Politics + Policy

10:07 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Federal Judge Halts Part Of Boise's Panhandling Ordinance

Credit SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has halted part of Boise's new anti-panhandling ordinance. The ordinance was set to go into effect Thursday.

Boise approved the ordinance in September to crack down on aggressive panhandling.  The tougher rules make a first offense an infraction when panhandlers seek handouts while someone is crossing a roadway or near a sidewalk cafe. 

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9:57 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Gov. Otter Hopes To Fill Outgoing Idaho Legislator's Seat Quickly

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter hopes to have outgoing Rep. Mark Patterson's Boise seat filled by the 2014 Legislature's second week.

Patterson has been under fire from his own Republican Party after disclosure of his 1974 guilty plea in a rape case and the subsequent revocation of his concealed-weapons permit.

He's submitted his resignation, but made it for midnight Jan. 5, just hours before the 2014 session begins.

That means it will start with his District 15 House seat vacant.

Leaders from District 15 must submit three names to Otter to replace Patterson.

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Gay Marriage
6:00 am
Mon December 23, 2013

How Utah’s Ruling In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage Could Impact Idaho

Credit MyTudut / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah became the 18th state in the country Friday to allow same-sex marriage after a federal judge ruled the state's ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. This is the first federal case of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

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Bethine Church
11:48 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Bethine Church, Sen. Frank Church's Widow, Political Partner, Dies At 90

Bethine Church accepted the Lillick Award on behalf of her husband in 1978.
Credit Special Collections and Archives, Albertsons Library / Boise State University

Bethine Church, the widow of Idaho Sen. Frank Church, has died at the age of 90. Her son, Chase Church, posted Saturday on his Facebook page that she had passed listening to Christmas music. “She wasn’t in any pain and she always wanted to pass at home,” the post noted. 

Earlier this month, her son posted on his Facebook page that his mother had been “suffering from old age” and poor health.  She’d been on hospice care for the past two weeks and would have turned 91 in February.

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Idaho Legislature
5:31 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Idaho Rep. Patterson Formally Resigns, Effective January

Idaho Rep. Mark Patterson said he'd resign by the end of this week in the wake of revelations that he'd pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge in 1974.

But when Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter got the resignation letter Friday evening, it was clear that wasn't quite the case — Patterson made his resignation effective at midnight, Jan. 5.

Now Otter's office is trying to figure out if that leaves enough time to seat a replacement before the legislative session with Otter's State of the State address on Jan. 6.

Idaho Legislature
3:15 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Gov. Otter Appoints Boise Representative To Fill Vacant State Senate Seat

Ward-Engelking was a teacher for more than 30 years.
Credit Idaho Legislature

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has selected Boise Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, a Democrat, to fill the Idaho Senate seat vacated by Sen. Branden Durst.

Ward-Engelking is a freshman lawmaker who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012.

Here's the press release issued by Gov. Otter's office.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of freshman Representative Janie Ward-Engelking to the Idaho Senate vacancy left by last month’s resignation of first-term Senator Branden Durst of Boise.

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Gay Marriage
2:57 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A federal judge has struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53-page ruling Friday saying Utah's law passed by voters in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples' rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Shelby says the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and the state's unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify deny allowing same-sex marriages.

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Governor's Mansion
10:51 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Idaho Plans To Sell $70,000 In Furniture That Filled Vacant Governor's Mansion

The hilltop house in Boise has never been a permanent residence for an Idaho governor.
Credit Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Idaho aims to unload $70,000 in surplus furniture that once filled the never-occupied governor's mansion before it was returned to potato mogul J.R. Simplot's family this year.

The Spokesman-Review reports the furnishings include two bedroom sets, dining furniture, wall art and kitchen supplies.

The Idaho Governors Housing Committee Wednesday decided to dispose of the items that are now costing about $318 a month to store.

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11:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Rep. Patterson Says He'll Resign From Idaho House

Credit Idaho Legislature

Republican Rep. Mark Patterson says he'll resign from the Idaho Legislature, a day after party colleagues from his district in Boise urged him to quit.

Patterson said Wednesday he'll hand in his resignation to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter this week.

On Tuesday, members of the GOP District 15 precinct committee voted unanimously to ask Patterson to quit. That's after revelations in early November that he pleaded guilty in a 1974 rape case in Florida.

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11:01 am
Wed December 18, 2013

A Year After DUI Arrest, Idaho Sen. Crapo Says He's Successfully Quit Drinking Alcohol

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID.
Credit U.S. Senate

Idaho's Republican Sen. Mike Crapo said Wednesday that he has not consumed alcohol since his arrest last December near Washington, D.C.

