Policy

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.

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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.

A legislative panel is recommending that a 151-year-old Idaho law on duels be repealed.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee unanimously voted Thursday to eliminate the last remaining reference to dueling in Idaho law.

The rule — on the books since Idaho's very first legislature as a territory — gives the Gem State jurisdiction over out-of-state duels if a person involved dies in Idaho.

Michael Kane from the Idaho Sheriffs' Association called the rule completely obsolete.

Idaho Capitol Senate
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

The Senate State Affairs Committee has introduced a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons outside city limits in Idaho without a permit.

Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn from Meridian told the panel Friday that his bill would also remove a rule that lets state legislators carry concealed guns without a permit.

Currently, Idahoans are allowed to hunt or fish without a concealed weapons permit.

Some lawmakers asked whether the bill would limit property owners' rights to restrict guns on their property. Hagedorn told them it wouldn't.

Idaho doctors performing abortions would have to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital under a recently introduced bill.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to introduce the bill Thursday.

Republican Sen. Lee Heider, who is sponsoring the bill, argues it's a common-sense measure because it better protects women's health in the event of a botched abortion.

Heider added that similar legislation has already passed in 16 states.

Nearly 20 northern Idaho officials sent a letter to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden on Wednesday urging the state to ban betting machines known as instant racing terminals.

The letter is the latest development in the fight over the legality of instant horse racing — betting on a previous horse race without any identifiable information. Roughly 250 machines have been installed in Idaho.

North Idaho College President Joe Dunlap, Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Widmeyer and former Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs were among the letter's signers.

MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's $2.4 billion dairy industry is no longer at risk of losing its operating permits if caught illegally dumping waste into streams and waterways.

The Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee approved new rules Tuesday that would no longer allow the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to revoke a dairy facility's permit if caught illegally discharging wastewater or sewage. Instead, dairies would face a fine up to $10,000.

The rules are in compliance of a law that Idaho Republican lawmakers passed in 2014.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Five of Idaho's universities and community colleges say they've spent more than $1.5 million for additional security since lawmakers approved a law allowing concealed guns on campus.

The Idaho Statesman reports the schools sought $1.55 million this winter plus another $2.17 million for the rest of the budget year to help with expenses.

But Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College will likely have to absorb the costs.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers will take a second look at a gambling device they decided to allow two years ago, for something called “instant racing.”

It was supposed to be a way to give the horse racing industry a boost by letting people bet on the outcomes of old horse races. But some lawmakers are feeling duped because these machines look a lot like slot machines, and slot machines are supposed to be illegal in Idaho.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A panel in the Idaho House is expected to vote this morning on a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The vote comes after three days of hearings.

The nearly 20 hours of testimony came from gay people speaking about their experience with discrimination in Idaho. Parents talked about worrying their gay or transgender children would be fired or kicked out apartments.

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