Politics + Policy

Election 2014
12:40 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Idaho Records Its Lowest-Ever General Election Voter Turnout

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This story was updated Nov. 21, 2014 

Idaho's voter participation in this year's general election was the lowest ever.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa tells the Spokesman Review that nearly 37 percent of Idaho's voting-age population cast a ballot Nov. 4.

Ysursa described the results as "abysmal," and urged the need to turn the number around.

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Congress
3:38 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rep. Labrador On Immigration Action: 'This Is Illegal'

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said of the president's planned immigration announcement, "the first thing we need to explain to the American people is that this is illegal."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 4:30 pm

One voice chiming in against President Obama's expected immigration announcement is Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican from Idaho.

Labrador is backed by the Tea Party, part of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and a former immigration lawyer who represented undocumented residents fighting deportation.

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Gay Marriage
3:25 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Gov. Otter Requests More Arguments In Idaho's Gay Marriage Case

Credit Idaho Statesman

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter wants to file additional arguments in his attempt to have an 11-judge panel review the three-judge ruling that overturned Idaho's gay marriage ban.

Otter argued in a motion filed Wednesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that another reply is needed because a separate federal court has since upheld same-sex marriage bans in other states.

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Gay Marriage
2:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Montana's Gay Marriage Ban

Credit MyTudut / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge in Montana has overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled Wednesday that Montana's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between a man and a woman violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in September that Idaho and Nevada's bans are unconstitutional. Montana is part of the 9th Circuit, and Morris cited the Circuit Court's opinion in his ruling.

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Policy
11:40 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Report: Idaho Land Board Should Rethink Commercial Investments

Credit Dave Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

A San Francisco-based investment advising firm told Idaho’s Land Board that its commercial property investments are not a great idea.

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Politics
10:23 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Idaho Republican Party Hires Former Sen. Larry Craig

Credit Joe Jaszewski / The Idaho Statesman

The Idaho Republican Party has named former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig as its financial chair of its executive committee.

Party officials said Wednesday that Craig fills an empty volunteer fundraising position.

Craig was arrested in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. He was accused of soliciting sex in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by an undercover officer. According to the officer, Craig tapped his foot under the stall and signaled that he wanted sex.

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Medicaid Expansion
3:17 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Idaho Governor's Work Group Recommends Hybrid Medicaid Expansion

An Idaho work group has tweaked its recommendations on expanding Medicaid eligibility in a last-minute effort to make their plan more politically palatable to lawmakers.

Work group facilitator Corey Surber says the 15-member group approved a hybrid model Friday. The group had finalized a proposal to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter back in August. However, lawmakers warned the proposal's blanketed support of Medicaid expansion would fail to even be considered when the Republican-controlled Legislature convenes in January.

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Gay Rights
2:07 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

LGBT Equality Rankings Show Mixed Results For Idaho Cities

Add The Words protestors at the state capitol in Boise in February. As the Add The Words campaign has stalled at the state level, nine individual cities and towns in the state have passed LGBT protections.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / For Boise State Public Radio

Four Idaho cities have made the latest rankings of a national group that advocates for the rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender people. 

The Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign released its third annual Municipal Equality Index Wednesday. Boise, Idaho Falls, Meridian and Nampa are among the 353 cities ranked. The organization assigns cities a score based on "LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policy." It examines 47 different criteria in six categories.

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Local Government
11:07 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Fate, Not Voters, Pick New Mayor For Tiny Idaho Town

City clerk Mary Yeaman did the official coin toss last year with Mayor Don Bowden standing by.
Credit Ed Glazar / Times-News

The tiny town of Albion, Idaho made national headlines a year ago when its mayoral election ended in a tie and the outcome was then decided by a coin toss. Now, a year after winning that coin toss and keeping his seat as Albion’s mayor, Don Bowden has stepped down because of health problems.

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City Government
10:10 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Firefighters, City Of Boise Negotiating New Contract

Credit Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise and the Firefighters Union are negotiating a new labor contract. At issue is how much firefighters should be paid.

