Politics + Policy

2014 Election
4:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Many Young People Don't Vote, We Explain Why This Young Idahoan Does

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s no secret that young voters are less likely to vote than older voters. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in every presidential election since 1964, 18-to 24-year-olds voted at lower rates than all other age groups. In the last mid-term election, 21.3 percent of 18-to 24-year-olds voted. The number was almost three times higher for those 65 and over.

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Election 2014
7:10 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Idaho's GOP Governor Faces Two Hurdles: A Wealthy Democrat And Fed-Up Republicans

Gov. Butch Otter, with First Lady Lori Otter, spoke at the Republican Party's "unity rally" in May.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A favorite joke in Idaho -- at least among Republicans -- is that Idaho's Democrats could hold their convention in a phone booth.

Republicans have held the Idaho governor's office for 20 years and are easily the state’s ruling party. But this year, Republican governor Butch Otter doesn't face the easy ride back to office you might expect.

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Election 2014
5:51 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Balukoff Puts Up $3.2 Million Into His Campaign For Idaho Governor

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A.J. Balukoff has said he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to unseat incumbent Gov. Butch Otter.

And we now know that includes putting more than $3.2 million into the race.

The latest round of campaign finance reports came in Tuesday — a snapshot covering the period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. In that time, the businessman, accountant and Boise School Board trustee contributed $995,000 to his campaign, bringing his total contributions for the year past the $2.7 million mark. Since Oct. 19, Balukoff has put an additional $545,000 into the race.

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Election 2014
4:59 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

In This Republican Stronghold, Why One Idaho Man Still Votes Democrat

Jerry Panko working in his north Boise front yard.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Jerry Panko vacuums up leaves around the candidate signs in his north Boise front yard. Panko is a retired teacher, he refers to himself a liberal, he’s a big fan of unions and he’s a long-time Democrat.

With Election Day a week away we’re profiling some Idaho voters. We talked with Panko about the experience of being a hardcore Democrat in Idaho.

Panko says the affiliation came in handy nearly three decades ago when he first asked out the woman who would become his wife. She had some requirements for him.

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Gay Rights
9:45 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Lewiston Becomes 9th Idaho City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Officials in the north-central Idaho city of Lewiston have passed an ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Lewiston City Council passed the ordinance Monday on a 5-2 vote.

Lewiston is the ninth city in Idaho to pass an ordinance protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

Election 2014
4:04 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

National GOP Group Drops $500K Into Idaho Governor's Race

TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.

New campaign finance reports show a national Republican group has spent more than $500,000 trying to re-elect Gov. Butch Otter in Idaho.

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Gay Marriage
1:09 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

Federal Government Now Recognizes Gay Marriage In Idaho

Credit MyTudut / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states, extending federal benefits to those couples.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the states are: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Saturday's announcement brings the total number of states with federal recognition of same-sex marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia.

Couples married in these states will qualify for a range of federal benefits, including Social Security and veterans' benefits.

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2014 Election
3:54 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

In Latest Campaign Gaffe, Ybarra's Degrees In Question

Sherri Ybarra is a Republican running to lead Idaho's public schools.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

This story was updated at 6:50 p.m. Oct. 23. 

Sherri Ybarra's campaign has issued a statement about her academic achievements after questions surfaced earlier this week about whether she was in the process of completing a doctorate in education.

Idaho Education News reports that Ybarra is 18 credits shy of completing her doctorate.

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Election 2014
1:52 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

After Scandal, Typically Quiet Idaho Treasurer Race Heats Up

Deborah Silver, left, is running for treasurer against longtime incumbent Ron Crane.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Public Television

Idaho's normally quiet race for state treasurer is heating up during the last leg of the midterm election as four-term incumbent Ron Crane faces off against political newcomer Deborah Silver.

Republican Crane has held the office since 1998 with few viable Democratic opponents.

However, this year he's defending his 16 years in office after a recent legislative audit claimed he mismanaged funds that resulted in a $20 million loss of taxpayer money.

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Gay Marriage
9:38 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Idaho Wedding Chapel That Refuses To Marry Gays Sets Off Conservative Alarm Bells

The Hitching Post in Couer d'Alene has filed a preemptive lawsuit against the city.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Religious conservatives around the country are rallying to the defense of a wedding chapel in north Idaho whose owners don’t want to perform gay marriages.

The mayor of Coeur d’Alene and governor of Idaho are being inundated by hundreds of calls and thousands of emails even though neither has taken any action against the wedding chapel.

