Politics + Policy

Election 2014
10:24 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Should Idaho Ditch 4-Day School Weeks? See How It's Become A Campaign Talking Point

Credit BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s four-day schools have become a talking point in this fall’s elections — to the chagrin of at least two superintendents that use a four-day instruction calendar.

They say the four-day schools are getting an unfair rap for slashing instruction time, and for compromising quality.

“I understand why it’s out there in the political discussion, because it’s a quick soundbite,” Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite said last week.

It has certainly been a recurring campaign theme.

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Gay Marriage
6:21 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Is Idaho's Gay Marriage Case Unique Enough To Yield A Different Supreme Court Decision?

Credit David / Flickr Creative Commons

A reporter for the blog covering the Supreme Court, "Scotusblog" says the state of Idaho likely faces an uphill battle in convincing justices that their case against gay marriage is any different than the seven states the court turned away Monday.

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Gay Marriage
2:56 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Idaho's Gay Marriage Plaintiffs Disappointed, Not Defeated By Supreme Court Stay

Amber and Rachael Beierle are two of eight plaintiffs who sued the state to overturn Idaho's gay marriage ban.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Gay couples were denied marriage licenses at county courthouses around Idaho Wednesday morning after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay preventing lower and appellate court rulings from taking effect. 

Nearly 100 people had already gathered outside Ada County's courthouse before doors opened at 8 a.m. Many of those gathered had hoped they'd be getting their marriage licenses.

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Election 2014
9:49 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Denney, Woodings Touch On Issue Of Closed Primaries During Statewide Debate

The two candidates running to be Idaho's next Secretary of State faced off Tuesday in a debate hosted by Idaho Public Television.  

State Representative Lawerence Denney of Midvale, a Republican, debated state Representative Holli Woodings of Boise, a Democrat.

In a debate Monday, Denney was reported as saying that primaries should not be run by the state government, but by political parties.  

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Gay Marriage
2:24 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Live Blog: Supreme Court Lifts Hold On Same-Sex Weddings In Idaho, 9th Wants To Hear From State

Machelle Migneault and her partner embraced in line to get a marriage license Oct. 10, 2014.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 9:16 p.m.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has now given the state of Idaho until 1 p.m. MDT Monday to respond to this evening's motion from the plaintiffs in the case.  The plaintiffs have until 6 p.m. MDT Monday to reply to that response.

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Gay Marriage
11:37 am
Mon October 6, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Makes Gay Marriage Legal In 30 States, Not Idaho

Credit MyTudut / Flickr Creative Commons

This story was updated at 5:45 p.m.

State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since summer 2013, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The high court Monday cleared the way for more expansion by turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit it.  

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Election 2014
4:48 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Listen: Idaho Gov. Otter Defends His Record In First Debate Against Balukoff, Bujak

All four candidates met in their first debate Oct. 3 in Coeur d'Alene.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter defended his record on schools, healthcare and the economy at a debate in Coeur d'Alene Friday.

The two-term Republican governor faced off for the first time with his Democratic opponent A.J. Balukoff, and Libertarian candidate John Bujak, who is hoping to appeal to disillusioned Republicans. 

Bujak kicked off the debate by thanking the governor for being there.

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Campaign Violation
10:15 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Former Idaho Sen. Craig Ordered To Pay For Misused Funds

Credit Joe Jaszewski / The Idaho Statesman

Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig has been ordered to pay nearly $242,000 to the U.S. Treasury for improperly using campaign funds to cover legal expenses after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Tuesday that Craig illegally converted campaign money for personal expenses while attempting to withdraw his guilty plea to one count of disorderly conduct.

Jackson found that Craig's effort was not connected to his duties representing Idahoans in Congress.

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Ethics Violation
9:55 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Idaho Supreme Court Rules Former Prosecutor, Gubernatorial Candidate Bujak Broke Ethics Rules

The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and former Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak violated four of the Idaho State Bar's ethics rules between 2004 and 2011.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the court ordered that Bujak's law license be suspended for one year, but because he already underwent a 19-month interim suspension three years ago, the penalty has been satisfied.  

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Idaho Legislature
10:31 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Idaho Legal Fees To Look At Public Lands Takeover Total $61,000

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's bill for outside legal work to find a way take over federal public lands is up to about $61,000.

Documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review in a story on Tuesday show Holland & Hart charged about $20,000 for work from April to August.

That's on top of about $41,000 the state previously paid.

Holland & Hart lawyer Bill Myers charges the state $420 an hour.

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Election 2014
1:09 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Idaho Governor Ads Heat Up, Hazy On Details

Idaho's gubernatorial candidates are honing their campaign messages as election season enters the homestretch. However, as political advertisements increase, not all include details proving their claims.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's political ads have largely focused on his involvement during his past two terms in improving Idaho's economy after it fell during the Great Recession.

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9:49 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Forest Service Chief Says Filming Regulations On Public Land Won't Apply To Journalists

Credit Linda Tanner / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal agency under fire from free speech advocates and nature enthusiasts says it has absolutely no intention of charging people to take pictures on public land. The head of the U.S. Forest Service Thursday clarified a rule that’s been generating charges of government overreach.

“There's no way that our proposal will infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights,” says Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell. 

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11:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

City Of Boise Limits Police Action On Homeless, ACLU Not Satisfied

A homeless man's belongings outside Boise's Corpus Christi day shelter
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise City Council this week changed its ordinance which makes it illegal to sleep in public places. The council voted not to enforce its “camping” ordinance when homeless shelters are full. That comes after police this summer cracked down on people sleeping on the sidewalk near some of the city’s shelters and homeless advocates and others criticized the move.

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Election 2014
9:18 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Candidates For Idaho Governor Debate Without The Incumbent

The first debate between candidates for governor of Idaho kicked off Wednesday evening without the incumbent, but nonetheless, he was the target of criticism throughout the event.

Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff faced off against Libertarian candidate John Bujak in Twin Falls.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter declined to participate, but he has accepted debate invitations in other regions of the state in the upcoming weeks.

3:47 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Idaho Public TV Plans 'Vigorous' Fight Against Rules For Filming Public Land

Idaho's Sawtooth National Forest.
Credit Miguel Vieira / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Public Television plans to fight the U.S Forest Service over a proposal that would require its camera crews to ask government permission before filming on public land.

The Forest Service first introduced the rule four years ago as a means of protecting public lands from commercial interests.

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Election 2014
2:40 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Gov. Otter's Election Challenger Balukoff Has Spent 4-Times More On TV Ads

A.J. Balukoff is campaigning to unseat two-term incumbent Butch Otter.
Credit AJForIdaho.com

Idaho democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff is outspending Republican opponent Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on political television advertisements.

According to data reviewed by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity, Balukoff has spent more than $500,000 on political television advertisements. Otter, meanwhile, has spent nearly $121,000 on television ads in the same time period.

The data also found that Balukoff's ads have run nearly 2,800 times and Otter's ads have run little more than 500.

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Drug Policy
7:42 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Congress May Answer (And Complicate) An Idaho Girl's Need For Epilepsy Treatment

Clare, Alexis and Michael Carey before Alexis was hospitalized in June.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a bill in Congress that would legalize a marijuana extract to treat children with severe epilepsy. We’ve reported previously on plans to introduce a similar bill in Idaho’s Legislature.

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10:27 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Audit Finds No Problems With Idaho Treasurer

Auditors for the Idaho Legislature say they have found no problems with accounting or administrative procedures at the state treasurer's office.

The audit, released Thursday, didn't find anything significant conditions or weaknesses in the general management and accounting controls of the office.

Treasurer Ron Crane says he's extremely pleased with the report, and says it shows that all prior concerns have been resolved to the Legislative Auditor's full satisfaction.

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Cobell Settlement
1:37 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Native Americans Getting Final Settlement Payments

Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans across the nation have started receiving the final cash payments this week from one of the largest government settlements in U.S. history.

Checks ranging from $869 to nearly $10 million were sent beginning Monday to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement.

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5:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Idaho Rep. Labrador Pushes Bipartisan Police Demilitarization Bill

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho GOP congressman Raul Labrador is teaming up with a Democratic lawmaker to move a bill designed to curb police militarization among state and local law enforcement agencies.

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and Labrador introduced the bill Tuesday. The legislation follows the shooting of a black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, that sparked a series of riots and increased criticism of police use of military equipment.

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