Politics + Policy

Navy Yard Shooting
3:46 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo Says Navy Yard Shooting Should Spark Debate Over Mental Health

Credit Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says he first heard about Monday’s mass shooting the Washington Navy Yard through an email alert from the U.S. Capital Police.  He then watched media coverage where news outlets like the New York Times and CNN reported the shooter, Aaron Alexis, had used an AR-15 assault rifle. 

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12:01 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Boise Passes Controversial Law To Limit Panhandlers

Ed Keener, on the board of the Interfaith Sanctuary Homeless Shelter, joined over 70 others to protest the city's new ordinance on aggressive panhandling.
Credit Jessica Murri / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s City Council approved a plan to limit what the city labels as aggressive panhandling. About 75 people showed up at City Hall Tuesday night, many to protest the vote.

The council passed the ordinance 3 to 1. It doesn’t ban panhandling all together, as long as those who do it don't target specific people or groups.

Critics say this ordinance is too restrictive. Larry Shamks is homeless and disabled. He plays the ukulele now because his hands can’t handle the guitar, which he says he played for 40 years.

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Election 2014
11:30 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Brad Little Announces Another Run For Idaho Lieutenant Governor

Lt. Gov. Brad Little will run for the same office in 2014. He made the announcement during a ceremony Wednesday morning in Emmett.
Credit BradLittleForIdaho.com

Idaho’s lieutenant governor announced Wednesday  his plans to run for the same office in 2014. Brad Little made the announcement during an outdoor event in his hometown of Emmett.

The news ends speculation that Little was preparing for a run for governor. Idaho’s current governor, C.L. "Butch" Otter, attended Little’s announcement. Otter has said he plans to run for re-election in 2014, but has not officially kicked off a campaign. 

Little will now visit various Idaho cities over the next two weeks.

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Election 2014
9:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little To Seek Re-Election In 2014

Credit BradLittleForIdaho.com

Lieutenant Gov. Brad Little is running again in 2014, hoping to secure a second elected term.

Little made the announcement Wednesday in Emmett, his hometown about 40 miles northwest of Boise.

The 59-year-old Republican rancher and businessman was appointed in 2009 by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter after former Lt. Gov. Jim Risch's U.S. Senate election. He was re-elected in 2010.

With Otter planning to seek a third term, Little appears content to remain in the part-time, $35,100-per-year job as the governor's fill-in.

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5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Ponder A Tax On E-Cigarettes


E-cigarettes, the rapidly growing alternative to traditional cigarettes, were the focus of a hearing in Salem on Tuesday.

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10:02 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Idaho Lands Agency Critics Blast 2012 Swap

Grant Burgoyne, a Democrat, represents Boise.
Credit Idaho Legislature

Two lawmakers who have so far sought unsuccessfully to halt the Department of Lands' expansion into commercial real estate are again criticizing the agency, this time over a 2012 property swap they contend wasn't to Idaho's advantage.

Last year, the Department of Lands swapped state endowment land on Payette Lake in McCall for privately-owned Idaho Falls commercial property.

Idaho's assessor concluded each property was worth about $6.1 million.

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4:27 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Immigrant Investor Visa Popular With State Legislators, But Outside Their Control

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

There's a little known back door into the United States, available only to the affluent. It's called the immigrant investor visa -- or EB-5.

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Election 2014
10:07 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Idaho's Attorney General Plans 2014 Re-Election Run

Credit State of Idaho

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says he plans to run for his office again in 2014.

Wasden first took the office in 2003, running the office that represents the state in criminal appeals, deals with consumer protection litigation, and advises agencies on contracts and other matters.

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9-11 Anniversary
1:22 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

On The Sept. 11 Anniversary, Sen. Mike Crapo Recalls Fear, Confusion During Terror Attacks

Credit Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Memorials were held Wednesday in Idaho and around the country to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo spent some time Wednesday remembering the confusion and fear of that day.

He was in the U.S. Capitol on September 11, 2001 when officials decided to evacuate the building. “There was a concern that the plane that ultimately crashed in Pennsylvania was headed toward Washington D.C," remembers Crapo. "As we evacuated, there was a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear and confusion among the people."

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11:47 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Despite Obama's Speech, Idaho Lawmakers Still Against U.S. Military Action In Syria

Senator Mike Crapo, left, talks with Brig. Gen. Carmelo Burgio, in Kabul, Afghanistan during a tour in 2010.
Credit Julian Carroll, U.S. Navy / Flickr Creative Commons

President Barack Obama's primetime speech on possible military action in Syria hasn't changed the minds of Idaho's congressmen.

In a nationally televised address Tuesday night, Obama offered a rationale for greater U.S. intervention in Syria's sectarian civil war while acknowledging that winning the hearts and minds of Americans to back another Mideast conflict remains a struggle.

