Policy

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A legislative panel is recommending that a 151-year-old Idaho law on duels be repealed.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

Nearly one year after lawmakers and small business owners cast a critical eye at the contractor managing mental health and substance treatment for Idaho's poor, company officials say approval ratings remain high and problems are few.

Executives from Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, told the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday that they had a 95 percent satisfaction rating among members who receive behavioral-health services under Medicaid.

That's according to the most recent sample survey the company sent out to their members.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Several hundred people packed an auditorium in the Idaho Capitol Monday for a hearing on a measure known as the Add the Words bill.

It’s the first time the Legislature has considered a bill that would make sexual orientation and gender identity a protected class in Idaho -- like race or religion. Proponents have been trying to get it heard for nine years.

Some of the most emotional testimony came from the parents of gay and transgender children.

Rick Gerrard / Idaho Public Television

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch derailed a 2010 wilderness bill but says he's working now with U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson on a scaled-down version as others attempt to persuade President Barack Obama to designate a central Idaho area a national monument.

Risch, a Republican, tells the Idaho Statesman in a story on Sunday that he's looking forward to carrying a bill that he says is a collaborative product.

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.”

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