Policy

Policy
4:16 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Gov. Otter Didn't Know 8 Immigrant Children Have Been Sent To Idaho In Border Surge

Gov. Otter with First Lady Lori Otter at a recent Republican event at the Capitol.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 25, 2014.

This week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter sent a letter to federal officials telling them not to send any of the unaccompanied young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to Idaho.

However, federal officials say they've already sent children from the border to Idaho.

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Policy
10:20 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Gov. Otter Tells Federal Officials Not To Send Migrant Kids To Idaho

Credit Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has sent a letter to federal officials telling them not to send any of the unaccompanied young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to Idaho.

Otter on Wednesday sent the letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez.

Idaho has not been contacted by federal officials about bringing any of the children to Idaho.

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Gay Marriage
1:52 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

A Look At Where Gay Marriage Laws Stand Across The U.S., Idaho

Nearly 200 people attended a May 16, 2014 event that was organized as a celebration of the overturning of Idaho's gay marriage ban. It turned into a rally because an appellate court has temporarily halted gay marriages.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Statesman

State same-sex marriage bans have been falling around the country since June 2013, when the nation's highest court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them.

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Policy
4:37 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

The Constitution Might Have Something To Say When Police Shoot Dogs

Video screengrab from the February dog shooting incident in Filer, Idaho.

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:50 am

A handful of recent incidents where police have shot pet dogs in Idaho have angered animal rights advocates. One dog owner in the small town of Filer has issued notice that he intends to sue the city over the death of his dog, Hooch.

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Idaho Legislature
4:13 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Audit: More Proof Of Review Needed From Idaho Treasurer

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Auditors with the Idaho Legislature say State Treasurer Ron Crane has not provided enough evidence that a full review was conducted following an inappropriate money transfer.

The auditors found earlier this year Crane's office overrode internal controls meant to contain financial risk and the transfer resulted in a loss of at least $10.2 million loss of taxpayer money.

The 90-day follow-up audit says Crane's office asserts it has reviewed its securities lending transactions but has only provided state officials with documentation for two specific transactions.

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Public Lands
3:28 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Rep. Labrador Asks Congress To Turn Parcel Of Federal Land Into Idaho County Gun Range

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow a parcel of federal land to be transferred into county ownership for use as a gun range. 

The 31-acre area is near Riggins, along the Salmon River in north-central Idaho. An act of Congress is needed because the land currently falls under the protection of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

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Marijuana
8:48 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Idaho Cops Worry About Cross-Border Pot Shopping Trips

File photo of 106 pounds of pot.

Recreational marijuana goes on sale Tuesday in Washington state, but police across the border in Idaho and Oregon say that doesn't mean the pot will stay there.

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Wildfire
5:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Report Says Lack Of Maps, Leadership Puts Firefighters In Harm's Way

File photo of fire crews working the Trinity Ridge Fire near Featherville, Idaho, in 2012.

A scathing new report by a group of veteran wildfire experts called Safety Matters says too little has been done to improve firefighter safety since an Arizona fire killed 19 firefighters a year ago. 

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Environment
10:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Updated 'Shade Rule' Aims To Protect Idaho Fish Habitat

Credit Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has long restricted cutting down trees along stream banks as a way to keep water cool for trout and a salmon. On July 1, an updated version of the so-called shade rule goes into effect.   

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Transportation
12:06 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Idaho's Interstate Speed Limits Won't Increase July 1

This is a portion of I-15, which runs through part of Idaho.
Credit Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Transportation is delaying increased interstate speed limits that were originally scheduled to take effect July 1 as it looks over public comments.

Sections of I-84, I-86 and I-15 were supposed to see speed limits increased to 80 miles per hour.

The department has finished a review of increasing speed limits and will present its findings in mid-July.

ITD Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter says holding off on the increases will "allow a thoughtful and inclusive review, ensuring safety.”

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Policy
6:38 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Abortion Seekers Still Protected At Northwest Clinics After Supreme Court Ruling

File photo of the west face of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Abortion services providers say the Supreme Court’s ruling on 35-foot “buffer zones” around Massachusetts clinics won’t have much effect in the Northwest.

