Politics + Policy

Prisons
4:51 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Idaho Prison Director Announces Resignation

Credit www.idoc.idaho.gov

Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke is stepping down from his post after leading the department since 2007. His tenure included overseeing the fallout of a private-prison scandal, handling the first two executions since 1994 and enhancing the department's contract oversight.

Reinke submitted his resignation Tuesday during a special Idaho Board of Corrections meeting.

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Wolves
3:54 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

BLM Reverses Decision, Says No To Idaho Wolf Derby Permit

Credit Washington Fish and Game

After giving the OK to a wolf hunting competition on Idaho public land, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has reversed its decision.

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Politics + Policy
4:25 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Idaho Legislative Committee Kills Counties' Resolution

Sen. Dean Mortimer
Credit Idaho Legislature

Lawmakers on a committee charged with improving Idaho's broken public defense system have killed a resolution that would have given the state full responsibly for assigning attorneys to indigent defenders.

Earlier this year, representatives from the state's 44 counties voted that Idaho should manage the public defense system. However, members of the Legislature's Public Defense Reform Interim Committee at a meeting Monday agreed that counties should remain in control.

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Politics + Policy
4:15 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Former Idaho Senator Craig Appeals Misused Funds Ruling

Credit U.S. Senate

Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is appealing a ruling ordering him to pay nearly $242,000 to the U.S. Treasury for improperly using campaign funds to pay for legal expenses following his 2007 airport bathroom sex sting arrest.

Craig filed the one-page appeal Monday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, D.C.

A federal judge ruled in September that Craig illegally converted campaign money for personal expenses while trying to withdraw his guilty plea to one count of disorderly conduct.

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Gun Laws
11:20 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Idaho Wants To Overturn Maryland Gun-Control Law

Credit Dainel Lee / Flickr

Idaho is among 21 states asking a federal appeals court to overturn provisions of Maryland's gun-control law that bans 45 assault weapons and limits gun magazines to 10 rounds.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led the coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Fourth U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia last week.

The brief says the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep firearms in homes for self-protection.

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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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