Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

A legislative panel will not submit a recommendation to the Idaho Legislature on whether or not the state's law allowing families to cite religious reasons for medical decisions without fear of being charged with a crime should be repealed, punting any chance for change back to individual lawmakers who have previously failed to gain traction inside the religiously conservative Statehouse.

Another Republican has rescinded his endorsement of Donald Trump after a video tape surfaced Friday that captured him making vulgar and sexually charged comments about women.

Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho posted a statement on Twitter on Saturday morning saying Trump's pattern of behavior left him no choice but to drop his endorsement.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

This November, Idahoans will see a familiar constitutional amendment on their ballots. The measure, though, has a high-level critic in state government.

Charles Dharapak / AP Images

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) is sponsoring a new bill that aims to make it easier for military veterans to access health care, especially in rural areas.

Idaho Bureau of Land Management

A new legal analysis from a group of Western attorneys general casts doubt on many of the arguments Utah has put forward in its push to gain control of millions of acres of federal land.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Capital Press this week wrote a piece articulating the tensions between rural and urban districts in Idaho, and how a power shift to Ada County may alter the state's identity. As people continue to move to the Treasure Valley in large numbers (Ada County grew by 29 percent between 2000-2015, Canyon County grew by 44 percent), representation in the statehouse will also increase.

Kate Haake / AP

Anti-Medicaid expansion advocates are warning Idaho lawmakers that expanding the federal health care program designed to cover the poor will end up costing the state millions and do little to drive down medical fees.

Instead, those advocates on Wednesday urged the small legislative group tasked with reviewing Idaho's so-called Medicaid gap to consider supporting more charity care and finding jobs for the unemployed.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

After an hour-long fundraiser with Trump supporters in Boise, the eldest child of presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke briefly to reporters Thursday. Wearing jeans and cowboy boots, Donald Trump Jr. made his love of western states known.

“I love the West," says the New York businessman, "I love the western states, I’m a big outdoorsman. I was always drawn to this part of the world and I’m just excited to be here."

Idaho Statesman

The two Idaho Supreme Court candidates hoping to replace Chief Justice Jim Jones both say they support promoting pro bono work across the state.

Pro bono refers to work done by attorneys on a volunteer basis for free or reduced rates.

However, neither Twin Falls attorney Robyn Brody nor state GOP Sen. Curt McKenzie say they track how many hours of pro bono work they provide. Both candidates say they believe they clock more than the suggested 50 hours of free or reduced-fee legal services each year.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day spoke at the Ada County Republican Roundup at Governor Butch Otter’s ranch Tuesday. The Idaho visit was one of many she’s making to drum up support for presidential nominee Donald Trump and connect with local Republican leaders around the country.

Inciweb

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council is meeting for the first time in Boise. The national committee was created in 2002, and includes officials from different national and state firefighting agencies. They meet regularly, often not leaving Washington D.C.

Wednesday, the group is getting a chance to see the effects of wildfire in the Great Basin firsthand.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has completed his mission of visiting every incorporated city in Idaho over the past two years.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Crapo, a Republican, checked off his final town last week with a stop in Wardner in North Idaho's Silver Valley.

He had hoped to hold hour-long, town-hall-style meetings in each of the 200 cities, but not all of them had town halls. In those cases, Crapo held meetings in parks -- and, in one case, under a picnic shelter during a rainstorm.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Following news that the Idaho Republican Party had opened three field offices in traditional Democratic strongholds like Blaine County and that the GOP planned to open more, Democrats pointed out they'd also sent out operatives. Dean Ferguson with Idaho’s Democratic Party says state Democratic leaders started sending out field organizers in February and now have seven assigned in key legislative districts.

Idaho Statesman

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill has requested that legislative auditors investigate the travel expenses of two lawmakers facing allegations of having an extramarital affair.

Hill told The Associated Press Thursday that auditors will begin reviewing the past three years of travel vouchers of Republicans Rep. Christy Perry, of Nampa, and Sen. Jim Guthrie, of McCammon.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho only has a handful of competitive legislative races in the upcoming general election, but party officials on both sides are prepping for heated battles in key legislative districts across the state.

The state's Republican Party recently announced the launch of field offices in Lewiston, Moscow and Blaine County, some of the most strongly Democratic places in this super-majority Republican state. 

Idaho GOP executive director David Johnston says there are parts of Idaho his party will win without much effort. But others, he says, will be a fight.

Andrew Dallos / Flickr Creative Commons

With just 90 days left until the general election, a new candidate has joined the race for president – in a last-minute challenge to Donald Trump. 

Forty-year-old Evan McMullin is a final hope for some conservatives unhappy with the GOP choice for president. The relatively unknown Republican has been a CIA operative, a House GOP adviser and worked for Goldman Sachs.

Josh / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho parents are shielded from prosecution if they refuse modern medical care for their children because they believe in faith healing. The laws allowing this exemption date back to 1972. 

Thursday morning, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will hear from people who want these laws changed. Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) is on the working group, and says the issue is about child protection … and that religion should not be used to shield parents. 
 

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Public officials, civic leaders and members of the Idaho media wrapped up a three-day conference in Boise Tuesday. Their focus: to figure out ways to make political discourse in the state more civil.

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