Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Governor “Butch” Otter said Friday the legislature had “81 very successful days.”  That’s how long it took to wrap up this session. 

Gavels Down: Idaho Lawmakers Go Home

Mar 30, 2012
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers wrapped up business Thursday and called an end to the 2012 legislative session.  In the Idaho House, legislators joked over the motion to adjourn.  “You’ve heard the motion, all those in favor say aye…Aye!...All those opposed say nay…Nay…The ayes appear to have it. The ayes do have it. The House stands adjourned Sine Die.”

Idaho Lawmakers Sprint To The Finish Line

Mar 29, 2012
Kevin Rank / Flickr

Idaho lawmakers are finishing up business today, trying end the 2012 Idaho Legislative Session. 

The House adjourned mid afternoon with some levity in the air.  “You’ve heard the motion. All those in favor say aye…" A resounding "Aye!" filled the chamber. Then House Speaker Lawrence Denny asked, "All those opposed say nay." The "nays" were nearly equal to the aye votes but all of it was done in fun. And after some laughter Denny brought the gavel down on the session.  

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature fast tracked a bill today that concerns how the Capitol Mall gets used.  This comes at the same time that Occupy Boise continues to keep a tent city up at the mall. That's been going on since November.  The bill creates rules for the area around the statehouse, for current and future protests. 

Voters Will Decide Right To Hunt Amendment

Mar 27, 2012
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Come November Idaho voters will decide if they want to amend the state constitution to enshrine hunting, fishing and trapping. The proposal, known as the Right to Hunt Amendment, passed the Senate today. Sen. Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls) wrapped up the Senate’s discussion by saying he has trouble finding workers for his construction business during hunting season. “The people of Idaho love to hunt fish and trap and I would urge that you help them by passing this joint resolution and allowing them the privilege of having this, their constitution amended to reflect those rights.”

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho State Police officers escorted Occupy Boise protestors out of a hearing room Monday morning.  That’s after a panel of Idaho lawmakers approved a bill to create rules for how the Capitol Mall is used.  Occupy Boise continues its vigil out on the state-run Mall.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Since 2009, Idaho lawmakers have tried, and failed, to pass a bill to ban texting while driving.  Until today.  Senators passed a ban this morning and sent it to Governor Butch Otter.  The version that passed was watered down from the original legislation proposed earlier this session.  Sen. Jim Hammond, (R-Coeur d'Alene), the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee says “If you get cited for texting while driving, you will be cited but it will not count as points against you on your insurance.”


The Idaho Senate voted Thursday to streamline the way cable TV companies enter local markets, but the bill could jeopardize funding for the Treasure Valley’s public access station.  

For several years, supporters of Treasure Valley Community Television resisted efforts to change the way their public access channels are funded.  The fight continued this legislative session.  Backers say money for the public access station would be cut.  Each local, cable subscriber is billed ten cents to fund the Treasure Valley station, but the Senate-passed bill doesn’t mention this fee. 

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

An ethics panel unanimously dismissed charges against state Sen. Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth).  Idaho Democrats accused the lawmaker of violating conflict of interest rules on an oil and gas bill.  Wednesday’s ethics panel discussion played out like a courtroom drama.   

Idaho State Legislature

The ethics investigation of Idaho Sen. Monty Pearce (R- New Plymouth) entered its third day Wednesday.  He's accused of not disclosing his oil and gas leases before voting on nearly two dozen bills dealing with that industry.  Democrats drilled down on one bill Tuesday that Pearce voted on.   

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Driving while texting is one step closer to being banned.  House lawmakers agreed today to make texting while driving an infraction under Idaho code.  Bill supporter' said it would send a strong message to drivers, especially teenagers, of the dangers of texting while driving Rep. Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow) likened the car to a weapon.  “And people can be hurt or worse and it’s incredibly irresponsible to text while you’re driving, it puts other people’s lives in danger and if this bill gives a message to some people that that’s not the right thing to do, I think it’s very much worthwhile and

Scott Ki / BSPR

The ethics investigation of Sen. Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth) began Monday.  Pearce is accused of a potential conflict of interest over his personal oil and gas holdings.

Strategy Against KKK Candidate Is To Ignore Him

Mar 19, 2012

Human rights advocates in north Idaho don’t expect a white supremacist to get very far in his bid for sheriff. Shaun Winkler is a candidate in the Republican primary for Bonner County’s top law enforcement office. Winkler’s critics say the best strategy is to ignore him.

Winkler was a young follower of Richard Butler, who headed the Aryan Nations for decades from his north Idaho compound.


BOISE, ID – A new investigative project ranks Idaho 40th out of 50 states for government accountability and openness.  The Gem State fails six categories outright, including ethics enforcement agencies.  The study comes out Monday as state senators investigate one of their own.

A new investigative project ranks Idaho 40th out of 50 states for government accountability and openness.  The Gem State fails six categories outright, including ethics enforcement agencies.  The study comes out Monday as state senators investigate one of their own.