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Health
9:55 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Idaho Falls Chosen For $1.5 Million Crisis Center

A $1.5 million state-funded behavioral-health crisis center will be built in Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter made the announcement Thursday morning at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

Boise in southwestern Idaho and Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho had also been in the running for the center.

The center is intended to serve as a safety net to treat at-risk mentally ill people whose symptoms often land them in hospitals or jail.

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Policy
12:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Idaho May Have Trouble Defending Its 'Ag-Gag' Law

Credit jennie-o / Flickr Creative Commons

On Wednesday a federal judge hears arguments on Idaho’s new “ag gag” law, which creates stiff punishments for people who surreptitiously video or photograph agricultural operations.

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Policy
10:42 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Priest Lake Cabin Owners Sue Idaho Over Land Valuation

The owners of 76 cabins built on state land around a northern Idaho lake are suing over the way the state determined the land's value.

The Spokesman-Review reports the lawsuit argues the state is including the value of improvements such as access roads and utility lines that renters paid to have installed at cabin sites on Priest Lake.

The appraised value will be the minimum bid for possible auctions and will be used as the basis for future rental costs.

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Policy
3:37 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Idaho On Track To Take Over Prison Management July 1

Idaho correctional officials say the upcoming state takeover of a Boise private prison will be seamless. 

The state will begin running the more than 2,000-bed Idaho Correction Center starting July 1 when the $29 million-a-year contract with the Corrections Corporations of America expires.

Warden Randy Blades said that the transition process is 98 percent complete during an Idaho Board of Corrections meeting Thursday.

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Medicaid
2:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

2 Years After Unanimously Recommending Medicaid Expansion, Idaho Governor's Group Reconvenes

An Idaho workgroup reconvened Wednesday to reevaluate options on how to offer medical services to low-income adults who don't have health insurance.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has repeatedly said he does not want to expand the state's current Medicaid program but has appointed a 15-member group to consider other possibilities.

The panel first met in 2012 and recommended expanding the state's Medicaid eligibility requirements.

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Health
6:29 am
Tue June 17, 2014

How One Young Girl Could Change Idaho's Strict Marijuana Laws

Clare, Alexis and Micheal Carey.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Nine-year-old Alexis Carey has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. She started having seizures when she was a couple months old. Her mom Clare says Alexis is a happy kid, but she can't speak or potty train.

“You have seizures that go on for over an hour and nothing stops them,” Clare says.

“It’s so hard to helplessly watch your kid seizing for an hour,” Alexis’ dad Michael Carey says. “You can’t describe how painful it is.”

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Policy
7:28 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Idaho Woman's Fight For Foster Daughter Reveals A System Of Difficult Choices

Andrea Butler of Rathdrum, Idaho, stands in the room Dee had in her home for the four-and-a-half years Butler fostered her.

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:43 pm

Adoptions are usually private affairs, sealed forever in court documents and known only to the families involved. But recently, one decision by Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare exploded into the public sphere.

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Guns On Campus
10:05 am
Thu June 5, 2014

As Idaho Colleges Brace For Guns, Here's How Utah Schools Manage It

Utah Valley University had 30,880 full and part-time students in 2013.
Credit ZenHikers / Flickr Creative Commons

On July 1, people with concealed weapons permits can carry their firearms right onto the campus of Boise State, and any other state-run college or university in Idaho. This state is the seventh to allow “campus carry.”

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Policy
10:18 am
Tue May 27, 2014

New Idaho Law Aims To Curb Power Of Homeowners' Associations

Some experts estimate Idaho has more than 3,000 homeowners' associations.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

A new Idaho law set to take effect this summer will curb the power of homeowners' associations after state lawmakers felt some organizations were abusing their authority.

HOAs are popular in Idaho's larger cities. Six years ago, the Idaho Senate estimated there were around 2,500 homeowners' associations in the state. An HOA's goal is to keep neighborhood property values up by enforcing covenants and bylaws. Residents who don’t always abide can be fined. 

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