Butch Otter

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.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will have surgery next week to have his left hip resurfaced — a procedure he underwent on his right hip several years ago.

Otter made the announcement Thursday, telling reporters he would have the surgery on Tuesday and then work the next two or three weeks from home while he recovers.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little will serve as acting governor on Tuesday, while Otter is incapacitated.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus say current Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is turning the state into nuclear waste repository.

The former governors at a Thursday news conference blasted Otter's recently revealed deal with the U.S. Department of Energy to allow 50 spent nuclear fuel rods into the Idaho National Laboratory for research.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Idaho's Constitutional Defense Fund committee has approved the latest round of legal bills in Idaho's court fight over gay marriage.

The panel — made up of the governor, attorney general, House Speaker and President Pro Tem — unanimously voted to pay roughly $401,000 to the winning side's attorney fees and printing costs. Members then voted 3-1 to pay $55,000 for outside counsel to appeal Idaho's gay marriage case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" says he'll grant a one-time waiver to the U.S. Department of Energy to bring nuclear waste for research into the state if certain conditions are met.

The Post Register reports in a story on Wednesday that Otter in a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says spent fuel rods can enter if the federal agency commits to resolving noncompliance issues from a 1995 agreement.

Idaho Democrats predict more common ground than usual at the state Capitol this year. That’s because Idaho’s minority party leaders say many of the Republican proposals on the table are things Democrats have been pushing -- for years.

Democrats make up only 20 percent of Idaho’s Legislature. House Minority Leader John Rusche says they’re used to their bills not even being printed.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is calling for a moment of silence to remember three Moscow victims killed in a north-central Idaho shooting.

Otter on Tuesday called for the moment of silence at 1 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine-year-old John Lee is in custody in Whitman County, Washington.

Authorities say Lee shot and killed three Moscow residents and wounded another man before leading police on a chase that ended in Whitman County.

Laura Flowers

Idaho's governor vowed in his State of the State address Monday to continue the legal fight against gay marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Idaho since October after a federal appeals court threw out the state’s voter-passed ban.

But Gov. Butch Otter said in his annual address he has a responsibility to defend Idaho's constitution.

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