Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke removed Republican Rep. Heather Scott from her three legislative committee assignments last week, causing a stir in the statehouse. Bedke made the announcement after Scott commented to another female lawmaker that women only move up in the capitol by trading sexual favors.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Interior Department was questioned by a senate committee Tuesday. Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke was pushed on several hot button land use issues -- issues he’s well acquainted with as a Montana congressman.

 

When it comes to questions about how he would manage the relationship between states and federal land managers, the greater sage grouse inevitably came up. The imperiled bird narrowly avoided landing on the Endangered Species List, but the debate over how to save the bird remains contentious.  

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s been a tumultuous first two weeks in the Idaho Legislature. It started last week when Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke removed Republican Representative Heather Scott from her committee assignments for comments she made about her colleagues.

The move came after Scott was accused of telling another lawmaker that women in the House trade sexual favors with leadership to secure committee chairmanships. That’s when Representative Christy Perry of Nampa wrote a letter to the Speaker saying Scott displayed aggressive and anti-social behavior during meetings.

Kate Haake / AP Images

On Friday, Boise State University released a survey that examined the attitudes of Idahoans on key policy issues. The second-annual survey included views from 1,000 Idahoans.

 

Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn directed the research team for the survey. Vaughn says they were careful to poll people from different parts of the state, evenly polling both cell and landline phone users.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

UPDATE: 3:24 p.m.: Five Idaho lawmakers surprised the House floor Monday by asking Speaker Scott Bedke to remove them from their committee assignments in a defiant act of solidarity with a female colleague recently admonished for comments on the mobility of women.

Republican Reps. Ron Nate, Priscilla Giddings, Dorothy Moon, Christy Zito, and Karey Hanks made their requests one-by-one on the House floor, sparking murmurs of surprise and criticism among some members on the floor but getting no response from Bedke.

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office says it will not file criminal charges after being asked to review possible voter intimidation and interference in northern Idaho.

Deputy Attorney General Paul Panther sent a letter earlier this week alerting the Bonner County prosecutor's office that he did not find evidence of malicious harassment or stalking.

Samantha Wright/BSPR

The Idaho Legislature has been in session less than a week and lawmakers are already speculating about when they will go home.

Boise State University Professor of Political Science Gary Moncrief says there has been a lot of talk about how long the session will last. He says he’s heard from the media and some lawmakers that it should be a short session.

But in this week’s 2017 Weekly Legislative Update, Moncrief says history doesn’t support that theory.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

AP

A new Idaho lawmaker has said he plans to sponsor a bill during the upcoming legislative session that would classify abortion as first-degree murder for mothers and doctors.

Sen. Dan Foreman's abortion bill would exempt mothers and doctors in cases where the mothers' lives are endangered, The Lewiston Tribune reported Wednesday.

"How can a woman tell her unborn child it has to die?" the Moscow Republican asked. "Who represents the child?"

AP

In the Idaho Statehouse today, far right representative Heather Scott was stripped of all committee assignments after comments she made against fellow female lawmakers.

Nampa representative Christy Perry sent a letter to the Speaker of the Idaho House Scott Bedke yesterday questioning the behavior of fellow Republican lawmaker Heather Scott.

State of Idaho Public Defense Commission.

Idaho's Supreme Court will soon decide whether to revive an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state over its faulty public defense system.

Attorneys on both sides told the high court Wednesday that they agree Idaho's public defense system has serious deficiencies. But the state's attorneys say the blame should lie on the counties, not Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and the state's Public Defense Commission.

Idaho lawmakers underwent a half-day of ethics training Wednesday as part of an ongoing effort by legislative leaders to discourage behavior that damages public confidence in government.

"None of us in this room plan on acting unethically," said Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill of Idaho Falls. "Nor do I think we are going to have a problem this year. But I do think we need to be reminded and rededicate ourselves."

Peter Lovera / Treefort Music Fest

Brace yourself, nerds.

The tech portion of Treefort Music Fest has dropped their lineup of all-things-nerdy coming to Hackfort March 24-25. The top billing will be familiar to those who love podcasts and/or data journalism: host Nate Silver is set to record a live FiveThirtyEight podcast on stage at the Boise festival.  The podcast follows national and local politics, using data to dissect elections and policy. It's regularly in top 100 podcast lists and has a devoted listenership.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter’s 11th State of the State address Monday focused on a number of key issues in the state. But one area the governor spent little time discussing was what’s known as the Medicaid gap, which impacts an estimated 78,000 Idahoans.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

In his Monday State of the State address, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says he’s hopeful President-elect Donald Trump will give Idaho more leeway when it comes to public land management. He says he recently gave Trump’s transition team advice about sage grouse protection and removing federal protections for grizzlies.

 

Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho Governor Butch Otter addressed lawmakers on Monday with his State of the State. He covered traditional topics, such as education, healthcare and public lands, but also spent time talking about cutting-edge technology. 

Coming out of the presidential election, cybersecurity been an issue that’s of great national concern. In his annual state address, Governor Butch Otter called it one of Idaho’s most complex challenges.

He specifically addressed a security breach last August of a licensing website used by Idaho Fish and Game.

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