The White House says automatic spending reductions will be put off until late this evening. President Obama must issue the order for $85 billion in cuts sometime today. And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, because Obama remains "ever hopeful."
Idaho Governor Butch Otter weighed in on the cuts known as the sequester yesterday. He was on the east coast, speaking to a meeting of Farmers Insurance officials.
Friday a group of Idaho senators hears from the public on a proposal to change how referenda and initiatives get on the ballot. This comes a few months after Idaho voters overturned education laws through the referendum process.
It takes 6 percent of eligible voters in Idaho to get an initiative on the ballot. The Idaho Farm Bureau wants that to be 6 percent of voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. Spokesman John Thompson says the Farm Bureau has wanted this change for years and calls it a preemptive move.
Sequestration is looming, with the across-the-board $85 billion federal budget cuts now less than a day away. Among those watching closely to see what happens is Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.
As the deadline gets closer, Crapo expects several attempts to hold off sequestration. He’s heard of at least three bills that will come up for a vote. “One will be on the President’s proposal to avoid the sequestration by raising taxes and setting off some of the sequestration by agreeing not to do it.”
Friday's looming sequestration deadline has left federal agencies struggling to come up with contingency plans. According to the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration's [FAA] budget would be cut by $600 million.
Idaho lawmakers have been in session for nearly three months and there's still a lot to get done before legislators can go home. The Governor’s health insurance exchange survived a vote in the Senate. Now the House will consider the state-based exchange this week. There are also several education and gun bills that are working their way through the legislative process.
Northwest military bases, universities, national labs and parks await guidance for how to implement automatic federal budget cuts. The so-called "sequester" is scheduled to take effect Friday. The White House Sunday released a state by state report detailing the impacts of automatic spending cuts. You can read the report on how these cuts could affect Idaho here.
The commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific says every scenario he's contemplated for the automatic spending cuts hurts readiness. Admiral Samuel Locklear had just toured Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma on Friday. Locklear says one of the most visible impacts will be furloughs of civilian defense workers, which could start in April.
Four of Idaho’s neighbors have legalized medical marijuana. One of those, Washington State, has legalized it for recreational purposes. Now one Idaho lawmaker wants to make sure that never happens here.