Politics + Policy

Idaho Politics
6:29 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Conservative Group Picks Primary Fight With GOP Incumbent

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, is being challenged in next year's Republican primary by a candidate backed by the Club for Growth.
John Miller AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 5:40 pm

An influential conservative group is going after longtime Republican Rep. Mike Simpson from Idaho — and it's getting started nearly a year in advance of the 2014 primary.

The Club for Growth is throwing its weight behind GOP challenger Bryan Smith, calling him a fiscal conservative: anti-tax and pro-growth. The lawyer from Idaho Falls is the first candidate endorsed through a website the club launched earlier this year called PrimaryMyCongressman.com.

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3:55 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Gov. Otter Takes On Obama Over CO2 Rules, Wildfires

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter attended the Western Governor's meeting in Utah last weekend.
Credit Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

At a Utah meeting this week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter blasted President Barack Obama for seeking to limit coal-fired power plant emissions while not allowing sufficient timber cutting to tame big Western wildfires, another greenhouse gas source.

Otter told reporters Idaho wildfires send more carbon dioxide skyward than is released to produce coal-generated electricity used by the state's 1.5 million residents.

The governor's numbers may be technically correct.

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Occupy Boise
5:00 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

A Federal Judge Rules Idaho's State Capitol Camping Ban Is Constitutional

Occupy Boise packed up its encampment in June 2012.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the state in a lawsuit over rules developed in response to the Occupy Boise protesters who pitched tents and camped on grounds near the Capitol.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill determined last week that Idaho's no-camping statute on the Capitol Mall is constitutional and attempts to enforce a camping ban did not infringe on free speech rights.

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4:46 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Otter Dumps Rival, Names Idaho Rep's Wife To Judicial Nominating Board

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter named U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's wife to a board that nominates Idaho judges, in the process replacing a Republican Party rival who has split with the governor on numerous issues.

Otter named Kathy Simpson of Idaho Falls to the seven-member Idaho Judicial Council to replace Ron Nate of Rexburg, whose term ended last month.

Otter and Nate have differed on numerous GOP issues in recent years.

Nate helped promote Idaho's closed Republican primary, while Otter opposed it.

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Immigration Reform
12:47 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Labrador Says Future Of Immigration Reform Rests On Senate's Willingness To Compromise

Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador (R) met with Hispanics protestors in his Meridian office on June 10. Labrador says whether immigration reform passes Congress will depend on Senate Democrats' willingness to compromise.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador reacted today to the Senate’s approval Thursday of an immigration reform bill.  The Republican congressman who made his living as an immigration attorney before being elected to the House in 2010 says he gives the Senate credit for framing the issue and addressing important aspects of the immigration debate. 

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Supreme Court
10:36 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Effect Of DOMA Ruling Murky For Idaho, Oregon Couples Married Elsewhere

Charli Deltenre

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 6:48 pm

It's still not clear what the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will mean for many same-sex couples in the Northwest. That's because of new legal questions surrounding the hundreds of couples who have marriage licenses from Washington state but live in states like Idaho and Oregon that have banned same-sex marriage.

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10:32 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Steps Down

The head of the Idaho Republican Party is stepping down. 

Joshua Whitworth took over the role about a year ago when then Executive Director Jonathan Parker left to work at the law firm of Holland and Hart. Whitworth came to the Republican party as a former Idaho State University football player and a cattle rancher. He took on the role in July of 2012.

Wednesday the party announced Whitworth was leaving to take a job with the Idaho State Controller's Office.

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Supreme Court
12:11 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decisions Won’t Affect Idaho Law

Credit Franz Jantzen / U.S. Supreme Court Website

Law experts in Idaho say today’s decisions from the Supreme Court that strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and allow gay marriage to resume in California will have no effect on Idaho law.

Gay couples do not have the right to marry in Idaho.  Idaho passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that says the only marriage the state will recognize is between a man and woman. 

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Public Information
4:37 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Idaho Media Asks Judge To Keep Prison Lawsuit Public

A coalition of news organizations across Idaho is asking a federal judge to deny a proposed order that would give private prison company Corrections Corporations of America the power to seal whatever it wants in a lawsuit brought by inmates.

