Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Governor Butch Otter and state Attorney General Lawrence Wasden are threatening to sue the Trump Administration if it doesn’t abolish a holdover policy from former President Obama.

This week, the Idaho leaders joined nine other attorneys general from Republican-led states who want to curtail the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The program protects some undocumented people from deportation who were brought to the country when they were small children.

sheep, pasture, barn
Heidi Schuyt / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson will try to keep open an Idaho sheep experiment station despite President Donald Trump's proposed budget calling for its elimination.

The Post-Register reported Tuesday that Clark County economic development officials worry closure of the station could have a major negative impact on the economy.

The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station employs 14 full-time researchers. It's one of the most significant employers in the county that about 860 people live in.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

After being constructed in secret by a small group of Republican senators, a push is underway to pass a bill reforming the nation's health care system.

For perspective on what changes could be in store both nationally and in Idaho, Matt Guilhem spoke to Dr. David Pate, the President and CEO of St. Luke's Health System.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Washington County Commissioners passed an emergency declaration ahead of what many think will be a massive influx of visitors for August's solar eclipse.

The town of Weiser has a little over 5,000 residents. The tiny community on the Oregon border could swell up to six times that size during the third weekend in August which will culminate in a total eclipse Monday, August 21.  

Taylor Munson / Boise State Public Radio

Residents from around the state gathered outside the offices of both Idaho Senator’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch Wednesday and Thursday. They demonstrated in opposition to the new Senate healthcare bill, called the American Health Care Act.

 

 

The bill is similar to the one passed by the House last month, with only a few modifications. Protester Laurie Burelle is concerned with the bill’s potential impact on women’s health.

 

AJForIdaho.com

Boise businessman and school board member Anthony Joseph "A.J." Balukoff said Thursday he's considering running as a Democrat for governor in 2018.

Balukoff spent more than $3 million of his own funds in a loss to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in 2014. Otter won nearly 54 percent of the vote to less than 39 percent for Balukoff.

Otter has said he won't seek reelection next year.

Balukoff, 71, said he's willing to launch another campaign, but his wife is unsure. He plans on making a final decision this fall.

Washington Post screenshot / YouTube

A judge said Thursday that he won't allow lawyers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to ask potential military jurors whether they voted for President Donald Trump as the defense seeks signs of bias against their client.

The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, is allowing the defense to ask prospective panel members other questions about whether they were influenced by negative comments Trump made about Bergdahl. But Nance said at a pretrial hearing that a written questionnaire couldn't ask directly how they voted.

Layne Bangerter / Facebook

The former director of President Donald Trump's election campaign in Idaho said Monday he is seriously considering running for the state's open U.S. House seat.

Layne Bangerter of Melba told The Associated Press that he's weighing several options — including a possible appointment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — but running for Idaho's 1st Congressional District is a strong possibility.

"I'm still working out the logistics, but if it unfolds, it'll be a great time," Banger said.

Idaho Reps Oppose Trump Restrictions On Cuban Trade

Jun 16, 2017
Ramon Espinosa / AP

 

Friday, President Trump announced a rollback of some Obama-era policy initiatives between the United States and Cuba. Two Idaho State Representatives oppose the move.

Idaho Representatives Mat Erpelding and Luke Malek released a statement condemning the potential implications of further restrictions with Cuba.  

In the statement, they said the move would be “a missed opportunity for the country and a substantive blow to potentially lucrative markets here in Idaho.”

 

Rebecca Boone / AP Photo

The Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case that could decide the future of a 6 percent sales tax on groceries.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year removing the tax. They adjourned and went home. Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill, 11 days after adjournment. And that’s where the controversy started.

Some GOP lawmakers filed suit, arguing the Idaho Constitution says a governor has ten days to veto a bill after adjournment. But in 1978, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the governor has ten days, starting when he gets the bill.

Youtube

Former state senator Russ Fulcher of Meridian is bowing out of the race for governor and pursuing a run for Congress.

After spending the last nine months running to replace Governor Butch Otter, Fulcher now has his sights set on filling Raul Labrador’s shoes in Washington D.C. The five-term Republican lawmaker released a video online making the announcement.

Youtube

Idaho Senator Jim Risch was among the Intelligence Committee members who questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday. Risch seemed to suggest the committee is wasting its time looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.

Boise State Public Radio

Leaders in the Idaho Legislature are assembling a working group to examine ethics and financial disclosure requirements in the state.

Idaho is one of just three states requiring no financial disclosures for state legislators, other elected officials, and government appointees. So-called “revolving door” laws that prevent officials from immediately hopping into similar roles in the private sector – those too are absent.

AP

One member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who questioned former FBI Director James Comey Thursday morning was Idaho’s Jim Risch. Risch opened by complimenting Comey, but the Idaho senator quickly got down to business.

Risch jumped right into his questioning of former Director Comey. Noting his time was limited, Risch said, “I want to drill right down to the most recent dust-up regarding allegations that the President of the United States obstructed justice.”

Brad Little, Politics
BradLittleForIdaho.com

If Lt. Gov. Brad Little wins his bid to be Idaho's next governor in 2018, he will be the only candidate to already have hands-on experience with the job.

The two-term Republican has served as acting governor 373 times since taking over the second-in-command position in 2009, according to records requested by The Associated Press.

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