The quaint Old West style wedding chapel called the Hitching Post is just across the street from the county courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

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Election 2014
8:13 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Jones-Ybarra Education Debate Highlights Differences School Spending

Democrat Jana Jones, left, and Republican Sherri Ybarra, right.
Credit Idaho Public Television

The two candidates vying for the job of Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction faced off Tuesday night in a debate sponsored by Idaho Public Television. 

Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones are competing to replace Tom Luna, who's stepping down at the end of his current term. 

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Gay Marriage
4:25 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Otter Requests Appeals Court Review Of Idaho Gay Marriage Ruling

Credit State of Idaho

Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter is asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an 11-judge panel to review the three-judge ruling that overturned Idaho's gay marriage ban last week.

Otter announced Tuesday in a news release that the federal judges failed to use the correct legal standard to Idaho's Constitutional definition of marriage.

Otter argues that already one Idaho business has been harmed by the judges' ruling.

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Gay Marriage
2:29 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Idaho Veteran's Cemetery Will Bury Lesbian Couple

Idaho Veteran's Cemetery
Credit Idaho Air National Guard / Flickr

An Idaho Navy veteran, who wanted to be buried with her late wife, will get her wish.

The Spokesman-Review’s Eye on Boise blog reports the head of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery says there’s no longer a reason to keep the two apart. Madelynn Taylor has her wife Jean Mixner's ashes. She wanted to set up arrangements to have her ashes interred with Mixner's at the cemetery in Boise.

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Voting
9:26 am
Fri October 17, 2014

How Idaho Makes It Harder (And Easier) To Vote

Credit Frontline.org

In the past few years, Idaho has made it harder for people to vote. In the past few years, Idaho has made it easier for people to vote. Both of those sentences are true according to PBS Frontline.

A recent article from the PBS show’s website features Ballot Watch, an interactive that lists 18 states that made it harder to vote and six states that have expanded voter access.

Idaho is one of only two states to pass laws since 2010 that make it both harder and easier to vote. Rhode Island is the other.

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Gay Marriage
10:44 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

From Writing Vows To Saying Them, One Idaho Couple's Journey To Historic Gay Marriage

Rachael and Amber Beierle stepped out of the Ada County Courthouse to a cheering crowd after getting their marriage license.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

For the last year, KBSX has been following the legal battle over same-sex marriage in Idaho. The fight ended Wednesday as a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a lower court's ruling striking down Idaho's gay marriage ban went into effect.

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Gay Marriage
2:05 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Listen To Boise's Gay Marriage Celebration In 60 Seconds

Boise Gay Men's chorus.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

As same-sex couples and their supporters gathered at the Ada County Courthouse Wednesday in Boise, a party atmosphere soon took hold as couples would exit the building with marriage licenses in-hand.

The Boise Gay Men's chorus was there to sing. Hundreds of supporters lined the sidewalks in front of the courthouse ready to cheer. There were no protestors.

Here are some sounds from the scene.

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Gay Marriage
9:10 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Live Blog: Making History, Same-Sex Couples Marry In Idaho

Lyndsey and Tiffany Davis are friends of Amber and Rachael Beierle. They traveled to Boise from Canada to celebrate the Beierle's wedding day.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 4:15 p.m.

At least 53 marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples across Idaho. In a random sample of Idaho counties, it appears Ada has issued the most so far, with 35 licenses.

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Gay Marriage
4:31 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

3 Effects Of Legalizing Gay Marriage In Idaho (Besides Gay Marriage)

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho attorney general has asked his legal staff to start looking at what implications gay marriage will have for the state.

Same-sex marriage is set to start Wednesday morning in Idaho under an order from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And the county clerk’s office isn’t the only place where the ruling is expected to take effect.

University of Idaho law professor Richard Seamon said many rights of marriage fall into the “death and taxes” category -- like joint tax returns and medical decisions.

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Election 2014
4:20 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Idaho Schools Chief Candidate Ybarra Hasn't Voted Since 1996

Credit Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

If state superintendent hopeful Sherri Ybarra votes on Election Day, it will be the first time the Republican has cast a ballot in a November general election while living in Mountain Home.

According to Elmore County election records, Ybarra has not voted for a governor, a state superintendent, a president or a state legislator in a general election since moving to Mountain Home in 1996.

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Election 2014
2:20 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

New Poll Finds Some Idaho Republicans Have Surprisingly Narrow Leads Over Democrats

Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests Idaho Democrats could have a shot at winning a couple of statewide races on Nov. 4.

The North Carolina-based polling firm is known as a Democratic-leaning pollster. The firm says the poll wasn't commissioned by a candidate, but was conducted independently by Public Policy Polling.

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