Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

As many politicians have retreated from facing constituents in person at town hall meetings over the last few months, Idaho's Raul Labrador is bucking the trend by scheduling two town halls later this month.

The first public event the Republican congressman will hold is Wednesday, April 19. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Meridian Middle School Auditorium. Labrador's second town hall will be held at Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa on April 24; it also starts in the evening at 6:30.

Representative Bryan Zollinger / Facebook

Tuesday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill to repeal the six percent sales tax on groceries. Wednesday, two lawmakers said that veto was invalid and the repeal now becomes law.

GOP Representatives Ron Nate and Bryan Zollinger say Governor Butch Otter’s veto came too late to be valid.

 

Gregory Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter allowed a transportation funding bill to become law Tuesday, despite concerns over how the plan came to be.

The $320 million transportation plan takes about $15 million out of the general fund through sales tax – which is used to pay for things like public schools. Governor Otter is not happy with this funding formula, but with bridges and roads falling apart across the state he allowed the bill to become law – without his signature.

AP

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann says he will retire this fall after more than 16 years on the state's highest court.

Eismann has served in the state's judiciary for three decades, first as a magistrate judge in Owyhee County and later as a district judge in Ada County. He joined the high court in 2000 after defeating incumbent Cathy Silak in a highly contentious and partisan race.

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Idaho’s legislative delegation in Washington, D.C. is weighing in on Thursday’s missile strikes against a Syrian airfield. The pinpoint military action used 59 cruise missiles to blast an airfield in Syria said to be the site where planes carrying chemical weapons were based.

AP

A key legislative leader is promising to reintroduce a proposal amending Idaho's constitution to expand the rights of crime victims and their families.

Senate Majority Caucus Chair Todd Lakey said Thursday he will bring back his proposal during the 2018 legislative session after his first version was spiked by a House committee earlier this year.

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State Representative Janet Trujillo of Idaho Falls is married to House Majority leader Mike Moyle of Star. Hailing from the eastern part of the state, Trujillo is facing scrutiny for collecting thousands of dollars meant to offset the cost of maintaining a residence in Boise –  despite the fact her husband's home is less than 20 miles from the Statehouse.

Butch Otter, Idaho Governor
Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told reporters Monday he plans to appeal the federal government’s decision not to give Idaho disaster aid. He made the request to help pay for the cost of this year’s severe winter storms and spring floods.

J Pat Carter / AP Images

Tuesday, April 18 is tax day. In Idaho, residents will file both state and federal income taxes. The Gem State has had this kind of tax since 1931.

But if you were hoping for some income tax relief on the state level you’ll have to wait at least another year.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

The state legislature wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, less than a week after leadership had hoped to adjourn.

The minority party went into this legislative session on its heels after losing four seats in the November election. Out of 105 House and Senate members, only 17 were Democrats.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho employers will pay millions of dollars more than necessary in unemployment insurance taxes after a bill that was supposed to lower those costs failed on the final day of the 2017 session.

Officials from the Idaho Department of Labor and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office had pushed lawmakers to reduce a key component in how Idaho calculates the unemployment insurance tax rate because the fund Idaho uses to pay unemployment benefits has more money in it than needed.

This would have saved employers an estimated $115 million over the next three years.

Charlie Litchfield / AP

The Idaho Legislature closed up shop and went home Wednesday. The session went five days longer than leadership had anticipated.

The session was notable for a few bills, including transportation funding and tax cuts, which were sticking points at the end of the session. Lawmakers also didn’t find a solution for the 78,000 Idahoans who fall in the Medicaid gap and don’t have health insurance.

A majority of lawmakers in the Idaho House came out in favor of issuing $90 million in bonds to construct new facilities at the Idaho National Lab.

After vigorous debate Tuesday night, House members voted 56-14 in favor of issuing the bonds for construction of a cybersecurity training center and a facility that will house a supercomputer.

Idaho National Guard

Lawyers for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are continuing their efforts to have the desertion case against their client dismissed because of disparaging remarks made by Donald Trump while he was campaigning for president.

AP

A massive transportation funding bill is making its way through the Idaho Statehouse as lawmakers hope to finish their work before the end of the day.

Senate members spent nearly two hours Tuesday debating a roughly $320 million proposal to funnel more money to roads and bridges. A similar proposal had failed in the Senate chamber just last week on a 15-20 vote. This forced transportation and infrastructure advocates scrambling to rewrite a new plan before adjournment, which in the end wooed enough lawmakers to vote 19-16.

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