Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Following news that the Idaho Republican Party had opened three field offices in traditional Democratic strongholds like Blaine County and that the GOP planned to open more, Democrats pointed out they'd also sent out operatives. Dean Ferguson with Idaho’s Democratic Party says state Democratic leaders started sending out field organizers in February and now have seven assigned in key legislative districts.

Idaho Statesman

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill has requested that legislative auditors investigate the travel expenses of two lawmakers facing allegations of having an extramarital affair.

Hill told The Associated Press Thursday that auditors will begin reviewing the past three years of travel vouchers of Republicans Rep. Christy Perry, of Nampa, and Sen. Jim Guthrie, of McCammon.

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.

Andrew Dallos / Flickr Creative Commons

With just 90 days left until the general election, a new candidate has joined the race for president – in a last-minute challenge to Donald Trump. 

Forty-year-old Evan McMullin is a final hope for some conservatives unhappy with the GOP choice for president. The relatively unknown Republican has been a CIA operative, a House GOP adviser and worked for Goldman Sachs.

Josh / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho parents are shielded from prosecution if they refuse modern medical care for their children because they believe in faith healing. The laws allowing this exemption date back to 1972. 

Thursday morning, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will hear from people who want these laws changed. Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) is on the working group, and says the issue is about child protection … and that religion should not be used to shield parents. 
 

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Public officials, civic leaders and members of the Idaho media wrapped up a three-day conference in Boise Tuesday. Their focus: to figure out ways to make political discourse in the state more civil.

Sally Boynton Brown / Teton Valley News

From Rachael Horne of the Teton Valley News:

On Tuesday, the Idaho delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia had cast 20 votes for Senator Bernie Sanders and seven for Hillary Clinton, who went on, as expected, to clinch the Democratic Party nomination for president. Much has been made nationally about party unity after a fierce primary season. Still, the Idaho delegation was united by a unique symbol that originated in Teton County, Idaho — the Donkalope.

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Update, Thursday, 10:12 a.m.:  The Ada County Commissioners have tabled the issue after hearing three hours of public testimony. According to a press release, 16 people testified in favor of the airstrip and 15 testified against it Wednesday night.

Original post:

YouTube screengrab / Protect Idaho Kids

A group that wants to repeal laws exempting parents from child abuse prosecution is hard at work this summer. Bruce Wingate is the founder of Protect Idaho Kids, and says parents who deny medical treatment to their children because of their religions should be held to the same standard as all parents.

The nonprofit has produced a series of videos making that case on local TV in Boise. Wingate hopes to get the spots on the air around the state in the next five months.

Medical, Health Care
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In February, hundreds of people went to the statehouse to show their support for an expansion of Medicaid. About 30 people gave public testimony, sometimes tearfully asking lawmakers to grant health coverage to 78,000 low-income Idahoans.   

Idaho Republican Party / Facebook

Idaho delegates to the Republican National Convention say they have not been asked to sign a petition to have Texas Sen. Ted Cruz nominated as the GOP's presidential candidate.

Furthermore, Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he's been promised by the state's Cruz leadership team that Idaho delegates will not participate in any anti-Donald Trump demonstrations or walkouts during the nominating process.

Instead, Yates says the Idaho delegation will honor their duties and follow convention decorum during their stay in Cleveland.

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. 

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation has offered to help finance possible research and other studies in the state's pursuit of modernizing how Idaho funds its public schools.

Sen. Chuck Winder says the foundation on Monday offered to write a check to the legislative committee in charge of reviewing the state's complicated school funding formula. Winder, a Republican from Boise, did not say how much was offered.

Attempts to contact the foundation were not immediately returned Tuesday.

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.

Sen. Mike Crapo's office

When he was a kid, Trevor Schaefer was diagnosed with brain cancer. His family was living in McCall, but after he got sick he and his mom moved to Boise for his cancer treatment. Doctors removed a golf-ball sized tumor from the base of his brain, and radiation and chemotherapy followed. Now 26-years-old, Schaefer won his battle against cancer. This week he won another battle. After years of lobbying congress, a provision with his name on it is the law of the land.

Ben Amstutz / Flickr Creative Commons

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials have decided to reaffirm their previous decision to close a popular hot spring near Boise. The decision to close the hot spring for five years comes after failed attempts over the last year from citizen groups to keep Skinny Dipper Hot Spring open.

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.

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