Idaho Legislature

Kellie Parker / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week, Latah County officials voted to update their employee handbook to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The rule only applies to LGBT people who work for the county, and not the entire population.

“At this point it’s not on our agenda to take that up, although it could be," says Latah County Commissioner Tom Lamar. "It could be talked about more.”

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe says Idaho’s governor didn’t act fast enough in April when he vetoed a gambling bill the tribe supported and have asked the state Supreme Court to invalidate the veto.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to order the state to enforce legislation banning instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe filed the petition with the state's highest court on Wednesday, contending that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto of the legislation was invalid because the governor didn't complete the veto within the required five-day time span.

Idaho Statesman

Former state Rep. Kitty Gurnsey who served in the Idaho Statehouse for more than 20 years has died.

The Spokesman-Review reports that 87-year-old Gurnsey passed away Sunday.

The Republican from Boise was first elected to the Idaho House in 1974. At the time, she was just one of nine women lawmakers serving in the Idaho Legislature. Gurnsey went on to co-chair the powerful Joint Finance Appropriations budget committee for 16 years.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

An Idaho woman who faced criminal charges for having an abortion won a victory at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday.

The federal court found several Idaho restrictions on abortion to be unconstitutional.

State of Idaho

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed state Sen. Dean Cameron of Rupert to oversee the Idaho Department of Insurance.

Otter announced Friday that the 13-term Republican lawmaker will be the new director effective June 15.

Cameron is co-chair of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful legislative committees in the Idaho Statehouse. He also owns an insurance and securities investment company in Rupert.

The insurance position has been open since former Director Bill Deal left at the end of 2014.

kevinkarnsfamily / Flickr

A drug, alcohol and mental illness treatment center for residents in north-central Idaho could open as early as this summer.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Latah County commissioners have challenged a group of community members to open the recovery center as soon as possible after state funding is approved in July.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A special session of the Idaho Legislature has passed a bill that brings the state into compliance with federal rules governing child-support payments.

Similar legislation was rejected last month, jeopardizing U.S. involvement in an international treaty that aims to make it easier for parents worldwide to collect child-support payments.

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called lawmakers back to Boise recently after nine Republican House members killed a compliance bill, jeopardizing the treaty and state access to federal funds and programs.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Dozens of countries, including the U.S., have agreed on how to handle child support payments when one parent is in a different country. But the state of Idaho is holding out.

Now the issue is forcing Idaho lawmakers to return to the Capitol. They’re expected to reconsider a measure on interstate and international child support cases.

The federal government says if Idaho doesn’t adopt the rules as other states have, it could lose access to key databases.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. has spent years leading negotiations toward an international treaty that would make it easier for single parents worldwide to collect child-support payments.

But families across the country could be stuck with the cumbersome existing system after legislators in a single state rejected the deal because, they said, it could allow Islamic law to influence American courts.

Idaho Capitol, statehouse
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho taxpayers footed a bill of nearly $250,000 to cover expenses for lawmakers traveling to and from Boise during the 2015 legislative session.

Taxpayers paid an additional $50,000 for lawmakers to travel outside the state over the past fiscal year.

The Associated Press obtained the information through a public records request for travel reimbursements for the past year for all 105 state lawmakers in the House and Senate.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Said Ahmed-Zaid is an engineering professor at Boise State University. He's lived in Boise for 18 years, and is also a spokesperson for the city's Islamic Center. He's held that position since 9/11, representing his minority religion's members in a majority Christian state.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter Wednesday called for a special legislative session to reconsider a child support bill killed by a handful of conservative lawmakers.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is calling lawmakers back to Boise for a special session May 18 to address a failed child support bill rejected during the 2015 legislative session.

A House panel killed the bill the last day of the session over concerns it could require the state to enforce rulings made in other countries under Islamic law.

The governor said Wednesday he's met with legislative leadership to find a solution that lawmakers in both chambers will approve.

Idaho's Oldest Lawmaker Dies At 92

Apr 28, 2015
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports former Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, passed away Monday in hospice care. He was 92-years-old.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In the last 35 years, Idaho has only had six special legislative sessions. And it's been almost a decade  since the last one.

Idaho's next special session could be just around the corner because the state is out of compliance with changes to federal child support programs. 

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has vetoed a bill that would have required Idaho sign language interpreters to get a state license.

The plan aimed to stop unqualified interpreters from causing miscommunications in important situations, like emergency rooms or legal proceedings.

But Otter said Wednesday that the plan would have created a strain on already limited resources. Otter added that he will work with stakeholders to make a policy for certified interpreters in the future.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little had supported the bill, voting yes to break a 17-17 tie in the Senate.

Some of Idaho's conservative Republicans have raised concerns this year about local Muslim populations and the potential influence of Sharia law in the state.

Those fears prompted local GOP events and a special lawmaker luncheon, while culminating in the decision by some lawmakers to kill a child support enforcement bill. That threatened the state's ability to enforce more than 150,000 child support payments.

Historians say this isn't the first time Idaho's government has focused concern on a specific religious group.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Republican Congressman Raul Labrador involved himself in the fallout of failed Idaho legislation that would have brought the state into compliance with federal child support rules and an international treaty.

Labrador says he doesn't have a position on the issue. However, the tea party-favorite told The Associated Press that he reviewed an April 12 editorial sent out by a key lawmaker after the vote.

Idaho State Police

State police will build a new headquarters in southeast Idaho sometime next year.

The Idaho State Journal reports that the state legislature authorized $5.4 million to construct a new 24,000-square-foot facility in Pocatello.

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