Politics + Policy

Medicaid
11:47 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Idaho Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Consider Medicaid Case

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.
Credit Idaho Public Television

Idaho attorneys are requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court consider a state appeal of a lawsuit challenging Medicaid provider reimbursement rates.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden filed the petition paperwork Wednesday on behalf of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The state's appeal requests the justices to decide on a 2009 case where five providers alleged that Idaho's Medicaid rates were too low because they were kept at 2006 reimbursement levels.

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Politics
11:05 am
Wed July 2, 2014

2 Idaho Congressmen Weigh In On GOP Infighting

Credit twitter.com/@IdahoGOP

Idaho's GOP congressional leaders say state party leaders should meet Aug. 2 to determine who's in charge and achieve unity.

GOP Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson issued a joint statement Tuesday saying that they that agree with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter that members should respect the date members have chosen to scrutinize their party leaders' qualifications.

Their announcement comes after weeks of division between far-right conservatives and establishment Republicans fighting over when the state central committee should meet this summer.

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Idaho Prison
11:59 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Idaho Takeover Of Privately Managed Prison Is Underway

The state takeover of a privately-managed prison in Boise is now underway.

Idaho corrections staff have been preparing for months to take over the 2,080-bed facility ever since Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced earlier this year he would not renew the $29 million-a-year contract with Corrections Corporations of America. That process officially began Tuesday.

Under CCA management, the prison has been sued and wracked by accusations of violence, gang activity and understaffing.

Higher Education
10:55 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Boise State University Faces Lawsuit Over Limits On Campus Protests

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An anti-abortion organization says Boise State University is violating free speech laws by limiting students' protest to just a handful of areas on campus.

Abolitionists4Life filed the lawsuit against the university Friday. They argue that BSU is violating their First Amendment rights.

The group says the university required them to put up warning signs during a May protest because officials considered their material controversial.

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2014 Election
8:12 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Recount Confirms Pocatello Non-Discrimination Ordinance Vote

A recount has confirmed last month's vote by Pocatello residents retaining an ordinance banning discrimination against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The recount on Friday was done at the request of a group opposed to the city ordinance approved by the Pocatello City Council in June 2013 and backed by voters on May 20.

Bannock County election officials found discrepancies with about a dozen votes but not near enough to change the outcome of the election result.

Transportation
12:06 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Idaho's Interstate Speed Limits Won't Increase July 1

This is a portion of I-15, which runs through part of Idaho.
Credit Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Transportation is delaying increased interstate speed limits that were originally scheduled to take effect July 1 as it looks over public comments.

Sections of I-84, I-86 and I-15 were supposed to see speed limits increased to 80 miles per hour.

The department has finished a review of increasing speed limits and will present its findings in mid-July.

ITD Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter says holding off on the increases will "allow a thoughtful and inclusive review, ensuring safety.”

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Policy
6:38 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Abortion Seekers Still Protected At Northwest Clinics After Supreme Court Ruling

File photo of the west face of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Abortion services providers say the Supreme Court’s ruling on 35-foot “buffer zones” around Massachusetts clinics won’t have much effect in the Northwest.

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Gay Marriage
5:38 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Utah Plans To Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling After Federal Court Decision

Credit Michael Jozwiak / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah's attorney general plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling Wednesday that found states must allow gay couples to marry.

Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes' office said in a statement it will file a petition to have the country's highest court review the decision by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The office also left open the possibility of requesting a review from the full panel of judges at the 10th Circuit.

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Politics
9:50 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Idaho GOP Leaders Call Competing Meetings In Fight Over Leadership

Credit twitter.com/@IdahoGOP

The Idaho Republican Party infighting that bogged down the state convention 10 days ago, continues to spill over into the summer as groups have now called two separate meetings to address the ongoing issue of party leadership.

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Policy
4:11 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Judge Sides With Idaho Tribe On Poker Dispute

Credit Ross Elliott / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill has sided with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and will not issue a temporary ban on poker play at its Worley casino.

The state of Idaho filed a lawsuit last month to shut down the tribe's poker room. The state says that all poker is banned under Idaho's Constitution and by state law. Tribal representatives, however, counter that Texas Hold 'Em tournaments is not considered illegal gambling but a game of skill.