The Associated Press, Idaho Statesman, The Spokesman-Review, The Times-News, KBOI-TV, Idaho Press-Tribune, Post Register, Lewiston Tribune, Coeur d'Alene Press, Bonner County Daily Bee and others filed the motion Friday in Boise's U.S. District Court.

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Bowe Bergdahl
3:43 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Taliban Statement Renews Hope For Idaho Soldier's Release

A 2010 Taliban video shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity.
Credit IntelCenter

News that the Taliban is open to a prisoner swap is bringing renewed hope to supporters of a captive soldier from the Northwest.

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7:44 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Taliban Offers To Release Idaho POW As Part Of Prisoner Exchange

Credit Idaho National Guard

The Afghan Taliban say they are ready to hand over a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

A Taliban spokesman, Shaheen Suhail, says U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, "is as far as I know in good condition."

Suhail spoke in an exclusive telephone interview with The Associated Press from the newly opened Taliban offices in Doha, Qatar.

Bergdahl disappeared in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

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11:55 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Idaho Senator Crapo Predicts Future Of Immigration, Farm Bills

Credit Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Supporters of the Senate immigration bill got a boost today from the Congressional Budget Office.  The CBO report says the bill would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits.  But last night, the House approved an immigration bill increasing criminal penalties against anyone in the U.S. illegally. 

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LGBT Rights
9:40 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Idaho Republicans Urge Legislators To Erase LGBT Protections

Dozens testified for hours at a recent hearing in Pocatello over whether the city should pass a non discrimination ordinance. The city council eventually approved the ordinance.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Republican Party leaders are urging the Idaho Legislature to put a stop to local communities' efforts to provide discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. 

The approval of the non-binding resolution came Saturday at the GOP's annual Central Committee summer meeting in McCall.

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Idaho Republican Party
9:08 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Republican Leaders In Idaho Reject Plan To Vet Candidates

Idaho Republican leaders including Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter met Saturday in McCall.
Credit Idaho Statesman

The Republican Party Central Committee rejected a plan Saturday that would ask party officials to vet GOP primary election candidates. The group met in McCall Saturday. 

The plan came from former Senate Majority Leader Rod Beck, as a way to pressure GOP candidates into adhering more to the wishes of their local party leaders.

But dozens of other Republicans including House Speaker Scott Bedke, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs objected to it.

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Idaho Republican Party
5:45 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Idaho GOP Considers Reversing Local Non-Discrmination Laws

The Idaho Republican Party’s state central committee will meet in McCall Saturday. Members will talk about possible rule changes and resolutions. One topic up for discussion: the committee will take a closer look at six cities which have passed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) protections.

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12:31 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Idaho Woman Sues NSA Over Seizure Of Phone Records

Rep. Luke Malek is a first-term Idaho legislator.
Credit Idaho Legislature

A northern Idaho woman is suing President Barack Obama and top security officials over the National Security Administration's mass surveillance of phone records.

The Spokesman-Review reports Anna Smith, represented by state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, filed the lawsuit in Idaho's U.S. District Court on Wednesday. Smith contends the once-secret surveillance program exceeds the government's authority and violates the First and Fourth Amendments.

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9:52 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Boise's Mayor Says To Attract Top Talent, City Must Invest In Itself

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter
Credit Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Boise's mayor said Wednesday the city needs to invest in its infrastructure as a means of improving quality of life, and in turn, economic development.

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StateImpact Idaho
11:31 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Works Toward Third-Straight Year Of Tax Cuts

Credit Idaho Statesman

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is spending part of his week in Coeur d’Alene at Idaho’s largest business lobby’s annual convention. Gov. Otter’s spokesman says one of the administration’s main goals for the next legislative session is to pass a third-consecutive year of tax cuts.

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4:25 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Immigration Group Rallies At Labrador’s Office, Meets With Congressman

Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A group of about a dozen immigration rights supporters protested Monday outside Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador's Meridian office. They criticized Labrador’s decision last week to leave a group of House Democrats and Republicans who’ve worked for weeks on a bipartisan bill to reform immigration law.

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2:08 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Pocatello Becomes Sixth Idaho City To Pass LGBT Protections

Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

After more than six hours of public testimony and debate, Pocatello's city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance early Friday morning. The new law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] people from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination.

This makes the eastern Idaho city the latest in a wave of local governments to vote for a so-called "add the words" law, in absence of the state Legislature's inaction. Currently there is no statewide protection of this kind.

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