Policy

Courtesy of WashingtonInstitute.org

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France that claimed 17 lives sent shock waves around the world and heightened concerns about growing tensions between Islamic extremists and the West.

Aaron Zelin, is an expert on global jihadist groups, and he researches global terrorist organizations such as ISIS, how they operate and how they are changing. 

Data: Idaho Education News

Repeatedly — both before and after his election to a third term — Gov. Butch Otter’s praise for Idaho’s high school broadband system has focused on access.

The Idaho Education Network brings more classes into rural schools, he says, bringing the state that much closer to meeting its constitutional mandate to provide a uniform system of free public schools.

The state’s own numbers tell a very different story:

Idaho lawmakers have introduced a bill that would formally expand the secrecy surrounding executions.

The Senate Judiciary and Rules committee agreed Wednesday to move forward the legislation from the Idaho Department of Correction. The bill would incorporate existing department policy on confidential execution records into state law, and broaden that language to include records involving the source of lethal medications used for executions. It would also make it illegal for the department to turn over the records in response to subpoenas or other preliminary legal inquiries.

Boise State University

The White House has announced President Barack Obama will speak Jan 21 in Boise.

The President will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, then be in Boise Wednesday. He’s expected to discuss themes of his address on the Boise State University campus.

“We are honored and excited to host President Obama here at Boise State,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said. “We know he will be impressed with our students and faculty and the innovative work and world-class research they are doing.”

Add The Words
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Update 5:46 p.m. 

Idaho Republican leaders announced a change of course Wednesday and approved the introduction of a bill that would include sexual orientation and gender identity protections in the state's Human Rights Act.

The House Ways and Means Committee, made up of Republican legislative leadership, voted 6-1 to bring the proposed legislation to a full hearing.

Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho lawmaker who has the power to kill tax bills says there will be no new tax breaks unless beginning teacher salaries boost to $40,000 a year.

Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway threatened to hold proposed tax cuts hostage in order to get more funding for Idaho's public schools even before the legislative session kicked off on Monday. Siddoway sharpened his demand on Tuesday, saying teacher salaries must increase sooner than what Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has outlined.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he's going to ask the Idaho Legislature to restore funding for public schools back to pre-recessional levels. 

However, Otter and other legislative leaders noted that there is still no clear consensus regarding the Legislature's other pending issues such as a transportation funding and addressing the state's broken indigent care system.

Otter declined to reveal specifics about his proposed budget outline for the upcoming fiscal year. Instead, he says that information will be revealed during his State of the State address to lawmakers on Monday.

Kevin Rank / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s annual legislative session starts next week, but some lawmakers are already at work. Each year, just before the session, a group of lawmakers meets to try and get an idea of what Idaho’s economy will be like in the coming year. They use what they hear to inform their budgeting decisions.

Of course, what the state’s economy will do in the future is something that’s important to most everyone in Idaho, not just lawmakers. So here’s a preview of what legislators will hear.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

New rules seeking to tighten oversight on Idaho's multi-million dollar contracts have yet to be approved by state lawmakers but officials have already set up an opt-out process to exempt agencies from the increased scrutiny.

The new guidelines were developed after multiple scandals plagued Idaho's most expensive contracts for years.

The Department of Administration adopted the rules earlier this year but they still need approval from the Idaho Legislature. They include adding third party monitoring and creating an oversight board for each high-dollar contract.

Tony Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

A Boise State University professor will help decide the future of fire management on greater sage grouse habitat.

Political science and public policy professor John Freemuth is part of a national group of experts who will report to the new Rangeland Fire Task Force. This week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell created the task force.

Advanced Aviation Solutions , an Idaho-based startup, has become the first company to win federal approval to use drones in farm settings.

Deborah Ferguson, gay marriage, lawyer
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Idaho must pay more than $400,000 to the lawyers who successfully fought to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Friday awarded an amount that is about 10 percent less than what the lawyers requested.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and attorney Christopher Rich argued for an award of little more than $200,000. They said that the six lawyers working on the case took too much time and charged too much in hourly fees.

The lead attorney billed $400 an hour and recorded more than 600 hours.

Washington’s new voter-approved background check law appears to have prevented the sale of a rifle to a man with a warrant out for his arrest.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says the U.S. Supreme Court should wait until it receives arguments from Idaho before deciding a case involving gay marriage in the United States.

In documents filed with the nation's highest court, lawyers for Otter said waiting for Idaho's case would help the Supreme Court resolve "the marriage-litigation wave in all respects."

Idaho Potato Commission

Northwest potato farmers are cheering a small provision tucked into the newly passed federal spending package.

The Women, Infants and Children or WIC program provides modest monthly vouchers for a variety of foods. They’ll cover any vegetable -- except “white potatoes.”

That single exclusion outraged the potato industry. They felt it sent the wrong message and Northwest lawmakers from both parties got on board to reverse the rule.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Sherri Ybarra says she's staying mum on all things budget, policy and staffing until she's sworn into office on Jan. 5.

The recently elected Republican is in the middle of transitioning to become Idaho's next superintendent of public instruction.

Ybarra told The Associated Press Wednesday that it would be inappropriate to discuss changes she's considering because current state Superintendent Tom Luna is still in office.

Instead, Ybarra says she is on a "silent tour," and focusing on gathering input from lawmakers and staffers.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the U.S. Senate should not have released a report on CIA interrogation practices following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report that became public Tuesday says the CIA tortured prisoners, did not get much valuable information from doing so, and lied to Congress about it.   

Miguel Vieira / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report says Idaho could lose up to $111 million a year if the state took control of its federal public lands.

The University of Idaho's Policy Analysis Group report was requested by a legislative committee tasked with studying a state takeover of federal land in Idaho. The panel will finalize its recommendation Tuesday.

Park Ranger / Flickr Creative Commons

Leaders of a marijuana advocacy group that was launched two weeks ago say they’ve attracted more than 200 volunteers. New Approach Idaho wants to put a ballot measure before Idaho voters in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana.

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Idaho has the highest share of undocumented immigrants who will benefit from President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

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