Politics + Policy

Gun Laws
10:49 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Some Idaho Lawmakers Question Concealed Weapons Exemption For Elected Officials

Credit Robert Nelson / Flickr Creative Commons

A state lawmaker who lost his concealed weapons permit for lying about a decades-old felony has raised questions about a 1990 law that exempts elected officials from needing a concealed weapons permit.

Last month, the Ada County Sheriff revoked the concealed weapons permit of Boise Republican Rep. Mark Patterson. The permit was pulled because Patterson failed to disclose in 2012 a guilty plea and withheld judgment from a 1974 Florida rape case.

Patterson contends now he was innocent but pleaded guilty 39 years ago on his attorney's advice.

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Election 2014
9:17 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Another Republican May Enter Idaho's Secretary Of State Race

Credit State of Idaho

Next May's Republican primary for Idaho secretary of state could get a little more crowded, now that Ben Ysursa has opted against seeking a fourth term in 2014.

Former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski of Boise said Monday he's filing official paperwork, to allow him to begin fundraising and tour Idaho.

Already, Rep. Lawerence Denney, a former House speaker from Midvale, says he wants to be the state's top election official.

Toryanski said his listening tour, to gauge sentiment among GOP voters, will start Nov. 18, but the itinerary is still being worked out.

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Politics
9:43 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

Idaho's Secretary of State Won't Seek Fourth Term

Idaho's Secretary of State Ben Ysursa
Credit Courtesy of Idaho Secretary of State's office

Longtime Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says he has decided not to seek a fourth term in office.  

The veteran Republican announced his plans to step away from office Friday.

Ysursa says he thought long and hard about his future, but ultimately decided to step away from public office when his term expires in January 2015.

Ysursa is 64 years old and he has worked in the office for 40 years.

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Gay Marriage
2:40 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Idaho Couples Sue State Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Amber Beierle is a historian who works for the state of Idaho. She says her lawsuit won't have any impact on her work.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Four Idaho couples are suing the state over its ban on same-sex marriage. They asked the U.S. District Court Friday to declare Idaho’s prohibition unconstitutional.

The suit says Idaho’s laws which prohibit gay couples from getting married, and prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, violate equal protection and due process guarantees.

Two of the couples have been legally married in other states and two have tried to get Idaho marriage licenses and been denied.

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U.S. Senate
3:54 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Idaho Senators Vote Against Gay Rights Bill

Credit VPickering / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against today's historic vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that gives workplace protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

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Election
9:53 am
Thu November 7, 2013

A Coin Toss Will Decide Small Idaho Town's Next Mayor

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The next mayor of a small southern Idaho town will be decided with a flip of a coin.

Albion city clerk Mary Yeaman told The Times-News that votes were evenly split for Don Bowden and John Davis in Tuesday's election, so she will be flipping a coin to break the tie.

The date for the coin toss hasn't been set, though state election law says it should be done during a meeting held within about a week of the election. Yeaman, who has been clerk for 12 years, says she's never had to break a tie before.

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Elections
4:30 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Oregon GMO Labeling Advocates Vow To Push Ahead Despite Washington Loss

File photo of a protest in Washington DC on October 12, 2013.
Stephen D. Melkisethian Flickr

The latest vote tallies from Washington confirm voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for food containing genetically modified organisms.

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Boise
11:11 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Boise Mayor Bieter Disappointed In Bond Failures, But Says Another Try Is Possible

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Fire Chief Dennis Doan wait together for election returns Tuesday night at the Basque Center in Boise.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s mayor says he’s disappointed that the two bond proposals failed in his city Tuesday, but he’s also encouraged by how many residents voted for the measures. 

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Election Results
8:16 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Washington Voters Reject GMO Labeling

The campaign in favor of lableing GMO foods gathered in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 8:47 am

Washington voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for foods with genetically modified ingredients.

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Boise
7:37 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Boise Bonds Fail Despite Getting A Majority Of Votes

The Yes Yes for Boise banner comes down as Tuesday night's pro-bond party disperses.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise residents voted down two bonds Tuesday. Together they would have generated more than $30 million for the city’s fire and parks departments and for buying land to set aside as open space.

