Idaho Legislature

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho Supreme Court ruling has the state's top legislative leaders scrambling to prepare for how to close out the 2018 session months before it kicks off in January.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Current limits on campaign contributions in Idaho are staying put. The legislature's Campaign Finance and Ethics Reform Work Group unanimously agreed to keep caps on political donations.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

The start of the 2018 legislative session is still months away, but state lawmakers are already prepping bills for next year. Monday morning at the capitol, legislators and officials gave a presentation about a measure that would strengthen the rights of crime victims in Idaho.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Entrance Steps Bell
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis stepped down from the Idaho Legislature Thursday to take on a new role with the federal government.

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

A new pilot project will let people from around the state testify at public legislative hearings without having to come all the way to Boise.

Rebecca Boone / AP Photo

The Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case that could decide the future of a 6 percent sales tax on groceries.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year removing the tax. They adjourned and went home. Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill, 11 days after adjournment. And that’s where the controversy started.

Some GOP lawmakers filed suit, arguing the Idaho Constitution says a governor has ten days to veto a bill after adjournment. But in 1978, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the governor has ten days, starting when he gets the bill.

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.

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.

AP

A key legislative leader is promising to reintroduce a proposal amending Idaho's constitution to expand the rights of crime victims and their families.

Senate Majority Caucus Chair Todd Lakey said Thursday he will bring back his proposal during the 2018 legislative session after his first version was spiked by a House committee earlier this year.

J Pat Carter / AP Images

Tuesday, April 18 is tax day. In Idaho, residents will file both state and federal income taxes. The Gem State has had this kind of tax since 1931.

But if you were hoping for some income tax relief on the state level you’ll have to wait at least another year.

capitol, JFAC
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On Monday, the Idaho Legislature fielded a flurry of bills from committees. That’s by design.

The 36th calendar day of each legislative session is the last day that personal bills can be introduced in most committees. That was Monday, which resulted in a glut of bills popping up in committees.

Boise State University Political Science professor Gary Moncrief says after the deadline, it gets harder to get bills into the Legislature.

Gary Moncrief

It’s a new year for Republicans who now control government at the national level. And also for the 2017 Idaho Legislature, which leans even more toward the GOP after losing four Democratic seats in the fall elections. That means change in Washington D.C. and in the Gem State.

Today, we bring you our first 2017 Weekly Legislative Update. We’ll be taking a close look at what happens in the Idaho Statehouse, both in the public eye and behind the scenes.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Legislative auditors say the Idaho Racing Commission failed to give $72,000 to public schools in 2015, but did give $286,000 to horse breeder associations that year.  

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Treasurer Crane
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho treasurer's office didn't make public for about three and a half months information about a Securities and Exchange Commission violation involving a state agency.

The Spokesman-Review reports in a story on Tuesday that the state Credit Rating Enhancement Committee's annual report in July detailed the SEC action involving self-reported violations by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

Tom Kelly/Flickr

A small group of Idaho lawmakers say the Republican-dominated Legislature must find a way to provide health care to the state's low-income uninsured population in 2017.

However, the legislative panel fell short from backing a specific proposal during its final meeting on Tuesday. Instead, lawmakers agreed on broad recommendations, such as urging a sunset provision if the Idaho Legislature does consider Medicaid expansion and promoting using general funds to help cover any new program costs.

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