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9:54 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Why Passing Boise's Two Bonds In November Won't Be Easy

Credit Aaron Webb / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter says his “buck a month” bond proposals will do a lot to improve livability in the city. Bieter and his staff have heard positive – and negative – feedback since he first floated the idea of a bond election back in June. In total, the bond package will cost $32.4 million.

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1:23 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Lawmaker Wants Idaho To Bid On Private Prison

An Idaho lawmaker is pushing a proposal that would give state agencies a chance to competitively bid on government work earmarked for private contractors.

The Spokesman-Review reports the legislation drafted by Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, is aimed at giving the Idaho Department of Correction a chance to compete with private prison companies for operation of the troubled Idaho Correctional Center.

Boise City Bond
5:04 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Boise's Mayor Proposes Two Bonds, Average Property Tax Bill Would Increase

Credit City of Boise

The Boise City Council approved changes to the mayor’s bond proposal Wednesday, moving it one step closer to November's ballot.

The most significant change was to split the bond in two. One question will ask voters to pay more in property taxes for parks and open spaces, and the second would funnel more money to Boise's fire department.

Mayor Dave Bieter also removed funding for a new police station from the proposal. That brings the cost of the bonds down slightly.

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5:27 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Idaho Congressmen Not Sold On Syria Airstrikes

Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho questions Secretary of State John Kerry on the Obama administration's proposed military action in Syria.
Credit U.S. Senate

Members of Idaho's all-Republican congressional delegation aren't yet committing to a position on military action in Syria. But the direction most are leaning is against a resolution authorizing President Barack Obama to use air strikes.

A spokesman for Sen. Mike Crapo says the Idaho Republican is skeptical of authorizing military force at this point, especially without a broad international coalition.

Crapo’s colleague, Sen. Jim Risch sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, which heard the Obama administration's arguments for action in Syria.

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International News
10:54 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Iranian Judges Issue "Devastating" Decision For Imprisoned Boise Pastor

Saeed Abedini, his wife Naghmeh and their children. Saeed Abedini has been held in an Iranian prison for nearly a year.
Credit Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

An Iranian court has reportedly denied an appeal from an imprisoned Boise pastor to have his sentence reduced. 

In January, a court ordered 33-year-old Saeed Abedini to spend eight years in prison. 

Abedini was arrested in his native Iran last year and charged with compromising the country’s national security. Abedini’s family has said he’d returned to his native Iran to help build an orphanage.

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2014 Election
4:10 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Longtime Idaho Democrat To Challenge Rep. Raul Labrador

Credit Idaho Legislature

The Lewiston Tribune reports two-term incumbent Rep. Raul Labrador has a challenger in Idaho's 1st Congressional District. Longtime state legislator Shirley Ringo, a Democrat from Moscow, will run against Labrador.

Ringo told the Tribune she's not naïve about the challenge of being a Democrat in a predominantly Republican state.

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4:14 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Expert Warns Idaho's Public Defense System Likely Unconstitutional

A committee of Idaho lawmakers has begun the complicated task of trying to bring the state's public defense system in line with constitutional requirements.

Members of the Public Defense Interim Committee met in Boise on Thursday to hear from state and national experts who warned that Idaho's system is so inadequate that it's likely unconstitutional, and as a result, it's only a matter of time until a lawsuit forces the state to make major changes.

1:20 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Justices: Idaho Can Regulate Tribal Cigarette Shipments

Credit SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

State Supreme Court justices bolstered Idaho's power to regulate cigarettes shipped to Indian-owned businesses in a ruling that touched not only on Native American sovereignty but also public health.

Justices wrote Thursday that Idaho could prevent Canadian-made cigarettes — ones that hadn't been taxed in the U.S. to help cover tobacco-related illness costs — from being shipped to a Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation-based retailer.

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3:11 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador Plans 2014 Re-Election Run For Congress

Raul Labrador won't run for Idaho governor in 2014.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador says he'll run again for Congress in 2014, ending speculation he'd mount a challenge to GOP Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in next May's primary election.

Labrador made the announcement that he'd be seeking a third term on Wednesday at his congressional offices in Meridian.

He says his work as a congressman is unfinished.

Labrador, born in Puerto Rico, was first elected in 2010 to represent Idaho's 1st Congressional District with tea party support and has promoted changes to America's immigration system.

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State Revenue
2:44 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Gov. Otter Projects 2.1 Percent State Revenue Growth For 2014

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's budget-writing agency forecast that the state government's general fund tax revenue will rise 2.1 percent to $2.8 billion in the current fiscal year as sales tax receipts and individual income tax collections make up for lower corporate income tax revenue.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter released the projection on Wednesday afternoon on behalf of the Division of Financial Management, which helps write Idaho's budget every year.

If accurate, the figure would mean that Idaho's general fund revenue growth is slowing.

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