More than 60 percent of Boise voters cast ballots in favor of the bonds. But the bonds needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Fire Chief Dennis Doan wanted the $17 million from the fire bond to build a new training center and upgrade and replace some old stations.

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Gay Marriage
6:00 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Why Idaho’s Tax Change For Married Gay Couples Could Set The State Up For A Lawsuit

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Legally married gay couples can file federal taxes together, regardless if it's legal in the state they live in, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a ban on federal benefits for gay couples is unconstitutional.

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Policy
4:06 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Sen. Crapo Says Idaho Should Respect Local Gay Rights Laws

US Senator Mike Crapo
US Senate

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted this week against a federal ban on workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people. But Tuesday he said Idaho cities should be able to maintain their local gay rights ordinances.

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Policy
3:14 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Olympic Runner And Boise Native Nick Symmonds Advocates For Handgun, Assault Rifle Ban

Symmonds, pictured crossing the finish line, ran for the University of Oregon.
Credit Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise native Nick Symmonds took fifth place in the men's 800 meter run at the London Olympics last year. Now, he's advocating for strict rules on who can own handguns and assault-style rifles in the U.S.

This isn't the first time Symmonds has gotten political. In August, Symmonds criticized Russia's anti-gay legislation by dedicating a medal he'd won in that country to his gay friends back home.

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Policy
2:15 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

How To File Your Taxes In Idaho When You're Gay And Married

The Idaho Tax Commission
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer on gay marriage, it opened the door for same-sex couples around the country who can now file federal taxes together, no matter what state they live in.

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Policy
2:22 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Idaho's 7-Day Limit On Rallies Ruled Unconstitutional

Occupy Boise's 2012 encampment lasted seven months outside the Idaho Capitol.
Credit Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge rejected some rules governing protests on state property surrounding the Capitol in Boise, concluding a seven-day limit on rallies as well as possible restriction-waivers for some groups but not others failed to pass free-speech muster.

The "Occupy Boise" protests that prompted this two-year-old litigation vacated the old Ada County Courthouse's grounds last spring.

Late Friday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill's latest decision further clarified how activists can — and can't — use the Capitol Mall properties.

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City Government
9:38 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Boise Fire Bond Would Pay For Training Center, Opponents Say It's Not Needed

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise voters will decide Tuesday on a pair of bonds totaling more than $30 million. The larger of the two, at $17 million, goes toward building projects for Boise’s fire department.

If it passes, Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan will get to say goodbye to an old nemesis next to the Boise River and within sight of downtown. He looks up at a narrow five story tower while traffic roars by on the connector.

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City of Boise
7:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Boise Asks Voters To Approve New Debt For Parks

The Sterling Park site in west Boise is one of three that would be developed into city parks if voters approve the $15.7 million parks and open spaces bonds proposal on Tuesday's ballot. The 8 acre site is currently used as a dog park.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise residents will vote Tuesday on two bond proposals that total $51 million with financing fees. That translates to about $32 million in actual spending money.

The city would use some of the funds to buy more open space, likely in the foothills for instance. Money would also be used to build three new city parks and upgrade three others. 

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U.S.
4:14 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pentagon Pushes States On Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

The Pentagon extended military benefits to same-sex spouses this summer, but some states have been resisting. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called that resistance "wrong" on Thursday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the National Guard Bureau to resolve a dispute that is making it difficult for same-sex couples to receive military benefits.

The Pentagon started to recognize same-sex marriages soon after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. But some states are resisting.

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Politics
9:59 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Obama Wants To Pivot To Immigration Reform, But Can It Work?

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It may be hard to believe, but the agenda here in Washington does include a few items beyond trading punches over the healthcare law and its troubled website. Near the top of the list is immigration reform. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports on the prospects for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

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Election 2014
9:46 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Denney Announces Idaho Secretary Of State Run; Ysursa Undecided

Rep. Lawerence Denney (R-Midvale) was first elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1990. He was Idaho’s Speaker of the House from 2006-2012.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Republican state Rep. Lawerence Denney announced his run for secretary of state, even as incumbent Ben Ysursa remains undecided whether to seek a fourth term.

At an event in the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Denney on Thursday pledged to pursue election fraud allegations and said he'd work against the Idaho Department of Land's push to expand into commercial real estate where it competes with private business.

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