Butch Otter

AP

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has created a new health care panel for Idaho, and appointed the retiring head of the Health and Welfare Department to lead it.

It’s called the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, or HCAP, and Otter created it last week by executive order. The group’s main job will be to review new federal or state health care initiatives and report to the governor and the Idaho Legislature.

The panel will provide research and guidance on health care policies. Members will also fine-tune the state's strategy for health care policy.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a departmental review of how the greater sage grouse is protected. 

The sage grouse lives in 11 western states, and its habitat spans more than 40 million acres. The bird’s population has declined significantly in recent decades, as natural resource development expanded in some states.

In 2015, the Obama administration decided not to put the bird on the Endangered Species List, in exchange for a habitat-wide approach to preserving the animal. That plan restricts oil, gas and mining development in sage grouse country.

Brad Little, Politics
BradLittleForIdaho.com

If Lt. Gov. Brad Little wins his bid to be Idaho's next governor in 2018, he will be the only candidate to already have hands-on experience with the job.

The two-term Republican has served as acting governor 373 times since taking over the second-in-command position in 2009, according to records requested by The Associated Press.

Idaho Governor's Office

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced Wednesday he has picked a new head of the state’s Health and Welfare Department.

Otter is appointing Russ Barron to head the agency. Barron is deputy director and a longtime administrator at Health and Welfare.

AP Photo

Last week, Terry Branstad of Iowa stepped down, ending more than 22 years in the Governor’s chair. Yes, we said Iowa, not Idaho, but that means Idaho’s governor moved up on a short list of the longest-serving heads of states.

The website Smart Politics keeps track of just how long top leaders in each state have been in office. Branstad takes the top spot, with 8,169 days as Governor.

Otto Kitsinger / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed Payette County Commissioner Marc Shigeta and Idaho Department of Lands Director Tom Schultz to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Committee.

Otter announced Thursday that he is accepting applications for three other openings on the recently restructured commission until June 1.

A newly enacted law ensured the commission included the Department of Lands director, three governor-appointed experts and a county commissioner. The commission will officially begin its work on July 1.

Brad Little, Politics
BradLittleForIdaho.com

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he's endorsing Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little in Idaho's 2018 governor race.

Otter said Tuesday that while the gubernatorial race currently has a several capable candidates, he's always supported Little. Otter appointed Little to serve as his second-in-command in 2009.

 

Otter's announcement is the first high-profile endorsement of the 2018 gubernatorial race. It's roughly one year until the Republican primary election takes place.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

After months of speculation, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador walked into the Idaho Secretary of State's office Tuesday morning and signed the paperwork to start his run for governor.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on Wednesday asked the Idaho Supreme Court for permission to get involved in a lawsuit challenging how much time a governor has to veto legislation.

According to the petition, Otter's attorneys argue that the Republican governor should be allowed to intervene because it was Otter's veto that sparked the lawsuit and he wants to defend that decision in court. Currently, the lawsuit only names Secretary of State Lawerence Denney as a respondent.

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says residents facing possible springtime flooding aren't taking seriously what he calls a potential disaster.

Otter made a plea Wednesday for people to pay closer attention to the situation on the flooded Boise River.

“We’ve got to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen. We don’t need people to add to it by getting on the river or getting on the river banks,” said Otter.

Representative Bryan Zollinger / Facebook

Tuesday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill to repeal the six percent sales tax on groceries. Wednesday, two lawmakers said that veto was invalid and the repeal now becomes law.

GOP Representatives Ron Nate and Bryan Zollinger say Governor Butch Otter’s veto came too late to be valid.

 

Gregory Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter allowed a transportation funding bill to become law Tuesday, despite concerns over how the plan came to be.

The $320 million transportation plan takes about $15 million out of the general fund through sales tax – which is used to pay for things like public schools. Governor Otter is not happy with this funding formula, but with bridges and roads falling apart across the state he allowed the bill to become law – without his signature.

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.

 

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