Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Entrance Steps
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As we wrap up the fourth week of the Idaho Legislature, lawmakers have been bringing forward more bills, covering issues from tax breaks to hunting and fishing fees.

One bill that came up this week was a preemptive move by some state lawmakers who want to keep so-called "Sanctuary Cities" out of Idaho. Boise State University Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says it’s indicative of the power that some state legislatures have over their largest cities.

AP

A bill seeking to ban lucrative electronic pull-tab games in Idaho is on its way to the House floor despite objections from state lottery officials that the betting terminals are not slot machines.

The House State Affairs Committee reluctantly endorsed legislation Thursday to repeal electronic pull-tab machines, known as touch tabs. The machines mimic the classic pull-tab lotto tickets but are paperless and are played almost exclusively in bars and restaurants.

"Let's slow it down, let's draw the line here," said Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, the bill's sponsor.

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

Managers for Idaho's catastrophic health care program say they are struggling to predict how much money they will need next year due to uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Roger Christensen, chairman of the Catastrophic Health Care Fund board and a Bonneville County commissioner, told members on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Wednesday that the program is requesting $18 million for fiscal year 2018, the same as this year.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Idaho's entirely Republican political delegation in Washington DC offered kind words for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Both Senator Mike Crapo and Representative Raul Labrador praised Trump's selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy left by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The Boise City Council has voted unanimously to adopt a resolution affirming the city's role as a welcoming community and a community of refuge.

The Idaho Statesman reports the resolution passed Tuesday declares "the City of Boise is committed to being a Welcoming City and creating a community where all of our residents feel welcomed, safe and able to fully participate in, and contribute to, our city's economic and social life."

Idaho Fish & Game Headquarters Office Sign Director
Dan Greenwood / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is trying to figure out its next move after a plan to increase hunting and fishing fees for the first time in roughly 13 years got shot down.

Spokesman Mike Keckler said Tuesday that the agency's director and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission are working on possible alternatives.

The chairman of the House Resources and Conservation Committee, Republican Rep. Marc Gibbs of Grace, told the commission Friday that the proposed legislation had problems and wouldn't advance.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would expand the list of the worst kind of felons banned from owning firearms.

Lawmakers spiked a similar effort last year after Republicans opposed including felony convictions for arson, racketeering and rioting as qualifiers to lose one's right to own firearms.

Under the new proposal, terrorists, criminal gang members, human trafficking and hijacking convictions would be banned from owning firearms, even if they are discharged from their sentences.

AP

University presidents in Idaho and Washington State are urging foreign students to avoid trips home or international travel following President Donald Trump's recent executive order.

The order blocks people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, along with other limitations placed on refugees.

Idaho Democratic Leader Responds To Immigration Bill

Jan 31, 2017
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Monday Idaho House Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) introduced a bill opposing the adoption of sanctuary cities. Although Idaho has no sanctuary cities in place, the lawmaker says his proposal would ensure that no state funding would ever be given to cities and counties that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
 
House Minority leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) blasted the bill.
 

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Social media requests to flood the phone lines of Idaho’s congressional delegation seem to be working. Over the weekend, the voicemail inboxes of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and Sen. Mike Crapo were full.

According to Crapo communications director Lindsay Nothern, the Boise office was fielding calls from Idahoans all Monday morning. Nothern says he personally took dozens of calls.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

More than 600 people held signs, chanted and demonstrated yesterday at the Boise Airport in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entering the country.

“No hate. No Fear. Refugees are welcome here!” resounded through the concourse between the airport’s check-in counters and security area.

AP

Idaho residents flocked to the Capitol Friday to urge lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, address Idaho's medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.

The testimony was part of the annual listening session hosted by the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Steps
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

North Idaho Representative Heather Scott stood on the House floor Friday and asked to be allowed to return to her committees.

“I respectfully request that I be returned to my committees so I can properly perform my duly elected position and the voice of the citizens in District 1 in North Idaho will no longer be silenced," said Scott.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets.

John Miller / AP Images

Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson will resign at the end of February, after serving the district of Idaho for the last six years. She was sworn in by former President Barack Obama.

According to Idaho Reports, Olson says she is anticipating changes under President Donald Trump and wants to choose when she would leave her post. U.S. attorneys serve at the discretion of the president.

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