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Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

As we wrap up the 11th week of the 2017 Idaho Legislative Session, lawmakers have been struggling to finish up their work and go home. For several weeks, the goal has been to end the session Friday. House Speaker Scott Bedke said on Thursday lawmakers will have to come back on Monday.

This week lawmakers struggled with a large transportation funding bill. They tried and failed to pass a bill that would have helped some of the 78,000 people in Idaho who can’t afford health insurance. And tax cuts are still a sticking point.

Travis Olson

Boise’s Treefort Music Fest is well underway and events like Hackfort, Storyfort and Filmfort are just part of the fun. This year, Kidfort will once again bring concerts, crafts and interactive events to a younger audience. New this year is an idea dreamed up by one Boise man who wants kids to put down their electronics and start building things out of cardboard.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The Treefort Music Fest has begun. The annual Boise music-and-arts event runs through Sunday. Each year it seems to get bigger, which festival organizers welcome, as long as it stays true to its roots. There are definitely business challenges to managing growth.

Drew Lorona, one of the co-founders of Treefort, points to the streets outside The Owyhee in downtown Boise as "the festival hub."

Brian Klug / Flickr

 UPDATE March 24: The Idaho Department of Labor says America's Job Link will offer victims a year of credit monitoring services.

The Department of Labor has set up a phone number for victims who have questions. That number is 1-844-469-3939.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Idaho Department of Labor says around 170,000 of the department's 530,000 job-seeker accounts have been hacked.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Counties in all parts of the state have declared various, weather related emergencies. As of Tuesday, 27 counties were listed as being impacted by weather conditions to the point of emergency status.

The latest counties to get disaster status are in the northern part of the state; yesterday Governor Butch Otter declared states of emergency in Latah, Benewah, Shoshone, Clearwater, Bonner, Kootenai and Boundary Counties due to fears of avalanches and flooding.

A Capitol Tragedy: Idaho History That Hits Home

Mar 22, 2017
Erin McClure / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho State Capitol in Boise attracts many visitors with its historic paintings and artifacts. And then there are the stories. The tale of the boy who falls to his death strikes some as an urban myth. But if you step into the offices of the Attorney General, there’s some evidence to back it up.

 

 

It’s a couple of newspaper articles from 1926, framed side by side and hanging in the office of Janet Carter, an executive assistant. The article is from the Idaho Statesman and is dated December 19, 1926. It reads:

Geena Davis At Sun Valley Film Festival Pushes For Gender Balance

Mar 22, 2017
Screenshot / YouTube

One of the stars at the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival is actor Geena Davis, known for a string of movie hits in the 1980s and 90s and for playing a television version of the president in 2005 in Commander in Chief.

The Academy Award winner had only good things to say about the Wood River Valley.

“I love Sun Valley. I love this festival. I was here last in 2012 and always have a great time here.”

Matthew Wordell / Treefort Music Fest

The sixth annual Treefort Music Fest starts has begun in downtown Boise (March 22-26). The festival will once again showcase indie music from around the region and beyond. In total, 420 bands will take over more than 20 venues around downtown -- not to mention all the mini forts. 

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

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.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

About a dozen teenagers are helping set up a stage in a burrito shop in downtown Boise. (The salsa bar is stage right.) Some are stringing decorations from the ceiling and walls, in preparation for the slew of bands they'll host during Treefort Music Fest.

Gus Marsden is helping run this new venue as a leader of the festival's all-ages volunteer team.

Chapendra / Flickr

Despite having a record season, Boise State's women's basketball team lost in their first round match of the NCAA tournament. After a winning streak of ten victories in a row to clinch the Mountain West Championship, the Lady Broncos seemed like a bracket no brainer.

The team’s magic ran out in Southern California over the weekend when the Broncos lost to UCLA; the final score was 83 to 56.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan from Congressional Republicans to replace Obamacare could result in a mass exodus from Idaho’s online health insurance exchange.

State officials say almost 60,000 people could leave the exchange under the new proposal. Your Health Idaho director Pat Kelly said Friday that’s because it removes tax credit subsidies and the requirement for individuals to have health insurance.

Monica Gokey

As the Little Ski Hill closes in on its 80th season, it’s easy to wonder why the tiny mountain has persisted for so long. It’s sandwiched between two destination resorts: Brundage and Tamarack. But therein lies one of the marvels of the tiny mountain -- people love it because it's not like any other resort.

 

 

There is no chairlift here. At the bottom of the mountain, skiers and snowboarders shuffle into the path of an aging t-bar.

 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

What began as a tax cut bill in the Idaho House morphed into a repeal of the state's 6 percent grocery tax when the legislation was presented in the Senate Thursday.

John Miller / AP Images

Right now, state boards and commissions created by executive order are not subject to Idaho Open Meeting law. That means they can hold meetings without letting the public know, and without letting the public sit in on the discussions.

If a new bill passes muster at the statehouse, that could change. Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, proposed the change yesterday, fittingly during Sunshine Week – a week meant to expose transparency issues in government. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Bills were flying fast and furious in and out of the Idaho House and Senate this week, as lawmakers try to meet next Friday’s deadline to wrap up the session and go home.

As week ten of the legislature comes to a close, lawmakers still haven’t solved the Medicaid Gap in Idaho. Those are the people who can’t afford health care but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Transportation funding and a tax cut are also still in the mix.

Boise State University political science professor Gary Moncrief says there are still around 100 bills to be considered in the House and Senate.

Lucas Polsson / Flickr Creative Commons

Two bills related to faith healing were introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday. The Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, Jeff Siddoway, said he’ll probably schedule a full public hearing for one or both of the competing measures.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials have approved an Idaho wildlife conservation plan to avoid potential listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on a state plan that identified 205 Idaho species of concern. Grizzlies, salmon and sage grouse were all on the list, as well as monarch butterflies. Wildlife officials are working on taking Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List.

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