Idaho Senate

Casey Lewis / Flickr

Faith healing remains one of the most contentious issues in the state of Idaho. Monday at the Statehouse, a panel of senators narrowly approved a bill related to the matter in spite of overwhelming negative testimony.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

An informational hearing at the state capitol Wednesday centered on early childhood education.

The Senate Education Committee was scheduled to only hear about kindergarten and other early education resources for 20 minutes. However, questions from senators pushed the meeting to close to an hour.

A Republican legislative candidate in northern Idaho says he is no longer running for a Senate seat after facing pressure from other GOP officials to pull out of the race.

John Freeland announced Tuesday he would no longer pursue challenging incumbent Sen. Dan Schmidt, a Democrat from Moscow, in the upcoming November election. He declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to help school districts crack down on bullying in Idaho's public schools is on its way to the governor's desk.

The Idaho Senate passed the bill 24-10 on Monday.

The bill would require local school district leaders to go through anti-bullying training and create a way for bullying to be reported.

Democratic Sen. Jane Ward-Engelking from Boise, who sponsored the bill, says that bullying can lead to depression and anxiety among students, as well as problems keeping up with classwork.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Senate has killed a plan to make a new process to accredit naturopaths in Idaho.

The Senate voted 25-10 Monday to defeat the bill, which had faced substantial changes over the last week in an effort to find a compromise.

Two major groups of naturopaths in Idaho have disagreed on licensing guidelines for decades, especially since licenses were granted to the profession in 2005.

The Senate also voted 22-13 to repeal state laws that require naturopaths to get a license.

State officials are no longer requesting the Idaho Legislature approve new rules designed to tighten oversight on multimillion dollar contracts after lawmakers voiced concerns the proposed guidelines didn't go far enough.

An official with the Department of Administration says adopting the rules is no longer necessary because state lawmakers have since proposed creating an interim committee to review the state's procurement laws.

Updated 10:59 p.m. Idaho Senators narrowly missed signing off on a proposed $1.3 billion education budget Wednesday.   The 17-18 vote sends the bill back to the budget writing committee. The legislation which calls for a more than 2 percent increase for K-12 easily passed the House last week. Opponents focused on two problems in debate.

They argued providing more money to school districts for basic operations was more urgent than reversing some teacher salary cuts made during the recession. 

Idaho Capitol
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

All 35 seats in the Idaho Senate, and 70 in the Idaho House, are up for grabs in the November election.  The lines around the 35 legislative districts were re-drawn last year, creating a brand-new political landscape for incumbents and challengers.  We wanted to know which races were generating the most buzz.

With some help from Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief, we’ve compiled a list of seven legislative races to watch:

1. House District 2B: Democrat Dan English vs. Republican Ed Morse

In a closely watched Democratic race, Branden Durst beat Matthew Duncan Tuesday night in South Boise’s District 18.  Durst and Duncan are against the public education reform laws known as Students Come First or what Democrats call the “Luna laws.” They both are for ethics reform, and against requiring an ultrasound before an abortion.  But Durst does have a four-year history in the Idaho Legislature.