Butch Otter

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has vetoed a bill that would have legalized a marijuana extract for patients with severe forms of epilepsy.

In his veto letter, Otter said his administration has strongly opposed the legislation because "there were too many questions and problems and too few answers and solutions in this bill to let it become law."

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Thursday he is not yet prepared to call a special legislative session to address child support.

Just before the 2015 legislative session ended last weekend, members of a House committee killed a bill to bring Idaho in compliance with changes to federal child support programs.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers Monday passed a bill to allow parents to treat epileptic children with an oil extracted from cannabis. Idaho’s House approved the bill 39-30 after more than an hour of intense debate.

Opponents, such as Rep. Luke Malek, R- Coeur d’Alene, argued the bill legalizes marijuana because the oil has small amounts of the chemical that makes pot users high.

“This bill changes the approach Idaho has taken to drug policy and does so based on anecdote not scientific evidence,” Malek said.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed legislation that will ban Idaho women from receiving abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine.

The new law signed on Monday requires a doctor to be physically present when giving pregnancy-ending pills. But telemedicine is not even currently available in the state.

The law also requires doctors to make efforts to schedule a follow-up visit with the woman after administering the drugs.

aposematic herpetologist / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho giant salamander is now officially Idaho's state amphibian.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the legislation on Thursday.

Fourteen-year-old Ilah Hickman has been lobbying state lawmakers to pass the bill for five years. Her dreams were briefly crushed earlier this year when lawmakers killed the bill in committee. However, lawmakers later revived the bill and sent it to the governor's desk.

Otter gave Hickman a copy of the bill and his pen before letting her sit behind the governor's desk.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The nearly $125 million plan to boost teacher pay in Idaho over the next five years won the governor's stamp of approval.

Under the new law, which Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed Thursday, rookie teacher pay would steadily increase to $37,000 a year by 2020.

Over time, more experienced teachers will be able to qualify for higher pay of roughly $42,000 to $50,000 a year.

Otter says passing the plan that had support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and all major stakeholders defined the 2015 legislative session as historic.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to help school districts crack down on bullying in Idaho's public schools is on its way to the governor's desk.

The Idaho Senate passed the bill 24-10 on Monday.

The bill would require local school district leaders to go through anti-bullying training and create a way for bullying to be reported.

Democratic Sen. Jane Ward-Engelking from Boise, who sponsored the bill, says that bullying can lead to depression and anxiety among students, as well as problems keeping up with classwork.

Rookie teachers in Idaho will receive pay raises starting July 1 under a $125 million proposal headed to the governor's desk for his signature.

The Idaho Senate unanimously approved the measure Thursday, where senators offered only praise that the 30-page bill had survived both chambers after seeing prior proposals flounder this legislative session.

Steve Sawyer / Flickr

A bill that would ban Idaho's slot-like instant horse racing machines has passed the House and is on its way to the governor's desk.

After two hours of discussion in the chamber, the House voted 49-21 Thursday to repeal a law the Legislature passed in 2013 allowing the lucrative betting terminals, which closely resemble slot machines.

Some lawmakers say that they were tricked into approving instant horse racing — that is, betting on an earlier horse race but with no identifiable information.

Kaje / Flickr

The Idaho House has passed a plan requiring school board candidates in roughly half of Idaho's school districts to file campaign finance reports.

The House voted 50-19 on Tuesday to require candidates in districts with at least 500 students to file the same campaign disclosure reports as other elected officials.

Republican Rep. Patrick McDonald from Boise says that companies or citizens may try to influence elections for local school boards, which often control multi-million dollar budgets.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has announced that Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna will resign following the end of the legislative session.

In a statement released Tuesday, Otter said an interim director will be appointed.

The governor did not state the reason for Luna's resignation.

Curtesy City of Boise

Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan is now a state senator. Jordan was appointed to the body by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter after Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, resigned to join the Idaho Tax Commission.

Jordan will fill the District 17 seat. 

“I believe Maryanne has proven herself to be a dedicated public servant with a long track record of notable achievement and civic leadership,” said Gov. Otter in a press release. “I have every confidence that she will continue that laudable legacy as the newest member of the Idaho Legislature.”

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.

A proposal that would approve $3.6 million in emergency funding for Idaho's faltering broadband program is headed to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk for his signature.

The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/1JDJkrh) reports that the Idaho Senate unanimously voted Monday to approve the stopgap proposal. The legislation would require school districts to negotiate their own broadband contracts for the rest of this school year.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

During a two-day visit to Idaho, U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James met with Idaho's congressional and state leadership about the future of the A-10 fighter jet.

The aircraft – which has supported combat ground missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the 1970s – is the sole mission of the Idaho Air National Guard at Boise's Gowen Field. The Air Force has slated the A-10 to be replaced by the F-35, a more multi-purpose military plane that will cut costs.

Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington

The Idaho Department of Lands has proposed conservation practices to protect sage grouse from mining as well as oil and gas development. According to a department press release, the draft plan works with Gov. Butch Otter's outline for sage grouse protection.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The legal team that successfully fought to overturn Idaho's ban on gay marriage has filed paperwork seeking an additional $300,000 in court costs.

Boise attorney and lead counsel Deborah Ferguson filed the three-page motion Thursday in federal court to cover legal expenses since late May.

A federal judge late last year awarded Ferguson and her team $400,000 for work through May.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is resting after a total hip replacement surgery. Otter was expected to have his hip resurfaced.

Otter's spokesman Jon Hanian says surgeons discovered the 72-year-old governor's hip had deteriorated too much, and needed to be replaced.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

An annual accounting of Idaho government payroll shows the state last year paid $1.47 billion in salaries, taxes, healthcare and insurance costs.

The annual report from the Idaho Controller’s Office shows more than a third of the state’s 25,033 workers are earning less than $40,000 each year. About 10 percent earn more than $70,000.

Office of Lieutenant Governor Brad Little

Tuesday, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is having surgery to get his left hip resurfaced. From the time Otter goes into the hospital to when he comes out from his anesthesia, Lt. Gov. Brad Little will be Idaho's acting governor.

It's something Little is pretty accustomed to; it happens on a regular basis. Any time the sitting governor is out of the state or incapacitated, the lieutenant governor steps in as the top official, even if it's just for an hour or two.

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