Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Big Dubya / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is now one of more than 30 states that has a closed or semi closed primary. For the first time Tuesday voters must declare a party affiliation before casting a ballot. That presents an ethical dilemma for some people who want to remain non-partisan including journalists.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Close to three hundred people are vying for a chance to sit in the Idaho Legislature next year.  Tomorrow’s  primaries will pit party members against each other for the chance to compete in the general election in November.  Gary Moncrief is watching the races closely.  The political science professor with Boise State says redistricting is the reason behind the large candidate turnout.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters go to the polls to cast ballots in the primaries tomorrow.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

So you’re planning to vote in a Primary on Tuesday.  Here’s what you need to know: 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

County election headquarters around Idaho are busy places ahead of tomorrow’s primary - especially in Ada County.  The state’s most populous county re-did its Election Headquarters after the last Presidential Election.  Samantha Wright took a tour to find out how your vote gets counted in Ada County.

Elephants
Lockheed Martin

Last week, the Air Force held public hearings on possibly basing its newest fighter jets in Mountain Home.  They drew about fifty people from the Treasure Valley. The search for a suitable home for the F-35A is now in its second year, but it’s unlikely the jets will actually end up in Mountain Home.   

The White House

Northwest gay rights supporters are cheering President Obama’s comments that he thinks same sex couples should be able to marry. But organizers of a petition drive to repeal Washington’s new marriage equality law hope to capitalize on the President’s new stance.

Referendum 74 is the name of the repeal measure in Washington. Backers say so far they’ve collected 70,000 signatures. That’s fewer than half the total the campaign hopes to submit to ensure the measure makes it on the November ballot. The deadline is June 6th.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Now that the Idaho Republican Party has opted for a closed primary, voters will encounter some big changes at the polling booth.  Elections officials are trying to explain the new format to the public, and prepare workers for questions on voting day.  Lots of questions. 

Helen Robins is gearing up for Election Day.  She’s petite, energetic, and she laughs a lot.  She’s been a poll worker and a Chief Judge, that’s the person in charge at a precinct.  “I think I’ve seen it all…”

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

When you vote in the primary next Tuesday, you must, for the first time, register for a political party.  That’s after the Idaho Republican Party sued the state for the right to close its primary.  The GOP argued party faithful, not crossover Democrats, should pick Republican candidates.

Idaho Exceeds Tax Collection Expectations In April

May 8, 2012
Division of Financial Management

Tax collections were slightly higher than expected for April.  Idaho’s general fund, the state’s main bank account, topped revenue forecasts by $500,000.

Q&A: Who Gets Idaho's Tax Breaks? Why Details Are In The Dark

May 4, 2012
401K / Flickr

StateImpact Idaho has rolled out a series of stories this week on tax incentive transparency in Idaho.  That is, what is and isn’t public information when it comes to business tax credits and exemptions. 

Almost always, tax incentives are created in the name of economic development.  But in Idaho, little information is available about whether these incentives create jobs and grow companies. 

Scott Graf talks with StateImpact reporter Emilie Ritter Saunders about the lack of transparency surrounding Idaho's business tax incentives. 

Greg LeRoy is the executive director of Good Jobs First. / Good Jobs First

Good Jobs First is a non-partisan, non-profit government transparency advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.  It was founded in 1998 by Greg LeRoy, who is now executive director. LeRoy has been studying tax incentive transparency for more than two decades.  We recently spoke with him to learn more about what he considers ‘transparent enough,’ and what states are doing to open incentive information to the public. 

Q: What is transparent enough? What should people have the right to see?

Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter (R) is in Utah Friday to meet with other chief executives from neighboring states.  It’s the first ever meeting of what’s called the Rocky Mountain Roundtable.  They discussed common issues like public lands, water resources, and endangered species. 

http://www.uidaho.edu/

Boise State’s Andrus Center for Public Policy has a new director. David Adler will take the reins of the nonpartisan center in July. Adler has spent the past two years as founding director of the McClure Center for Public Policy at the University of Idaho. Before that he taught political science at Idaho State University.

Northwestern Lawmakers Tweak Postal Reform Bill

Apr 26, 2012

Rural post offices in the Northwest would remain open through the November elections under a bill approved by the U.S. Senate Wednesday. The measure includes an amendment aimed at preserving Washington and Oregon’s vote-by-mail systems. 

To get out of the red, postal administrators want to overhaul the agency. Their plan calls for closing dozens of facilities in the Northwest. That could slow delivery speeds.

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