Last year, the average department employee made $85,000, plus another $50,000 for insurance and retirement, according to the Idaho Statesman. That’s up 24 percent from a decade ago. However, two years ago, firefighters refused a contractual raise.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Gay Marriage May Have Rallied Idaho Republicans Around Otter

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter talks with supporters at a campaign stop in Post Falls in October.

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. It’s a break with the trend in most courts.

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Politics
5:20 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Crapo, Risch Stand To Gain Influence When Republicans Take Control Of Senate

Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson congratulate each other on Election Night.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate in January. That could mean more influence for Idaho’s two Republican senators.

When a new party takes control, each of the Senate’s 20 committees and 68 subcommittees get a new leader. Sarah Binder studies Congress at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. She describes it as a big round of musical chairs. Binder says heading a Congressional committee brings power.

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Election 2014
10:57 am
Thu November 6, 2014

New ACHD Commissioners Could Make Boise More Bike Friendly

Bike advocates have clashed with ACHD in the past, but the new makeup of the commission could mean more designated bike lanes in Boise.
Credit Toni Tabora-Roberts / Flickr Creative Commons

The five-member board of the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) will soon have two new voices on the commission. Kent Goldthorpe gained incumbent Mitch Jaurena's seat in District Four, and Paul Woods beat out five other candidates to win the open seat in District Three.

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Election 2014
1:54 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Boise Voters Overwhelmingly Approve $17 Million Fire Dept. Bond

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan walks away from Boise's existing training facility which cannot have live fire.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise residents Tuesday approved by a wide margin a bond to build new fire stations. Seventy-six percent of voters said yes to borrowing $17 million over 10 years. The city plans to upgrade or replace four Boise fire stations and build a new training facility.

“That facility is very needed,” says Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “We haven’t had a training facility in Boise that’s useable in over 20 years, at least. That’ll be a great safety feature for our fire fighters.”

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Election 2014
12:51 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Ybarra Wins Idaho Schools Chief Race By Fewer Than 6,000 Votes

Sherri Ybarra will become Idaho's next superintendent of schools.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, the closest statewide race of Idaho's 2014 election was for superintendent of public instruction. Unofficially, Republican Sherri Ybarra won with 50.7 percent of the vote to Democrat Jana Jones' 49.3 percent. Just 5,700 votes separated the two candidates.

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Election 2014
11:59 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Shows Idaho GOP's Wounds Healing, Democrats Still Struggling

A.J. Balukoff put nearly $3.2 million of his own money into his campaign. Balukoff lost to two-term incumbent Gov. Butch Otter.
Credit Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Tuesday’s elections revealed two political parties headed in different directions in Idaho.

For the GOP, the sweep of statewide races was a step in healing wounds opened during a contentious summer. But Democrats’ optimism gave way to the stark reality that they continue to struggle for competitiveness in one of the reddest states in the country.

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Election 2014
10:32 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Idaho's Gov. Otter Wins A Rare Third Term

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, with First Lady Lori Otter, was elected to his third consecutive term as Idaho governor.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 10:45 a.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has won a rare third term leading the state.

Otter, now 72, has been a fixture of Idaho politics since he was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1973. Otter has been a legislator, a congressman and one of the state's longest-serving lieutenant governors. 

He was first elected governor of Idaho in 2006. This year, Otter faced a difficult race against his Democratic challenger, Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff.

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Election 2014
9:18 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Idaho Republicans Sweep Statewide Elections

Republicans Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson congratulate each other on a successful election. Simpson was elected to his ninth term, Risch, his second.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 7:50 a.m.

Idaho Republicans have swept the state's top elected offices and seats in Congress. In addition to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter being elected to a rare consecutive three-year term, every down-ticket race also went to Otter's Republican colleagues.

Secretary of State

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Election 2014
1:35 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Election Day Scam Attempts To Bribe Idaho Voters

Idaho's Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says a telephone scam offering potential voters $25 for their votes is being reported across the state this Election Day.

“Bribing someone for their vote is a crime,” Wasden said in a press release. “If anyone receives a call like this, I urge you not to engage the caller and to hang up the phone immediately.”

Wasden's office says the caller ID on these scam calls is 714-714-4000.

Election 2014
11:48 am
Tue November 4, 2014

NPR's Election Night Live Blog

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