Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Bills were flying fast and furious in and out of the Idaho House and Senate this week, as lawmakers try to meet next Friday’s deadline to wrap up the session and go home.

As week ten of the legislature comes to a close, lawmakers still haven’t solved the Medicaid Gap in Idaho. Those are the people who can’t afford health care but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Transportation funding and a tax cut are also still in the mix.

Boise State University political science professor Gary Moncrief says there are still around 100 bills to be considered in the House and Senate.

Gothia Towers / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill shielding yoga training from state regulations is headed to the governor's desk for approval.

The Idaho Senate on Monday cleared a measure to exempt certain yoga instruction programs from being regulated just like for-profit vocational schools, which oversee students enrolled in programs such as truck driving or welding.

Michael Kappel / Flickr Creative Commons

Questions linger about a bill that passed the Idaho House Transportation Committee Friday looking to designate who's responsible for snow removal.

Under current law, highway districts are required to maintain city streets, curbs and gutters. In 2013, snow removal was added to the list of responsibilities. The proposed legislation would do away with the 2013 snow-removal addition.

Idaho Ed News

Frustrations boiled over this week in the Idaho House, as conservative lawmakers tried to make a stand against their fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

The House came to a standstill not once, but twice this week, as a small group, which includes some north Idaho Republicans, used procedural moves in favor of one bill and against another. Both times, their attempts failed and revealed the cracks in the GOP between the very conservative members and the more mainstream Republican leadership.

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

Idaho lawmakers advanced a bill that would reverse two anti-abortion laws if passed.

Earlier this year, a federal judge told Idaho lawmakers that he would strike down two anti-abortion laws if they don’t reverse those measures at the state level. In 2015, Idaho passed two laws that banned women from being prescribed abortion-inducing medicine through telemedicine.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Caldwell Chamber of Commerce is encouraging residents and business owners to write to lawmakers calling for the expansion of I-84.

The Chamber wants a 10-mile stretch between Franklin Boulevard in Nampa and the Franklin Road in Caldwell widened beyond the current 2 lanes in each direction.

Local leaders tell KTVB miles of traffic backups are hurting established businesses and scaring away new ones from setting up shop in the area.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

About 2,000 people gathered at the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Saturday. A coalition of conservation and environmental groups organized the rally.

People traveled from all over the state to rally in support of public lands. They held signs and led chants, many dressed in hunter orange and camo.

About 60 percent of the state is owned by the federal government, a fact that was repeated several times by organizers of the event.

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

Bills have been speeding their way through the Idaho Legislature during week eight of the session.

The budget committee passed a bill to increase the public schools budget. Fish and Game brought a new hunting fees bill to lawmakers. And more of the action is moving out of committees and onto the House and Senate Floors.

US Air Force / Flickr Creative Commons

Heavy snow has damaged roads, caused roofs to collapse and made this winter one for the record books. With spring just around the corner, a proposal to spend $52 million to help the state clean up and repair damage from the blistering winter is gaining traction.

State budget writers approved tapping Idaho's financial surplus to help fix flood and storm damage. The money still needs to be approved by the state Senate and House before being doled out. The state's finance committee says it'll attach an emergency clause to the bill allowing the funds to be accessed immediately.

Vito Barbieri
Matt Cilley / AP Images

Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt public officials from fulfilling certain public records requests. He brought up the proposal in the House State Affairs Committee.

Boise State Public Radio

Tommy Ahlquist is the third Republican to throw his hat in the race to be Idaho’s governor. He made his bid official Tuesday by filing the requisite paperwork for the 2018 race.

A member of the LDS church, Ahlquist is the Chief Operating Officer of the Gardner Company – the developer who has helped revitalized downtown Boise. Before working for Gardner, he was an emergency room doctor for almost two decades.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Images

We checked in with a few voters in Boise right after President Donald Trump's speech Tuesday night.

Republican Tyler Ricks actually voted for libertarian Gary Johnson last November. He wasn’t convinced candidate Trump would bring real change to Washington. But Ricks says he was happy to hear the president sound more – well – presidential.

“It was more calm," says Ricks. "And I think that came across – you know that he does truly care about Americans.”

He says Trump’s speech spoke to him directly.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke has appointed Republican Rep. Clark Kauffman of Filer to serve on the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs. His appointment replaces Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, from the board. Chaeny has served on it since 2015.

Boise Police Department Cop Car
Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

A bipartisan bill to reform civil asset forfeiture rules is making its way through the Statehouse. Civil asset forfeiture is typically used by law enforcement to seize property in drug cases to keep profits from those illicit transactions out of the hands of drug dealers.

Flickr Creative Commons

House lawmakers have killed legislation allowing FBI background checks on some state employees despite warnings from the bill's sponsor that doing so will cause the state to lose critical federal funding.

The proposal would have allowed the Department of Labor to conduct FBI fingerprint-based background checks on employees, applicants, contractors, interns and other. The federal government requires the checks for any employee who handles confidential taxpayer information.

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