Idaho Legislature

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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.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has vetoed a bill that would have legalized a marijuana extract for patients with severe forms of epilepsy.

In his veto letter, Otter said his administration has strongly opposed the legislation because "there were too many questions and problems and too few answers and solutions in this bill to let it become law."

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Thursday he is not yet prepared to call a special legislative session to address child support.

Just before the 2015 legislative session ended last weekend, members of a House committee killed a bill to bring Idaho in compliance with changes to federal child support programs.

The Idaho legislature adjourned its overtime session over the weekend.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers finished the 2015 legislative session early Saturday morning, boasting major funding increases for Idaho's teachers and completing a last-minute proposal to address the state's crumbling roads and bridges.

The session stretched nearly two weeks past when legislative leaders had optimistically estimated they would adjourn, winning a spot as one of the top five longest legislative sessions in Idaho's history. The longest session was in 2009, when it lasted 119 days.

Welcome to Idaho
Craig Cloutier / Flickr Creative Commons

A six-member joint panel has reached a compromise that would partially address Idaho's roads funding shortfall.

The new plan was passed unanimously by the Legislature's special joint conference committee on Friday afternoon after two full days of negotiations. The proposal would raise $95 million — far short of the $262 million annual shortfall the state has faced for road maintenance since 2010.

A special committee in the Idaho legislature assigned to find a compromise deal on roads funding ended the day Thursday with plenty of frustration but, still no deal.

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