Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Courtesy: Hy Kloc

An Idaho Democratic lawmaker's resolution honoring immigrants and refugees faced opposition from a legislative panel after Republican members questioned the timeliness of such praise.

Rep. Hy Kloc, of Boise, says his resolution introduced Thursday is intended to recognize the ongoing contributions of immigrants and refugees in Idaho.

Kloc, who was born in a refugee camp in Germany and whose parents were Holocaust survivors, said he came to the United States as a refugee in 1949. Last year, he backed a resolution honoring the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Joint Finance Appropriations Committee
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Friday we wrap up week six of the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are getting down to the business of passing bills in committees and sending them to the House and Senate floor.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, or JFAC considered the final budget requests from the state agencies this week. That means this panel of 20 is switching gears and will start to draft bills, in fact, the committee is expected to write close to 100 budget bills.

Adam Theo / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers are considering joining fellow Republican-dominated states calling for a constitutional amendment to limit federal government power.

Nigel Duara / AP Images

State lawmakers are considering putting an end to mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. The proposal has bipartisan support, but still has several hurdles to jump before becoming a law.

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, says she first became aware of issues surrounding mandatory drug sentences when she spoke with judges around the state. The Boise lawmaker says Idaho’s standards are more stringent than they need to be, going above and beyond federal statute.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Secretary of State believes a federal agency may have tried to hack the state's election website around the date of the presidential election without notifying Idaho officials in advance.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's IP address showed up as trying to access the state elections site around Nov. 8, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said Monday. Similar accusations were made by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in December, reported The Post Register reports.

Interfaith Equality Coalition / Facebook

Nearly 30 Idaho clergy and faith representatives filled Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office on Wednesday urging the Republican to welcome all refugees and not just give preference to persecuted Christians.

Otter recently announced that Christian refugees should be treated as a priority in the U.S. refugee program and then acknowledged his stance was discriminatory. Otter has since backed away from that claim, but his remarks have sparked alarm among the state's faith leaders.

screenshot / YouTube

After this week’s resignation of retired General Mike Flynn as President Trump’s National Security Adviser, Democrats on Capitol Hill called for an investigation.

state seal, legislature
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Monday was a busy day at the Statehouse.

capitol, JFAC
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On Monday, the Idaho Legislature fielded a flurry of bills from committees. That’s by design.

The 36th calendar day of each legislative session is the last day that personal bills can be introduced in most committees. That was Monday, which resulted in a glut of bills popping up in committees.

Boise State University Political Science professor Gary Moncrief says after the deadline, it gets harder to get bills into the Legislature.

Utility, Inc. / Flickr

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation on new video retention requirements for police body cameras.

In Idaho, individual police departments decide whether or not they want to implement body-worn cameras because there is no statewide policy on the practice. This has sparked debate over the best guidelines on retention, as well as how much police footage should be released to the public.

Teresa Baker, with the Idaho Association of Counties, says the costs of storing police video footage can be crippling for some local jurisdictions.

AP

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would create a new state program designed to provide basic health care to Idaho adults who currently don't have health insurance.

The Spokesman-Review reports that House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Wood, a Republican from Burley, said Monday that his $10 million proposal would be funded by a state endowment fund.

Wood's plan would only offer primary care services on a first-come, first-served basis.

An Idaho Senate panel has introduced legislation that would allow two options for driver's licenses — one that complies with federal identification requirements and one that doesn't.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Republican Sen. Steve Vick, of Dalton Gardens, said Thursday that some people have concerns about privacy issues and older drivers not being able to provide all the necessary documents.

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

Week five is just about over for the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers have debated the definition of casino-style gambling, Fish and Game fees and man-made climate change. And Representatives on the House floor made the rare move to kill a bill about license plates, only the second time this session a bill has gone down to defeat there.

Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House panel has approved new K-12 science standards, but only after striking key references to climate change caused by human behavior.

This is the third year the Idaho Legislature has struggled to agree on science standards for public schools. Previous efforts that included references to global warming and the origin of the universe have been rejected by Republicans unhappy that the language didn't offer alternative views.

Michael Kappel / Flickr

The ongoing battle over appropriate Indian gambling is once again coming to a head in the Idaho Legislature, with both sides preparing to rip open old wounds.

Rep. Tom Loertscher, a Republican from Iona, introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban lucrative video gambling terminals inside the tribes' casinos. The proposal was tepidly accepted by the House State Affairs Committee, with some lawmakers raising concerns about the ripple effects of the bill.

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