Lawrence Wasden

James M. / Flickr Creative Commons

Nine states are stepping into a lawsuit over the Utah prairie dog in favor of a ruling that animal activists say threatens to undermine the Endangered Species Act.

The attorneys general asked an appeals court on Thursday to uphold a ruling striking down federal protections for the Utah prairie dog on private property. They argue states should manage animals that live only within their borders.

Nicole Mays / Flickr

Federal investigators say that a Tennessee man and his family raised millions of dollars  for cancer patients, then spent the money on cars, luxury cruises, college tuition and to employ family members with six-figure salaries.

Officials say it's one of the largest charity fraud cases ever and involves all 50 states.

Idaho relies on private contractors to carry out government functions ranging from running prisons to keeping schools connected online.

The state's public records law clearly states no matter who holds the documents — government vendor or public agency — public records are always public. But a test of the law by The Associated Press shows the reality is murkier.

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the state will receive $21.5 million after resolving a lawsuit with Standard & Poor's Financial Services.

Wasden in announcing the settlement Tuesday says it's one of the largest settlements ever obtained under Idaho's Consumer Protection Act.

He says the settlement holds S&P accountable for misrepresentations that extended into 2011.

Gay marriage, couples, lawsuit
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

This story was updated Oct. 14 at 2:03 p.m.

It appears same-sex marriages will begin as planned Wednesday morning after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter issued this statement saying he's done all he can to "defend traditional marriage in Idaho."

Around 60 percent of the land in Idaho is controlled by the federal government. And some people would like those national forests and rangelands transferred to state control.

Deborah Ferguson, gay marriage, lawyer
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Four couples who successfully sued Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter over the state's gay marriage ban are now asking to be reimbursed for nearly half a million dollars of attorney fees and other court costs.

The group filed a motion in Boise's U.S. District Court on Tuesday asking that the state be ordered to pay more than $467,000 for the expenses associated with bringing the lawsuit.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Lawrence Wasden, Idaho's longest-serving attorney general, defeated challenger C.T. "Chris" Troupis in Tuesday's Republican primary election.

Wasden is seeking his fourth term in office. Wasden has said he would continue to fight to protect Idaho's sovereignty and water rights, and to combat fraud.

Troupis, a tea party favorite, had said his main focus if he won the general election would have been to pursue securing full control of Idaho's federally managed public lands.

Bruce Bristline ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Gavel, Courts, Justice
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal appeals court says no same-sex marriages will be allowed in Idaho until an appeal is decided.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted a request for a stay from Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

The decision means that despite a recent ruling overturning Idaho's gay marriage ban, same-sex couples can't get married or have their marriages recognized until the 9th Circuit or U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to let the ruling stand.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s first same-sex marriages are expected to begin Friday morning after a federal judge denied Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to hold off on the unions while the state works through its appeal process. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge in Idaho will hear arguments Monday on a lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on same sex marriage. Similar suits have been filed in more than 20 states since last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court made two decisions that strengthened the gay marriage cause.

KIDK via Facebook

The Idaho Attorney General's office has notified an eastern Idaho teacher that the state Department of Education is not going to pursue disciplinary action against her teaching certificate.

The Idaho State Journal in a story on Wednesday reports that Deputy Attorney General Andrew J. Snook notified Laraine Cook the office reviewed her case and found insufficient basis to go forward.

Cook was dismissed as a substitute teacher in Pocatello Chubbuck School District 25 in October over a photograph posted on her Facebook page showing her fiance touching her bikini-clad chest.

Idaho taxpayers have paid private attorneys more than $30 million in the past three years to do the state's legal work, in part because the Idaho Attorney General's office doesn't have the staff to handle caseloads.

The Associated Press obtained the payment information from the State Controller's Office through a public records request. The private attorneys charge the state anywhere from $125 to well over $300 an hour, compared to the $54 per hour it costs to have a state staff attorney do the job.

Lynn Luker
Idaho Legislature

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Boise Republican Rep. Lynn Luker's proposal to shield religious people's professional licenses from revocation is vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

On Wednesday, another Luker bill to expand legal protections for religious people who won't serve gays cleared the House State Affairs Committee, to the dismay of activists.

But his separate license measure hasn't gotten a hearing.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Tuesday his candidacy for another term in office. Wasden made the announcement in the State Capitol this afternoon. The Republican will be seeking his fourth term in office. He was first elected in 2002 and took office in 2003.

Wasden says the office of attorney general is where he thinks he can make his greatest contribution to society.

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