Politics + Policy

Election 2014
10:27 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Former Pro-Football Player Jimmy Farris Announces Run For Idaho Legislature

Credit Courtesy Jimmy Farris

Jimmy Farris, a political unknown trounced last year by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, plans to seek a seat in the state House.

Farris tells the Lewiston Tribune he plans to run as a Democrat in Boise's District 16.

He is seeking the House seat held by Democrat Grant Burgoyne, who is running for the Idaho Senate after Sen. Les Bock retires.

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1:07 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Why The 2014 Idaho Governor’s Race Could Be A Real Race

Credit Boise State Public Radio

Long time Idaho political analyst Jim Weatherby says this is the most exciting governor’s race he’s seen in years.

Three people with major party backing now say they’re running. Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter hasn’t officially declared his candidacy but he’s said repeatedly he plans to run for a third term. He's hired a campaign manager and has a campaign website.

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Election 2014
11:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Democrat A.J. Balukoff Announces Bid For Idaho Governor

Balukoff made his in-person announcement at Hillcrest Elementary flanked by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and members of his family.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, Boise School District trustee and businessman A.J. Balukoff officially announced Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. He becomes the first Democrat to enter the race.

Balukoff's campaign website went live mid-Tuesday morning and features this announcement video.

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Election 2014
4:39 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Boise School Board Chairman, Democrat Expected To Announce Bid For Idaho Governor

Balukoff campaign logo found at AJForIdaho.com
Credit AJForIdaho.com

Boise School Board Chairman and businessman A.J. Balukoff is expected to announce Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. The Idaho Democratic Party says Balukoff will make his announcement at Hillcrest Elementary School Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., however, a press release was leaked from at least two Facebook pages that confirmed Balukoff's gubernatorial bid.

Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says he is aware of that leaked information, but says it's an internal issue he can't comment on. Ferguson says Balukoff has made no official announcement yet.

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Equality Index
9:09 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Boise Doubles Its Score On Gay Rights Index, Still Lower Than Region

About 150 people attended last year's Boise City Council meeting when the non-discrimination ordinance was approved. The measure passed unanimously, and helped the city gain points on the HRC municipal index.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

If this were math class, Boise would have failed its latest test.

Boise got 56 points out of a possible 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) municipal equality index. This is the second year the national gay rights advocacy group has ranked Idaho's capital.

The DC-based organization looked at policies in all the capital cities in the country, as well as each state’s largest towns.

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Idaho Politics
12:39 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Lacking "Fire In The Belly" Idaho's Ysursa Opts For Retirement

Ben Ysursa has been Idaho's Secretary of State since 2003. He recently announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says his recent decision not to run for a fourth term in office came down to one question.

"Did I have the inner zeal in my body, the fire in the belly to run?" Ysursa says. "I just didn't feel it. I was hopeful I'd catch the bug but I didn't. I was convinced a year ago I wasn't going to run. And then others started working on me a little bit. It was a tough decision."

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Small Towns
10:10 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Jobs For Life? Meet The Politicians Of A Tiny Northwest Town

Mayor Lynette Oswald leads the monthly meeting of the Prescott City Council.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:52 pm

There are some towns in the Northwest that are so small, nearly everybody is a politician.

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10:08 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Hailey, Idaho Bans Cedar-Shake Shingles To Prevent Wildfire Damage

Credit WSilver / Flickr Creative Commons

The Hailey City Council has voted to prohibit the use of cedar-shake shingles on rooftops in the wake of last summer's large wildfire.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the council made the decision early last week.

The new rule exceeds the Wildland Urban Interface Code by prohibiting cedar-shake shingles entirely.

The 170-squre-mile Beaver Creek fire destroyed one home and threatened hundreds of others until it was contained in early September.

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1:03 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

Sen. Fulcher Officially Launches Campaign For Idaho Governor

Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, speaks to supporters at an event Saturday morning in Meridian. Fulcher is launching his run for governor in three events across the state.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

“My name is Russ Fulcher and I’m running for governor.”

Those words from Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, Saturday morning kicked off what promises to be a fierce battle for Idaho’s top executive position over the next five months.

The five-term senator will challenge fellow Republican and two-term incumbent Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May primary.  Dozens of supporters attended the event held in a Meridian hotel conference room. 

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Washington Policy
3:50 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Washington Lawmakers Hear Pitch For Corporate Tax Disclosure

File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building
Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:46 pm

The issue of tax transparency in Washington is getting fresh attention on the heels of a major tax deal for Boeing.

