Idaho Legislature

Thomas M. Parsons / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials aren't ruling out that new state parks could be named after private companies that give large donations or sponsorships, but a recently proposed set of rules would severely limit business' ability to acquire naming rights.

Earlier this year, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed legislation permitting the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to pursue sponsorships with corporations to help offset slashed state revenue. Now department officials are finalizing sponsorship rules, which will need approval from the department board and Idaho Legislature.

Screenshot / Idaho Public Television

It’s a multi-million dollar question that now stands before the Idaho Supreme Court: Should a ban on instant horse racing become law? This question was argued before the justices Tuesday.

The case is about instant horse racing machines, which some, like the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, argue are too close to illegal slot machines.

Idaho Democratic Party

Leaders of Idaho’s Democratic Party picked their next chairman Saturday. Bert Marley of McCammon replaces Larry Kenck, who resigned earlier this year for health reasons.

Marley, 67, is a former teacher and state lawmaker. He lost the lieutenant governor’s race last fall by 30 percentage points.  Democrats, in fact, lost all five statewide races. 

Marley spoke to KBSX’s Scott Graf Wednesday.  

Q: Considering the party’s recent struggles, what interested you in this job?

Idaho Democratic Party

Idaho’s Democratic Party elected a new party chairman over the weekend. Former state senator Bert Marley of McCammon will lead the minority party, after former chairman Larry Kenck stepped down, citing health reasons.

Marley says he’s excited and honored to serve his party. He beat one other candidate - party spokesperson Dean Ferguson - in an election held by party leaders Saturday.

Former Idaho House Speaker Tom Boyd has died.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Republican lawmaker who served eight terms in the Idaho Legislature from 1977 to 1992 died Monday at a nursing home in Moscow. He was 86.

Boyd represented Latah County for 16 years, the last six as speaker.

Lawmakers described him as a "peacemaker" and "consensus builder."

Boyd farmed wheat and peas in the Genesee area and served on local boards before running for state office.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has decided it won't use an option made available by lawmakers earlier this year intended to speed the commission's natural gas and oil decision making process.

The commissioners with the 3-0 vote on Wednesday chose not to use the option given to them by lawmakers earlier this year that allowed the commission to exempt itself from the contested case provision in Idaho law.

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.

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