Idaho Legislature

State of Idaho

A pilot project that could change the way Idahoans get treated during a mental health crisis has opened its doors in eastern Idaho. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Idaho Falls Monday morning.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A group of Idaho lawmakers tapped to look at ways to improve the state's criminal justice system will meet this week to talk about when their legislative efforts will go into effect.

The Criminal Justice Reinvestment Interim Committee will meet Wednesday at the Idaho Statehouse. They'll hear from staffers with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and they'll discuss when the criminal justice legislation they passed last year will go into effect.

Idaho Legislature

A Republican lawmaker from northern Idaho who was 26 votes short of keeping her seat gained only one vote on her Democratic opponent in a recount.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that state Rep. Thyra Stevenson had requested the recount because Nez Perce County experienced technical problems tabulating ballots on election night.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's legislative races are not very competitive, at least that's the opinion of Gary Moncrief, professor emeritus at Boise State University, who studies state legislatures.

While all 105 seats in the Legislature are up for grabs this year, Moncrief sees only five districts where the races could be close.

“In Idaho, usually somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the seats are not contested,” says Moncrief.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's bill for outside legal work to find a way take over federal public lands is up to about $61,000.

Documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review in a story on Tuesday show Holland & Hart charged about $20,000 for work from April to August.

That's on top of about $41,000 the state previously paid.

Holland & Hart lawyer Bill Myers charges the state $420 an hour.

joanne johnson / Flickr Creative Commons

Those who follow education and politics in Idaho will probably be hearing the phrase ‘tiered licensure’ a lot in the next few months. The idea is to create different levels of teaching licenses.  Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin has been following the issue closely. Corbin says the plan has many teachers worried.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a bill in Congress that would legalize a marijuana extract to treat children with severe epilepsy. We’ve reported previously on plans to introduce a similar bill in Idaho’s Legislature.

BES Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

A state task force says reforming Idaho's teaching certification must be tied to increasing salaries in order to attract and retain quality teachers in public schools.

The 15-member committee spent most of Monday discussing details of implementing a new teacher pay system commonly known as the career ladder.

However, some members worry that state lawmakers will approve tougher certification requirements without providing funding for higher salaries.

School Kid, Education, Computer
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is proposing a 6.9 percent budget increase to Idaho's public school funding for 2015. Luna says the budget calls for the largest spending increase he's ever proposed in his nearly eight-year tenure.  

Luna unveiled his budget Tuesday to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and legislative leadership. However, because Luna isn't seeking a third-term, it'll be the winner of the November election who will be tasked with selling the $94 million budget increase to lawmakers during the next legislative session.

An interim committee of Idaho lawmakers tasked with determining if Idaho endowment lands are being managed properly to generate revenue is scheduled to meet for the first time Thursday.

Republican Rep. John Vander Woude of Nampa is co-chairman of the committee.

He tells the Lewiston Tribune that the entire endowment of land and investments is worth more than $3 billion but only generates about $50 million in annual payouts to public schools, universities and other trust beneficiaries.

Add The Words
Frankie Barnhill / For Boise State Public Radio

During the legislative session, dozens of people protested inside and outside the Idaho Capitol against discrimination. Monday is their chance to stand up in court and say why they did it.

Northern Idaho lawmakers opposing a bill to fund three mental health crisis centers is part of the reason Coeur d'Alene didn't get a $1.5 million behavioral-health crisis center.

Information obtained by the Coeur d'Alene Press through a public records request shows that a committee gave the city a higher score than winner Idaho Falls.

But criteria also included lawmaker support, which the center attained in eastern Idaho.

money, budget
Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Idaho closed the 2014 fiscal year with $7.2 million more than anticipated.

The Idaho Division of Financial Management reports that June's general fund receipts of $294.4 million were $8.4 million above economists' projections. Overall, last month's boost helped raise the final fiscal year totals to $2.81 billion.

That means general fund dollars went up 2.4 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.

Idaho Capitol Senate
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Auditors with the Idaho Legislature say State Treasurer Ron Crane has not provided enough evidence that a full review was conducted following an inappropriate money transfer.

The auditors found earlier this year Crane's office overrode internal controls meant to contain financial risk and the transfer resulted in a loss of at least $10.2 million loss of taxpayer money.

The 90-day follow-up audit says Crane's office asserts it has reviewed its securities lending transactions but has only provided state officials with documentation for two specific transactions.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Nine-year-old Alexis Carey has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. She started having seizures when she was a couple months old. Her mom Clare says Alexis is a happy kid, but she can't speak or potty train.

“You have seizures that go on for over an hour and nothing stops them,” Clare says.

“It’s so hard to helplessly watch your kid seizing for an hour,” Alexis’ dad Michael Carey says. “You can’t describe how painful it is.”

Idaho is starting the process of taking over wastewater permitting from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, under a law that quietly cleared the Idaho Legislature earlier this year.

Eric Fredricks / Flickr Creative Commons

A small town on Idaho's border with Wyoming is the latest city to approve employment, housing and public accommodation protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Victor, Idaho is the eighth city to approve a non-discrimination ordinance. It says people can’t be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge issued a ruling Wednesday barring Idaho from removing tents used by Occupy Boise protesters on state grounds.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in a decision released one day after listening to oral arguments that the around-the-clock tent ban violated the group's First Amendment rights.

ZenHikers / Flickr Creative Commons

On July 1, people with concealed weapons permits can carry their firearms right onto the campus of Boise State, and any other state-run college or university in Idaho. This state is the seventh to allow “campus carry.”

The Legislature's Federal Lands Interim Committee has hired outside legal counsel even though the state attorney general's office has questioned the legality of Idaho being able to take control of public lands away from the government.

The committee is relying on the Legislature's Legal Defense Fund to cover the private attorney's costs. So far, Idaho has paid the attorney nearly $26,000.

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