Crapo was arrested in northern Virginia on December 23, 2012 after he was pulled over for running a red light. A test showed Crapo’s blood alcohol content was .11, an amount above the legal limit.

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Federal Budget
9:43 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Idaho Senators Reject Federal Budget Deal

United States Capitol.
Credit Cliff1066 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Republican U.S. senators both voted against a bipartisan budget deal that now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch on Tuesday opposed the plan that passed 67-33.

Like Crapo and Risch, all those against the measure were from the Senate's minority GOP side.

The deal marked a modest congressional accomplishment at the end of a year punctuated by a partial government shutdown, a near-default by the U.S. Treasury and congressional gridlock on issues ranging from immigration to gun control.

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6:28 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Seed-To-Sale Tracking Alone Won't Stop Marijuana 'Leakage'

Katheirne Hitt Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:02 am

As Washington moves to legalize recreational pot, preventing “leakage” to other states like Oregon and Idaho is a top priority of the U.S. Justice Department

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Idaho Legislature
3:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Boise Democrats Choose 3 Names To Replace State Sen. Durst

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats from a Boise legislative district that's among Idaho's most-competitive has selected its three top candidates to replace a departing state senator.

District 18 in southeastern Boise is aiming to fill the vacancy left when former Sen. Branden Durst relocated to western Washington.

They are incumbent state Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, the No. 1 choice of the district's officials; Lawrence Crowley, a utility consultant; and Elizabeth Oppenheimer, an education advocate.

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Election 2014
10:31 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Former Idaho Lawmaker From Pocatello Plans To Run For Secretary Of State

A former Idaho legislator from Pocatello, Evan Frasure, is running as a Republican in the ever-more-crowded 2014 secretary of state primary.

The Idaho State Journal reports Friday Frasure plans to make a formal announcement next week.

Frasure says he believes it's the right time for somebody from eastern Idaho to fill the post.

Already, two southwestern Idaho people have joined the GOP primary race: Rep. Lawerence Denney of Midvale, and deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.

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Federal Budget
5:48 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Idaho's Labrador, Simpson Split On Federal Budget Deal

Idaho's Republican congressmen again parted ways on a budget vote.

Eight-term U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson on Thursday aligned with House Speaker John Boehner and other backers of the measure that passed 332-94, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats.

That didn't stop second-term Rep. Raul Labrador from branding the bi-partisan package "a bad deal, plain and simple."

For Simpson, it protects funding for the Idaho National Laboratory, shores up rural schools' budgets — and reduces the federal deficit by $23 billion, all without raising taxes.

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1:35 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Idaho Gov. Otter Among State Leaders At Western Governors' Meeting

The governors are meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Credit Hereticsun / Flickr Creative Commons

Leaders from around the West are meeting in Las Vegas to discuss land use, wildfires and environmental conservation.

The Western Governors' Association is holding its winter meeting on the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday and Thursday.

Among the governors in attendance are John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, C.L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho, Steve Bullock of Montana, Gary Herbert of Utah and Matt Mead of Wyoming.

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Federal Budget
11:47 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo Not Likely To Support Budget Compromise

Credit VPickering / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation being supported by Democrats and Republicans in Washington has not impressed Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Crapo told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that he’s still examining the compromise, but that he is not likely to support it.

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1:27 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Some Idaho Republican Leaders Ask Rep. Patterson To Resign

Credit Idaho Legislature

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Some Republican leaders in Boise have drafted a resolution calling for Rep. Mark Patterson's resignation and may meet on the matter next Tuesday.

Officials in District 15, which Patterson represents, say they're still mulling plans to discuss Patterson's future. Dan Luker, District 15's secretary, said the situation remains "fluid" and that no meeting agenda has been finalized.

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Minimum Wage
12:17 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Son Of Former McDonald's Worker, Raul Labrador Opposes Minimum Wage Increase

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) told reporters Monday he's against raising the federal minimum wage.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said Monday he's against raising the nation’s minimum wage

During a conference call with reporters, Labrador said he understands why those pushing for pay increases for fast food and retail workers are doing so. But he thinks raising minimum wages will hurt workers instead of helping them.

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Election 2014
11:37 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Idaho's Democratic Candidate For Governor Listed As A Republican in 2008

Credit AJForIdaho.com

The Idaho Democrats' choice to run for governor was listed as a Republican five years ago.

In 2008, Anthony Joseph "A.J." Balukoff was named as a Republican backer of then-U.S. House candidate Walt Minnick.

Balukoff was among 60 "Republicans for Minnick" during the Democrat's successful run against Bill Sali.

In an August 2008 e-mail from Minnick's campaign, Balukoff topped a group that had "supported the Republican Party with time, with money and with votes. And we will continue to do so in this election and in elections to come," according to the message.

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