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5:41 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Homeless Numbers Drop In Idaho, So Does Money To Help Them

Credit Mistermuckle / Flickr Creative Commons

You might look at Thursday's announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as good news and bad news for Idaho. First the good news. Between 2010 and 2013 Idaho saw a 24 percent drop in homelessness. That’s more than 560 fewer people living on Idaho’s streets. Nationally, homelessness decreased by 6 percent.

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5:21 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Updated: Why An Idaho Senator Wants The Air Force To Keep A Plane It Doesn’t Want

The A-10 Thunderbolt is more commonly known as the Warthog. It was developed in the 1970s and production stopped in the early '80s. Its slow speed allows it to train its powerful machine gun on ground targets faster planes would zip by.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo spoke to reporters at length Wednesday on the importance of reducing government spending, at the same time he spoke about keeping a program that Air Force leaders want to phase out in order to save $3.5 billion.

Crapo, a Republican, has joined Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and others to push legislation that would block the Air Force from retiring the A-10 fighter jet.

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Idaho Legislature
1:15 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Idaho State Senator From Boise Resigns From Legislature

Credit State of Idaho

An Idaho state senator representing Boise announced Wednesday he's resigning from the Legislature as of Dec. 1. District 18 Sen. Branden Durst, a Democrat, is vacating the seat he won in 2012.

In a press release from the Idaho Democratic Party, Durst says he's resigning "to focus on his family’s needs."

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9:46 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Simpson Unveils Bill For Third Idaho Federal Judge

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has introduced a bill designed to add a third federal judge in Idaho to help offset an expanding and cumbersome caseload.

The Republican says it's past time for Idaho to get a third federal judge.

The federal court system in Idaho is now overseen by two federal judges — B. Lynn Winmill and Edward J. Lodge.

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Election 2014
1:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Mitt Romney Endorses Republican Mike Simpson In U.S. House Race

Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's bid for a ninth term got an assist Monday when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an endorsement letter.

Simpson faces challenger Bryan Smith in next May's Republican primary election.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, lauded Simpson as a "stalwart conservative leader," accusing what he called "outside" groups of interfering in the race by backing Smith.

Smith has won the conservative group Club for Growth's support in his bid to unseat Simpson.

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Labor Department
3:59 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Twin Falls Businessman, Board Of Education Member To Head Idaho's Labor Department

Edmunds is a businessman from Twin Falls, Idaho.
Credit State of Idaho

A state Board of Education member is shifting roles, after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter named him to head the Idaho Department of Labor.

Ken Edmunds of Twin Falls will fill the post starting Nov. 25, replacing Roger Madsen who held the job since 1995.

Edmunds is a Twin Falls businessman whose experience includes working as an accountant and controller as well as an executive for the company that operates Cactus Petes casino in Jackpot, Nev.

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Election Results
8:49 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Watch: Small Town Idaho Mayor Keeps His Job By Coin Toss

City clerk Mary Yeaman did the official coin toss.
Credit Ed Glazar / Times-News

Don Bowden will remain the mayor of tiny Albion, Idaho after winning a tie-breaking coin toss. Bowden and his challenger, John Davis, each received 60 votes in the Nov. 5 election. Fewer than 300 people live in Albion.

Incumbent Bowden won the right to call the coin, and he picked tails.

Video courtesy of KMVT-TV

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Gun Control
11:56 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Bill And Melinda Gates Contribute To Washington Gun Control Measure

Augustas Didzgalvis Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 11:41 am

Bill and Melinda Gates have each contributed $25,000 to the campaign to require background checks for most gun sales in Washington.

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10:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Heads You're Mayor: Coin Toss To Decide Tiny Idaho Town's Leader

The Albion coin toss is Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.
Credit Budgiejen / Flickr Creative Commons

John Davis says he is not a gambler. In all his 73 years he doesn’t recall having won anything from a coin toss.

“I think I won a bottle of after shave lotion at the carnival one time, throwing horse shoes or something,” Davis says.

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Ethics Complaint
10:06 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Idaho Sheriff Files Ethics Complaint Against Lawmaker

Mark Patterson is a first term Republican Representative from District 15.
Credit Idaho Legislature

A state legislator who lost his concealed weapons permit after failing to disclose his withheld judgment in a 1974 rape case is targeted by a related ethics complaint.

The Idaho Statesman reports Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney says Republican Rep. Mark Patterson of Boise, along with GOP Rep. Judy Boyle of Midvale, inappropriately obtained legal advice from the Idaho attorney general.

Raney has revoked Patterson's concealed weapons permit because Patterson didn't disclose his judgment in the 39-year-old Florida rape case.

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