Politics

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to announce his picks for his administration, one cabinet position that could directly affect Idaho remains unfilled.

The Secretary of Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two agencies that can be the focal point of anger from both the left and the right side of the political spectrum.

sage grouse, in flight, birds
Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress has returned to work after the Thanksgiving recess. One of the big items on the docket during the lame duck session is the passage of a $602-billion defense bill. But an amendment by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has helped to stall its passage, tying the debate over the greater sage grouse to Pentagon funding.

Owyhee County is Idaho’s second largest county and yet one of its least populated. Despite its emptiness, Owyhee County has a rich history, one that has been thoroughly explored and documented by today’s guest, John Bieter.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Idaho (all times local):

10:08 a.m.

Idaho voters have approved a Constitutional Amendment that enshrines lawmakers' legislative veto power.

Idaho lawmakers have been using the legislative veto power to reject administrative rules created by executive branch agencies for years.

The practice was approved by the Idaho Supreme Court 25 years ago.

But federal courts have ruled that a similar veto function by Congress was unconstitutional and some states have deemed it illegal.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Election Day is next week and all 35 seats in the Idaho Senate and all 70 seats in the Idaho House are on the ballot. That means opportunity for change in the body that makes state policy.

But how much variation will we actually see? And how competitive are this year's races? Those are questions Boise State University Political Science Professor Emeritus Gary Moncrief has been considering. Moncrief says many of the state's legislative races just aren’t that competitive this year.

vote, election
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Northwest Nazarene University Political Scientist Steve Shaw is among those captivated by the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But he thinks their campaign will have little, if any, effect on races for Senate, the U.S. House, the state Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment in Idaho.

Doby / NPR

A voice heard regularly on NPR is headed to Boise this week.

Mara Liasson, a political correspondent at NPR, will headline Wednesday night’s annual gala for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. Liasson has made a career of covering national politics. This year’s presidential campaign is her seventh.

Today we’re continuing our timely conversation with author Jacob S. Hacker about the changing dynamics between the public and private sectors in driving economic growth, and how those changes are impacting our politics, culture and prosperity.

Mr. Hacker is a professor of political science at Yale University and the co-author of a new book, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.  He wrote this book with his colleague, Paul Pierson, who is at the University of California, Berkeley.

For much of the 20th century, private and public enterprises worked as both partners and adversaries to drive economic growth in our country. But in recent years, the balance within this so-called “mixed economy” has shifted away from public investment and regulation. Today, the term “Big Government” is widely considered a pejorative – despite the role public institutions have historically played in laying the foundation for social development and prosperity.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho only has a handful of competitive legislative races in the upcoming general election, but party officials on both sides are prepping for heated battles in key legislative districts across the state.

The state's Republican Party recently announced the launch of field offices in Lewiston, Moscow and Blaine County, some of the most strongly Democratic places in this super-majority Republican state. 

Idaho GOP executive director David Johnston says there are parts of Idaho his party will win without much effort. But others, he says, will be a fight.

Boise State University

Thirty-two Idaho delegates are among those who kicked off the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Monday. The 20 Ted Cruz supporters and 12 Donald Trump delegates had a front row seat to the somewhat chaotic start to the event.

Another Idahoan in Cleveland this week is Corey Cook. Cook is the dean of Boise State University’s School of Public Service. It’s his sixth convention and our Scott Graf spoke with him about his expectations for the week.

Hear their Morning Edition conversation below. 

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Think of it as calling dibs.

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little announced last week he's running for governor almost two-and-a-half years before the 2018 election. With incumbent Butch Otter likely not running again, the field for the GOP nomination might be crowded.

Long-time Idaho political analyst Jim Weatherby says by becoming the first candidate in the race, Little may be sending a message to Republicans who respect the party hierarchy that he is the heir-apparent.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Supporters of sweeping changes to Idaho's campaign finance laws have failed to collect enough signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot.

Holli Woodings, a Boise Democrat who chaired the Keep Idaho Elections Accountable campaign, said Friday that her group needed at least 48,000 valid signatures, but they fell short by about 6,000. Signatures are only valid if they're from people with up-to-date voter registration.

“The poison pill ended up being people who believed they are registered to vote," says Woodings, "but they’ve moved.”

Brad Little, Politics
BradLittleForIdaho.com

Lt. Gov. Brad Little says he is planning on running for governor.

Little tells the Idaho Statesman that he will file paperwork creating his gubernatorial campaign on Wednesday.

The Republican rancher — who has served as Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's lieutenant since 2009 — is the first official candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Otter has previously stated that he has no plans to run for re-election.

Idaho Democratic Party / Facebook

The March Democratic presidential caucus saw a record-breaking turnout. About 24,000 people made their voices heard around the state – including an overwhelming 9,000 in Boise. But long lines and confusion about the process caused some people to leave the caucus before they had a chance to vote.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's legislative leaders have assigned their summer homework by finalizing a list of hot button topics for Idaho lawmakers to review over the next few months.

Top legislative officials approved the interim committees on Friday. The panels will meet over the summer and provide recommendations to lawmakers during next year's legislative session.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Democrats kick off their 2016 state party convention Thursday. It runs through Saturday. Party leaders expect nearly 400 delegates at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City.

The itinerary includes training sessions for candidates and activists and updating the party platform. Idaho Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says there are a lot of platform changes being proposed but most are tweaks to language in existing planks. Ferguson says one significant change that may be made is calling for a specific increase to the state’s minimum wage.

Ron Crane, Deborah Silver
Courtesy Idaho Public Television

Questions about Idaho’s role in securities lending and how it affected taxpayers, are the focus of a new investigative report.

In the article published in the latest edition of Boise State's Blue Review, writer Eric Hayes unravels Idaho’s 15-year history of securities lending.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In an email to supporters, the Idaho Republican Party boasts that for the first time ever, more Idahoans are registered as Republicans than as Democrats or unaffiliated. The GOP says the March presidential primary recorded the highest turnout ever for a primary in the state.

This comes as no surprise to Jaclyn Kettler, political science professor at Boise State University. She says at the time of the March primary, the Republican presidential nomination was still very much up for grabs.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An initiative to update Idaho’s laws around campaign finance has until Monday at 5 p.m. to reach the signature threshold. Former Democratic state lawmaker Holli Woodings is leading the initiative, called Keep Idaho Elections Accountable.

Woodings says that if the initiative passes muster, voters in November will have the chance to decide how Idaho deals with money in politics.

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