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Event
1:51 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Scalia To Speak At Idaho Water Conference

Justice Scalia at a book signing in San Francisco.
Credit Shawn / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will visit Boise in August to give the keynote speech at a conference marking the end of a nearly 30-year water adjudication process.

The University of Idaho announced the upcoming event is sponsored by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Kempthorne Institute, and U of I’s College of Law.

Scalia is speaking at a conference celebrating the end of the Snake River Basin Adjudication process which negotiated water rights in Idaho. That adjudication started in 1987.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Special Meeting Called To Determine Idaho GOP Leadership

Idaho Republican Chairman Barry Peterson has called for a special meeting to resolve the controversy surrounding the party's leadership.

According to a news release, the state central committee will meet Aug. 9. The committee will vote on a June 19 decision where Republican officials agreed that Peterson is the party's leader for another two-year term.

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Policy
12:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Idaho May Have Trouble Defending Its 'Ag-Gag' Law

Credit jennie-o / Flickr Creative Commons

On Wednesday a federal judge hears arguments on Idaho’s new “ag gag” law, which creates stiff punishments for people who surreptitiously video or photograph agricultural operations.

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Policy
10:42 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Priest Lake Cabin Owners Sue Idaho Over Land Valuation

The owners of 76 cabins built on state land around a northern Idaho lake are suing over the way the state determined the land's value.

The Spokesman-Review reports the lawsuit argues the state is including the value of improvements such as access roads and utility lines that renters paid to have installed at cabin sites on Priest Lake.

The appraised value will be the minimum bid for possible auctions and will be used as the basis for future rental costs.

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Republican Party
2:35 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Control Over Idaho GOP Remains Uncertain

Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr

An Idaho Republican Party advisory committee meeting turned combative Thursday while members discussed who held the chairmanship.

Factions inside the Idaho Republican Party have spent the past week fiercely debating who holds the seat ever since the chaotic GOP convention last week ended with no new chair elected.

After nearly two hours of yelling and talking over one another, the committee concluded that Chairman Barry Peterson's term was extended for another two years.

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Policy
3:37 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Idaho On Track To Take Over Prison Management July 1

Idaho correctional officials say the upcoming state takeover of a Boise private prison will be seamless. 

The state will begin running the more than 2,000-bed Idaho Correction Center starting July 1 when the $29 million-a-year contract with the Corrections Corporations of America expires.

Warden Randy Blades said that the transition process is 98 percent complete during an Idaho Board of Corrections meeting Thursday.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

House GOP Picks McCarthy For Majority Leader; Scalise Gets Whip

Kevin McCarthy of Calif. arrives with his GOP House allies for leadership elections on Thursday. McCarthy won his bid to replace outgoing Rep. Eric Cantor as the party's majority leader.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:14 pm

This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. ET.

Calif. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has been chosen by House Republicans to be their next majority leader, taking the place of Rep. Eric Cantor, who was defeated in a stunning primary upset earlier this month. Louisiana's Rep. Steve Scalise has been selected to fill the majority whip post left vacant by McCarthy's promotion.

McCarthy defeated Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative with close ties to the Tea Party, in a secret ballot for the position.

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Politics
10:18 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Idaho Democratic Leader Says Republican Fighting Is Helping His Party

Idaho Democrats convene in Moscow this weekend.
Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Democrats meet this weekend in Moscow for their state party convention. It comes a week after the state’s Republican convention, which the Washington Post called “a total fiasco.” Factional infighting prevented Idaho’s dominant party from accomplishing anything on its convention agenda, including electing a party chairman.

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Medicaid
2:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

2 Years After Unanimously Recommending Medicaid Expansion, Idaho Governor's Group Reconvenes

An Idaho workgroup reconvened Wednesday to reevaluate options on how to offer medical services to low-income adults who don't have health insurance.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has repeatedly said he does not want to expand the state's current Medicaid program but has appointed a 15-member group to consider other possibilities.

The panel first met in 2012 and recommended expanding the state's Medicaid eligibility requirements.

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Policy
2:24 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Dairymen Denied Joining Idaho's Ag-Gag Lawsuit

Credit MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has denied a request by the Idaho Dairymen's Association to join Idaho in defending the recently passed law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities.

The Times-News reports that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill shot down the request Monday. Winmill said in his ruling that the state can represent the dairymen's interests without the group getting involved.

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