A bill that would require criminal background checks for private gun sales in Oregon is on its way to the governor's desk. The Oregon House narrowly passed the measure Monday.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama last week signed a $200 billion Medicare bill that reforms payments to physicians. Tucked inside that massive Medicare bill was a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, a federal program that pays rural counties and school districts with a lot of non-taxable forest land.

The Idaho Racing Commission has suspended all future approval of lucrative slot-like machines known as instant horse racing terminals.

The commission unanimously issued its moratorium today. Their decision comes after Gov. "Butch" Otter vetoed legislation that would have banned all instant horse racing machines in Idaho and instructed the commission to enforce the suspension.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on old horse races with no identifiable information. Idaho lawmakers approved legalizing the machines in 2013.

isvend09 / Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Hailey will soon be added to a growing list of Idaho towns with non-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hailey's new law will take effect later this spring, and will ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. At that point, more than 450,000 Idahoans will be protected under one of these municipal laws. That's almost 30 percent of the state's population.

Tim Connor / Flickr Creative Commons

Hailey is set to become the 11th city in Idaho to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The law – which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – comes after the Idaho Legislature failed to pass a similar statewide measure earlier this year.

Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson drafted the ordinance, and says he looked to Boise's 2012 law as a model.

The federal government and many states have offered car buyers incentives to venture into the electric car market. But now some states are going in a different direction.

medical marijuana, pot
Audio Vision, Public Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

A pro-cannabis group has filed paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office to begin gathering signatures for a medical marijuana legalization initiative. The group New Approach Idaho was founded a few months ago. Its members hope Idaho voters will be able to decide on pot legalization in 2016. New Approach Idaho president William Esbensen says the initiative has three parts.

MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

Food manufacturers and restaurants are taking the dairy industry by the horns on an animal welfare issue that bothers activists but is little known to consumers.

Horned calves are common in dairy herds and farms routinely remove the horn buds by burning or gouging them out before horns develop. Horns are hazardous because unruly cows can gore farm workers or other animals.

General Mills, Nestle, Denny's are among companies pushing increased breeding of cows born without horns — called polled cattle.

Oregon's congressional delegation is hoping to secure a two-year extension of timber payments to rural counties. The Secure Rural Schools provision is tucked in a bill the U.S. House is voting on this week.


Idaho’s Senate Tuesday will consider two bills about cannabis-based epilepsy treatments.

Clare Carey has been asking lawmakers to allow access to a certain kind of hemp oil for nearly two years. One of the two bills in the Senate is called Alexis’ Law after Carey’s daughter, who suffers from debilitating, life threatening epilepsy.

Cuba is a mere 90 miles from the United States, a puddle-jump flight or a long swim across the straits of Florida. Yet, for more than a half-century, that distance at times has loomed much greater, as U.S.-Cuba tensions played out across the world stage and here at home. That situation is changing – and dramatically so.

Last December, after 18 months of secret talks, President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana. The news sparked intense reactions and a flurry of speculation.

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.

Frank Swift / Flickr Creative Commons

After a failed attempt to pass what's known as Idaho's "Add the Words" bill earlier this session, some people are looking to a neighboring state for guidance.

Last week, Utah's Republican-led Legislature passed what's being touted as a landmark gay rights law that has the support of the Mormon Church.

Idaho authorities are telling movie theaters serving alcohol that they can't provide drinks during showings of the erotic blockbuster "Fifty Shades of Grey."

The Idaho State Police's Alcohol Beverage Control has contacted at least two theaters showing the popular R-rated flick, ordering them to comply with a law banning businesses from serving booze to people watching sexually explicit films.

The law lists types of scenes requiring a booze ban. "Fifty Shades of Grey" features bondage and sadomasochism scenes.

Contractors have received $29.7 million under the voided Idaho Education Network contract.

Should the state try to get this money back?

It’s one of the many legal issues surrounding the defunct statewide broadband system. And it’s one many state officials don’t want to talk about.

Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange is one step closer to being dismantled.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers will introduce a bill Wednesday that will allow people to use some oils extracted from cannabis plants. Idaho currently does not allow any form of medical marijuana.  But other states without medical pot have passed exemptions similar to this new bill.

Its aim is to allow people with epilepsy to use the extract. Certain strains of cannabis have shown great promise in reducing seizures in children with severe epilepsy.

Washington, Oregon and Idaho are trying to figure out how to keep their state driver’s licenses from becoming obsolete in the eyes of the federal government.

On Friday, the Idaho House passed a bill that would ask the feds for more time to come into compliance with federal ID security standards.

Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy

Idaho lawmakers are talking behind the scenes about creating a flat-rate income tax and raising the sales tax, a proposal the non-partisan  Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy says would increase taxes for everyone who makes less than $173,000 a year.

An Idaho House panel on Thursday passed a spate of bills that would trim certain criminal offenses from Idaho law.