.  Rick Santorum stopped in Coeur d’Alene and Boise on Tuesday.  He drew a family crowd.  Ron Paul’s rally in Twin Falls Thursday drew a different one.

Congressman Ron Paul brought a mix of ages to a Twin Falls high school auditorium.  Around 1300 people turned out ranging from young students to 89-year old Virginia Pratt.  She has a Ron Paul campaign poster on her front lawn.

BOISE, Id – The Idaho House has voted to evict Occupy Boise protesters from their encampment next to the Idaho Statehouse.  The group pitched their tents on state land last November.

Republican Scott Bedke supports the measure:

Scott Bedke “This bill closes a loophole, this is exactly the same language that is in the city of Boise ordinance and this bill will be applied uniformly into the future.”

House Minority Leader John Rusche disagreed saying it was a poke in the eye for protestors.

State employees may get a raise in the next fiscal year.  Budget lawmakers decided today to give all state workers, except teachers, a two-percent raise.  The Governor had wanted to give state employees a one-time bonus, if state revenue stayed strong.  Republican Senator Dean Mortimer argued in favor of a one-time bonus, not an on-going raise.

BOISE, Id – The Legislature’s budget committee set a spending target today which lawmakers will use as a guide when slicing up Idaho’s budget pie.  The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee had two options.  Budget from Governor Butch Otter’s recommendation of two point seven billion dollars, or go with a figure that was 33-million dollars lower.  Democrats, including Boise’s Nicole LeFavour, favored the Governor’s number.

Samantha Wright/BSPR

BOISE, Id – An Idaho lawmaker wants to form a new committee to oversee Idaho’s compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Republican Representative Janice McGeachin introduced the bill Thursday, calling it a Health Care Reform Oversight Committee.

Janice McGeachin “This is a committee that would provide oversight and make recommendations to the legislature as a whole on whether we wish to specifically authorize or prohibit the state’s compliance with or participation in federal health care reform.”

Idaho Legislature

BOISE, ID – Last week, lawmakers on the Senate State Affairs Committee soundly opposed a move to make it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Idaho. Lawmakers on the committee did not debate the legislation and they didn’t hold a public hearing.  Thursday, one Democrat tried to open up the debate one more time.


BOISE, ID – An Idaho legislative committee voted today to honor the lifetime achievements of Steve Appleton through a resolution. That’s a formal way to express an intention or idea. The Micron CEO died in a plane crash February 3rd.  Micron employee Mike Reynoldson told lawmakers at work, everyone called Appleton “Steve.”

Mike Reynoldson “He was kind of known as Superman to us because it seemed like he was always on top of things, he was always in control, he was always in charge.”

BOISE, Id – The Idaho Senate voted today to evict Occupy Boise from the Capital Mall.  That means the protest group is one step closer to being evicted from their campsite.

The bill would outlaw camping on state-owned property unless otherwise designated.  Occupy Boise members have been sleeping in tents next door to the Idaho Statehouse since November.  Speaking for the bill, Republican Senator Steve Vick said free speech is a constitutionally protected right, but camping is not.

BOISE, Id – An overflow crowd watched today as the Senate State Affairs Committee killed a bill that would have made it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Idaho.  The bill would have added the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.  Pocatello Senator Edgar Malepeai made an impassioned plea before the committee, in favor of the bill.

Evict Occupy Boise Bill Amended

Feb 8, 2012

BOISE, ID – Idaho Senators changed part of a bill today to get Occupy Boise off state lands.  The bill no longer treats personal property as litter if protestors are evicted.   Majority Leader Bart Davis added what’s known as an abandonment period:  “Providing for a 90-day time to reclaim your property.  And if it’s not within that 90-day time period it’s abandoned.”

Imagine graduating high school with two years of college already under your belt. That’s the intention of a bill passed Monday by Idaho’s House Education Committee. It’s called the eight in six program. Students could get eight years of education in six, and the state would pay for up to eight extra classes a year for students who participate. Most of those classes would be online. Bill sponsor Steven Thayn, a Republican from Emmet brought his daughter Carly to testify. Carly Thayn, a high school junior, told the committee she’s already taken several online classes to get ahead:

Scott Ki/BSPR

BOISE, Id – In a rare move, Idaho’s budget-writing committee heard public testimony today for only the third time in its history.  About sixty people testified.  Most were there to address last year’s Medicaid cuts and the need for a suicide hotline.

Many of those told personal stories of how the 35-million dollar cut to Idaho’s Medicaid Program has affected them.  With the loss of federal funding, the cuts actually totaled 108-million.