Butch Otter

Interfaith Equality Coalition / Facebook

Nearly 30 Idaho clergy and faith representatives filled Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office on Wednesday urging the Republican to welcome all refugees and not just give preference to persecuted Christians.

Otter recently announced that Christian refugees should be treated as a priority in the U.S. refugee program and then acknowledged his stance was discriminatory. Otter has since backed away from that claim, but his remarks have sparked alarm among the state's faith leaders.

sage grouse, in flight, birds
Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Gov. "C.L" Butch Otter says he plans to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the Interior Department in 2015. The dismissed lawsuit alleges the department violated federal environmental rules when it withdrew almost four million acres of land in Idaho for conservation of the greater sage grouse.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he chose the wrong word in his recent remarks acknowledging his preference that Christian refugees should be treated as a priority.

Otter, speaking at an Idaho Press Club event Tuesday, said he believes in religious preference, not religious discrimination. When pressed on the difference between the two, Otter said the United States has an obligation to protect groups being targeted for discrimination.

 

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said Monday during his State of the State address that education is his top priority for his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

His speech focused on education, tax relief and Idaho’s economy.

“Our finances are secure. Revenue is exceeding expectations. Economic growth is outpacing the overall growth of government and our own operations are more transparent and efficient than ever,” says Otter.

He is also proposing some tax relief.

AP Photo / Otto Kitsinger

Idaho Governor Butch Otter told lawmakers Monday that education is his top priority for the next budget year.

During his 11th State of the State address, he proposed more money for K-12 teacher salaries and the higher education building fund. And he wants tax cuts for businesses.

But there were a few things that he didn’t have a solution for, including a transportation maintenance shortfall, and the 78,000 Idahoans who don’t have health insurance because they make too much money to get on Medicaid.

AP

Update, 1:08 p.m.:

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's top priority for Idaho lawmakers is to focus on education in 2017.

Otter announced his short wish list during his annual State of the State address Monday afternoon.

The Republican governor proposed a 4.6 percent increase — roughly a $189 million funding bump — to the state's overall budget. More than 60 percent of that would go toward education, including more funding for teacher salaries and higher education facilities.

Sally Jewell, sage grouse
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter against the Obama administration.

In September 2015, Otter’s office filed suit against the Interior Department, arguing the federal agency illegally imposed land-use restrictions to protect the imperiled sage grouse. Now – a year and a half later – U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the lawsuit.

sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

A judge has rejected Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's lawsuit contending the Obama administration acted illegally by imposing federal land-use restrictions intended to protect the sage grouse in Idaho and southwestern Montana.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in dismissing the lawsuit Thursday didn't rule on the merits of the claims but said Otter lacked standing because the state didn't prove it had been injured.

Because Otter lacked standing, the court says it doesn't have jurisdiction and dismissed the lawsuit.

AP

Idaho will continue to pay its governor a housing stipend because it still has no governor's mansion.

The Spokesman-Review reports Idaho is one of only six states without a mansion for its executive. A state committee decided Monday to continue paying a $4,500 monthly stipend to Gov. Butch Otter in lieu of housing.

Business leaders who traveled with Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on his recent trade mission to China say the trip was a success.

KIVI-TV reports that business leaders say they will likely see a lasting impact as a result of the trade meetings.

Otter and representatives of the state's milk, potato, wheat and hay industries visited Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou between Oct. 28 and Nov. 5 to promote trade between the cities.

vote, election
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Northwest Nazarene University Political Scientist Steve Shaw is among those captivated by the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But he thinks their campaign will have little, if any, effect on races for Senate, the U.S. House, the state Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment in Idaho.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Update 2:55 p.m.: Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador issued a statement Tuesday less than two hours after the one made by Gov. Otter (found below). Here's Labrador's statement:  

AP Photo

As students head back to classrooms across the state this week and next, Governor Butch Otter continues to push his five-year education plan. 

Idaho Ed News

Accusing the White House of “an incredible overreach,” Gov. Butch Otter’s staff attorney has urged a federal court to put the brakes on guidelines designed to protect transgender students’ rights.

But in a 34-page legal brief, filed Friday, Otter attorney Cally Younger appears to greatly misstate the potential fiscal impact of the federal policies.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Think of it as calling dibs.

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little announced last week he's running for governor almost two-and-a-half years before the 2018 election. With incumbent Butch Otter likely not running again, the field for the GOP nomination might be crowded.

Long-time Idaho political analyst Jim Weatherby says by becoming the first candidate in the race, Little may be sending a message to Republicans who respect the party hierarchy that he is the heir-apparent.

Brad Little, Politics
BradLittleForIdaho.com

Lt. Gov. Brad Little says he is planning on running for governor.

Little tells the Idaho Statesman that he will file paperwork creating his gubernatorial campaign on Wednesday.

The Republican rancher — who has served as Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's lieutenant since 2009 — is the first official candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Otter has previously stated that he has no plans to run for re-election.

Texas is filing a lawsuit over the Obama administration’s transgender student guidelines.

Ten other states are supporting the lawsuit, Reuters reported Wednesday. Idaho was not on that initial list, but will support the Texas lawsuit.

“We still plan to participate and are working on an amicus brief in support of the states listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit,” Mark Warbis, a spokesman for Gov. Butch Otter, said Wednesday afternoon.

Idaho Education News

Gov. Butch Otter issued his first vetoes of the year Tuesday afternoon, killing the closely watched Bible-in-schools bill.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho governor Butch Otter stood in front of reporters Monday and called the legislative session that ended Friday “pretty good.” Later in the press conference with legislative leaders he said lawmakers did a “tremendous job.” Lieutenant Governor Brad Little called it a “great session.” And Speaker of the House Scott Bedke recited a list of people he thought should be happy with it including teachers, students, firefighters and state employees.

Idaho's public schools are on track to receive a 7.4 percent budget increase under a plan from the Legislature's budget-setting committee.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a 6.8 percent boost — about $100.3 million — for public schools on Monday morning. But some components of the K-12 budget plan are still working their way through the House and Senate, and committee members said they expect those bills will bring the total public education budget to a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

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