Idaho Legislature

Idaho Legislature
10:31 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Idaho Legal Fees To Look At Public Lands Takeover Total $61,000

Credit 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.

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Education
5:30 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Idaho Teachers Push Back Against Plan To Change How They Get Licensed

Credit 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.

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Drug Policy
7:42 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Congress May Answer (And Complicate) An Idaho Girl's Need For Epilepsy Treatment

Clare, Alexis and Michael Carey before Alexis was hospitalized in June.
Credit 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.

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Teacher Pay
3:45 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Idaho Task Force Seeks Higher Teacher Salaries

Credit 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.

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Education
1:45 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Idaho's Superintendent Luna Proposes Largest School Budget Increase Yet

Credit 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.

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Public Lands
9:52 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Idaho Lawmakers To Examine Endowment Land Investments

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.

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Idaho Legislature
7:00 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Gay Rights Protesters Arrested At Idaho's Capitol To Be Sentenced

In February, protesters stood in silence at the Capitol to protest against discrimination. Monday they have their day in court.
Credit 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.

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Public Health
9:46 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Lost $1.5 Million Crisis Center After Regional Lawmakers Opposed Project

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.

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State Budget
3:41 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Idaho Ends Budget Year With More Cash Than Planned

Credit 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.

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Idaho Legislature
4:13 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Audit: More Proof Of Review Needed From Idaho Treasurer

Credit 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.

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Health
6:29 am
Tue June 17, 2014

How One Young Girl Could Change Idaho's Strict Marijuana Laws

Clare, Alexis and Micheal Carey.
Credit 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.”

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Environment
1:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Idaho Takes Over Water Pollution Permits

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.

Policy
1:25 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Rural Border Town Becomes Idaho's 8th City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Victor, Idaho is 25 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Credit 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.  

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Policy
4:28 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Judge Bans Idaho From Removing Protester Tents

Tents filled the lawn next to the state Capitol in 2011.
Credit 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.

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Guns On Campus
10:05 am
Thu June 5, 2014

As Idaho Colleges Brace For Guns, Here's How Utah Schools Manage It

Utah Valley University had 30,880 full and part-time students in 2013.
Credit 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.”

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Policy
9:33 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Idaho's Federal Lands Panel Hires Private Attorney

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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Policy
10:18 am
Tue May 27, 2014

New Idaho Law Aims To Curb Power Of Homeowners' Associations

Some experts estimate Idaho has more than 3,000 homeowners' associations.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

A new Idaho law set to take effect this summer will curb the power of homeowners' associations after state lawmakers felt some organizations were abusing their authority.

HOAs are popular in Idaho's larger cities. Six years ago, the Idaho Senate estimated there were around 2,500 homeowners' associations in the state. An HOA's goal is to keep neighborhood property values up by enforcing covenants and bylaws. Residents who don’t always abide can be fined. 

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Election 2014
8:44 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Tea Party Candidates Claim Victories In North Idaho

Mary Souza won a seat on the Idaho state Senate.

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Republican incumbents in Idaho are celebrating major victories over Tea Party candidates this week. Gov. Butch Otter and Congressman Mike Simpson both prevailed against challenges to their conservative credentials.

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Policy
12:09 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Idaho Asks Judge To Toss Lawsuit On So-Called 'Ag-Gag' Law

Credit Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Attorneys for Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities.

A coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and others sued last month, asking U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to strike down what they call an "ag gag" law. The coalition contends the law curtails freedom of speech and makes gathering proof of animal abuse a crime with a harsher punishment than the penalty for animal cruelty itself.

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Idaho Legislature
3:43 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Gov. Otter Signs Tax Incentive Bill To Lure Businesses To Idaho

Credit State of Idaho

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is backing legislation aimed at creating jobs and bringing business to Idaho.

Otter on Thursday signed the bill into law that refunds up to 30 percent of state corporate income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes to businesses that create a certain number of new jobs.

The measure mandates workers must be paid wages that at least match the county average.

The bill hit some speed bumps during the session, drawing the ire of small business owners who said the tax breaks give an unfair edge to their larger competitors.

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