Politics + Policy

2014 Election
12:07 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Wasden Wins Idaho GOP Attorney General Primary

Lawrence Wasden gave a brief victory speech May 20 after beating his primary challenger Chris Troupis. Wasden is running for his fourth term as attorney general.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Lawrence Wasden, Idaho's longest-serving attorney general, defeated challenger C.T. "Chris" Troupis in Tuesday's Republican primary election.

Wasden is seeking his fourth term in office. Wasden has said he would continue to fight to protect Idaho's sovereignty and water rights, and to combat fraud.

Troupis, a tea party favorite, had said his main focus if he won the general election would have been to pursue securing full control of Idaho's federally managed public lands.

Bruce Bristline ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Read more
Gay Rights
11:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Pocatello Voters Keep LGBT Protections

The Pocatello City Council heard public testimony on the issue in April 2013.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A ballot measure in Pocatello that would have repealed the city's non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people failed by a narrow margin according to the Idaho State Journal.

Read more
Election 2014
10:09 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Congressman Mike Simpson Easily Defeats Tea Party Challenger In Idaho

Bryan Smith (foreground) is an Idaho Falls attorney who was supported by the national group, Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

The Associated Press has called Idaho's Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District for eight-term incumbent Mike Simpson.

Simpson had faced a tough primary challenge from tea party-backed candidate Bryan Smith.

Simpson's opponent, Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith, got an endorsement from the Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho, citing his October 2013 decision to end the 16-day partial government shutdown Republicans attempted to use to force an end to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Gay Marriage
6:16 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Gay Marriage Must Remain On Hold In Idaho

Credit SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal appeals court says no same-sex marriages will be allowed in Idaho until an appeal is decided.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted a request for a stay from Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

The decision means that despite a recent ruling overturning Idaho's gay marriage ban, same-sex couples can't get married or have their marriages recognized until the 9th Circuit or U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to let the ruling stand.

Read more
Election 2014
1:51 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

5 Things To Watch In The Idaho Primary Election

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

WHAT'S AT STAKE? In Idaho, the primary election is often the most fiercely fought contest between candidates. The winners of the GOP primary almost always go on to win in November as they usually don't face serious opposition from Democrats.

Read more
Election 2014
1:17 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Pocatello Could Turn Back The Clock On Local Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Credit Aaron Webb / Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, voters in Pocatello will decide the fate of a law that’s been on the books for less than a year. Proposition 1 asks whether the city’s ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents should remain or be repealed. A 'yes' vote would repeal the law.

Read more
Attorney General
9:33 am
Mon May 19, 2014

New Idaho Law Boosts Resources For Investigations

A new law will give the Idaho attorney general's office additional staff and resources to investigate public corruption and capital crimes cases.

The office's special prosecutions unit averaged just 30 cases a year in the past three years, compared to taking 144 cases in 2005.

A $617,000 budget increase will allow the unit to hire an additional lawyer and two investigators.

But the Idaho Statesman reports the new law that takes effect July 1 also may mean an increase in the number of investigations.

Read more
Government Transparency
9:30 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Idaho Governor Ombudsman Order Changed At The Last Minute

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Public records from Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office show that an executive order creating a new public records ombudsman had to be scaled back at the last minute over concerns it could step on existing law.

Otter issued the executive order late last month, naming Cally Younger the new ombudsman and calling on her to create an annual report detailing public record requests and denials. The move was in response to a request from the Newspaper Association of Idaho, which wanted an option to appeal denied requests without going to court.

Read more
Election 2014
12:12 pm
Sat May 17, 2014

High On Tea Party Hit List, Idaho Congressman Looks To Hold On

Idaho Republican House candidate Bryan Smith is trying to unseat eight-term GOP Rep. Mike Simpson. The May 20 primary is viewed as a contest of Tea Party vs. establishment.
Kim Raff AP

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 9:51 am

Mike Simpson has been atop the Tea Party hit list for much of this election year.

And Tuesday's primary contest between the Idaho Republican congressman and Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith had been billed as a big one in a string of GOP primary mashups that would signal the sway of the Tea Party faction — or the ability of traditional conservatives like Simpson to fight back in a deep red state.

"It's been a real-deal campaign here in Idaho," says Skip Smyser, the conservative founder of Boise-based government relations firm Lobby Idaho.

Read more
Business
5:54 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Idaho Brewery Gets Political With 'Little Bitch Otter' Beer

Credit Courtesy Crooked Fence Brewery

An Idaho brewery is wading into political commentary with a new beer dubbed "Little Bitch Otter," which appears to take a shot at Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

The logo, made by Crooked Fence Brewing co-owner and marketing director Kelly Knopp, features an otter wearing a tie and cowboy hat.

"Anyone that is going to try to take away freedoms or not let someone be equal, Crooked Fence is against," says Knopp.

Knopp wouldn't be more specific on why their political cartoon appears to put Gov. Otter in the cross hairs, although the timing seems deliberate.

