Politics + Policy

Policy
4:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Idaho's GOP Leader Sues For Party Control

Barry Peterson (left) talks with Gov. Otter at the GOP's May 21 unity rally.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's Republican Party infighting may be solved in court.

The leader of Idaho's Republican Party has filed a lawsuit against two members of his own party who called an Aug. 2 meeting of the GOP Central Committee after the group left its state convention without voting on a platform or new leaders.

Chairman Barry Peterson has called for an Aug. 9 meeting.

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Entertainment
2:18 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Idaho's Eccentric Political Candidate Harley Brown Gets Reality TV Deal

Brown has long been a candidate for political office in Idaho. He's never been elected.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Well, it happened. Idaho's very own gubernatorial debate superstar Harley Brown has inked a TV deal, according to the Boise Weekly.

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Public Health
9:46 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Coeur d'Alene Lost $1.5 Million Crisis Center After Regional Lawmakers Opposed Project

Northern Idaho lawmakers opposing a bill to fund three mental health crisis centers is part of the reason Coeur d'Alene didn't get a $1.5 million behavioral-health crisis center.

Information obtained by the Coeur d'Alene Press through a public records request shows that a committee gave the city a higher score than winner Idaho Falls.

But criteria also included lawmaker support, which the center attained in eastern Idaho.

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State Budget
3:41 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Idaho Ends Budget Year With More Cash Than Planned

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Idaho closed the 2014 fiscal year with $7.2 million more than anticipated.

The Idaho Division of Financial Management reports that June's general fund receipts of $294.4 million were $8.4 million above economists' projections. Overall, last month's boost helped raise the final fiscal year totals to $2.81 billion.

That means general fund dollars went up 2.4 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.

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Policy
12:27 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Idaho Endowment Fund Hits Record $1.7 Billion

Idaho's endowment fund hit a record high of $1.73 billion after earning high returns on its investments over the past year.

Investment manager Larry Johnson told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the fund during the fiscal year that ended June 30 earned its second-highest amount in its history.

This is also the second year in a row the fund hit an all-time high.

That means there will be an increase in how much the fund can distribute to public schools and other endowment beneficiaries.

Policy
4:37 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

The Constitution Might Have Something To Say When Police Shoot Dogs

Video screengrab from the February dog shooting incident in Filer, Idaho.

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:50 am

A handful of recent incidents where police have shot pet dogs in Idaho have angered animal rights advocates. One dog owner in the small town of Filer has issued notice that he intends to sue the city over the death of his dog, Hooch.

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Idaho Legislature
4:13 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Audit: More Proof Of Review Needed From Idaho Treasurer

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Auditors with the Idaho Legislature say State Treasurer Ron Crane has not provided enough evidence that a full review was conducted following an inappropriate money transfer.

The auditors found earlier this year Crane's office overrode internal controls meant to contain financial risk and the transfer resulted in a loss of at least $10.2 million loss of taxpayer money.

The 90-day follow-up audit says Crane's office asserts it has reviewed its securities lending transactions but has only provided state officials with documentation for two specific transactions.

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Gov. Evans
10:49 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Gov. Evans To Lie In State Friday At Idaho Capitol

Former Gov. John Victor Evans Sr. will lie in state Friday at the Idaho Capitol.

Evans died at his home in Boise on Tuesday at age 89.

The Idaho Statesman reports that a public viewing is planned for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

A funeral service will be held starting at 5 p.m. in Boise at the First United Methodist Church, Cathedral of the Rockies.

Public Lands
3:28 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Rep. Labrador Asks Congress To Turn Parcel Of Federal Land Into Idaho County Gun Range

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow a parcel of federal land to be transferred into county ownership for use as a gun range. 

The 31-acre area is near Riggins, along the Salmon River in north-central Idaho. An act of Congress is needed because the land currently falls under the protection of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

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Obituary
11:58 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Former Idaho Gov. John Evans Has Died At Age 89

Former Gov. John Victor Evans Sr., one of Idaho's last Mormon Democrats to achieve statewide political success, has died. He was 89.

Summers Funeral Home confirmed he died Tuesday morning at his home in Boise.

Evans was born Jan. 18, 1925, in Malad City. He is the grandson of the founder of the Idaho-based D.L. Evans Bank.

Evans was elected Idaho lieutenant governor in 1974, a position he held for the next three years. In 1977, he was elevated to the chief executive job when then-Gov. Cecil D. Andrus was named U.S. Interior secretary under President Jimmy Carter.

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Policy
8:54 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Utah's Limited Medical Marijuana Program Begins

Utah will begin issuing registration cards Tuesday for its limited medical marijuana program targeting adults and children with severe epilepsy.

A new state law doesn't allow medical marijuana production or distribution but permits those meeting certain requirements to possess a marijuana extract oil.

The oil is believed to help with severe seizures.

The extract's Colorado-based producer has a long waiting list, so many families are expected to apply for their Utah registration cards later this year when there will be more supply of the oil.

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Gay Rights
10:56 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Navy Veteran Sues Idaho For Right To Be Buried Next To Same-Sex Spouse

A U.S. Navy veteran is suing after the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery refused to allow her to be buried with the ashes of her late wife.

Seventy-four-year-old Madelynn Taylor tried to make advance arrangements last year to have her ashes interred with Jean Mixner at the cemetery.

The couple was legally married in California in 2008, but cemetery employees refused her request because Idaho state law doesn't recognize their marriage.

Transportation
7:00 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Feds Warn States Of Possible Highway Cash Holdback

File photo of construction along I-90 near Roslyn, Washington, in summer 2012.

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 7:54 pm

The Idaho Transportation Department has suspended advertising for bids for future highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same.

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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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