Read more
Election 2014
1:45 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

As America Laughs, Host Of Wacky Idaho Debate Has No Regrets

Melissa Davlin is co-host of Idaho Public Television's "Idaho Reports."
Credit Courtesy Aaron Kunz

Idaho Public Television host Melissa Davlin says she doesn’t blame Idaho’s governor for insisting that long-shot candidates Harley Brown and Walt Bayes be invited to participate in this week’s GOP gubernatorial debate.

Read more
Gay Marriage
1:17 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Gay Rights Celebration Turns Into Rally As Court Halts Same Sex Marriages In Idaho

Nearly 200 people attended the event that was organized as a celebration. It turned into a rally now that an appellate court has temporarily halted gay marriages.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Gay rights supporters waived rainbow flags and held signs reading "Love will prevail" outside the county courthouse in Boise Friday.

The rally originally was planned as a party after a federal judge ruled earlier this week that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. But an appellate court put the ruling on hold for a review.

About 200 people showed up at the Ada County Courthouse anyway to celebrate what they see as progress for the cause.

Read more
Gay Marriage
1:56 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

9th Circuit Court Stops Gay Marriages From Beginning In Idaho

Idaho's governor and attorney general have said they'll continue to uphold the 2006 voter-approved amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 5:00 p.m. May 15.

Same-sex weddings likely won't begin Friday morning in Idaho. The Idaho Statesman reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a temporary stay of a lower court's ruling striking down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban.

Read more
Election 2014
12:44 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Why Idaho's Governor Wouldn't Debate Without 2 Perennial Election Losers

Idaho Public Television aired the debate live on May 14. Boise State Public Radio will air a re-broadcast May 15 at 8 p.m. on KBSX 91.5 FM.
Credit Jim Hadley / Idaho Public Television

Four Republican candidates vying to be Idaho's governor participated Wednesday in a debate that longtime political observers knew had the potential to be...colorful. It certainly was.

The two candidates considered to be the race's only serious contenders, incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter and state Sen. Russ Fulcher, were joined by two frequent candidates who've never been elected to any statewide office, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes.

Read more
Gay Marriage
12:31 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Idaho Couples Ask Court Not To Stop Gay Marriages

Deborah Ferguson is the lead attorney for the four Idaho couples.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The four couples who sued to get Idaho's ban on gay marriages overturned this week are asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to refuse to put the ruling on hold.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden have both asked the appellate court to temporarily stop a lower judge's ruling ordering that gay marriage be allowed in Idaho starting Friday morning. Wasden and Otter say they need time to appeal, and that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to take up the matter.

Read more
Election 2014
9:49 am
Thu May 15, 2014

4 Republican Men Race To Be Idaho's Next Secretary Of State

The Republican candidates are Evan Frasure, Mitch Toryanski, Phil McGrane and Lawerence Denney.
Credit Idaho Public Television

For the first time in almost 50 years, Idaho voters won't be given the option to choose Ben Ysursa or Pete Cenarrusa on the May 20 primary ballot.

Instead, four Republicans and one Democrat are racing to become Idaho's next secretary of state. Three out of the four GOP candidates come with legislative experience, while the fourth is currently the Ada County chief deputy clerk.

While the job serves as Idaho's chief election officer, the secretary is also a member of the Idaho Land Board and oversees business filings.

Read more
Road To Red
6:45 am
Thu May 15, 2014

What It Means To Be ‘Fiercely Independent’ In Idaho, A State Surrounded By Government

The Baker family's three ranches are in the East Fork valley. That's the snow-capped top of Castle Peak in the background.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If Hollywood needed a setting for one of its westerns, this spot along the East Fork of the Salmon River just might be it. In fact, one of Clint Eastwood’s famous westerns, Pale Rider, was shot not too far from here.

For the dwindling number of ranchers who still earn their livings on this land, this valley is nothing like a romanticized western – it’s gritty, year-round work.

The Baker family has lived, and ranched here for more than 125 years.

Read more
2014 Election
9:57 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Idaho's Republican Candidates For Governor Square Off In Colorful Debate

Idaho's four Republican candidates for governor, Harley Brown, Walt Bayes, Butch Otter, and Russ Fulcher, debated May 14, on Idaho Public Television.
Credit Jim Hadley / Idaho Public Television

Four candidates vying for the Idaho GOP gubernatorial nomination faced off Wednesday evening in their only scheduled debate, tackling the economy, state control of federal lands and the Affordable Health Care Act.

Two-term Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is challenged by Sen. Russ Fulcher, Walt Bayes and Harley Brown.

During the Idaho Public Television debate, Brown colorfully described the group as a cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker and a normal guy, referring to Otter, Bayes, himself and Fulcher respectively.

Read more
Gay Marriage
4:15 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Idaho Governor, Attorney General Work To Stop Same Sex Marriages

Gov. Butch Otter set aside $1 million during the 2014 legislative session for court costs in this case.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s first same-sex marriages are expected to begin Friday morning after a federal judge denied Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to hold off on the unions while the state works through its appeal process. 

Read more
Road To Red
6:45 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Idaho Counties Struggle As Federal Timber Rules Slow The Harvest

Downtown Council has more hills than buildings. This tiny town has a population of 839.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In a 2010 public policy survey by Boise State University, people were asked which level of government they most trust. The federal government lagged far behind state and local entities.

Read more

Pages