Politics + Policy

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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Politics
2:07 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

How Republican Infighting Could Help Idaho Democrats...A Little

It’s political convention season in Idaho. Republicans held theirs last weekend and Democrats will meet this weekend. Randy Stapilus admits what happens at party conventions doesn’t typically reach directly into people’s lives.

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Health
6:29 am
Tue June 17, 2014

How One Young Girl Could Change Idaho's Strict Marijuana Laws

Clare, Alexis and Micheal Carey.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Nine-year-old Alexis Carey has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. She started having seizures when she was a couple months old. Her mom Clare says Alexis is a happy kid, but she can't speak or potty train.

“You have seizures that go on for over an hour and nothing stops them,” Clare says.

“It’s so hard to helplessly watch your kid seizing for an hour,” Alexis’ dad Michael Carey says. “You can’t describe how painful it is.”

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Policy
7:28 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Idaho Woman's Fight For Foster Daughter Reveals A System Of Difficult Choices

Andrea Butler of Rathdrum, Idaho, stands in the room Dee had in her home for the four-and-a-half years Butler fostered her.

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:43 pm

Adoptions are usually private affairs, sealed forever in court documents and known only to the families involved. But recently, one decision by Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare exploded into the public sphere.

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Bowe Bergdahl
1:46 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Idaho’s Politicians Walk A Careful Line In Debate Over Bergdahl Release

Bergdahl, now 28, spent nearly five years as POW.
Credit Courtesy of the Bergdahl family

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived at a military hospital in Texas Friday to continue his recovery process. There has been no shortage of strong opinions about the release of the former POW, except among Idaho's Congressional delegation. The two senators and two congressmen from Bergdahl's home state have largely avoided the national fray.

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Congress
11:59 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Idaho Congressman Labrador Announces Candidacy For House Majority Leader

Labrador was first elected to Congress in 2010.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador could begin his third term in the U.S. House as Majority Leader. Labrador Friday announced he's running for the high-profile post after Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA, lost his primary election.

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Politics
3:05 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

High Stakes At Idaho's Republican Convention As Factions Fight For Control

Betsy Russell says this weekend's state GOP convention could get quite heated, but unlike these elephants (the party's symbol) Russell doesn't expect any physical violence.
Credit s9-4pr / Flickr Creative Commons

In her 28 years covering Idaho politics, Betsy Russell has never gotten a press release from someone running for a political party chairmanship, until this year.

Normally only the party faithful would even notice the state Republican Party convention, which starts today in Moscow, and lasts all weekend. But this year, the convention and the chairman's race are getting a lot of attention.

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Policy
1:25 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Rural Border Town Becomes Idaho's 8th City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Victor, Idaho is 25 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Credit Eric Fredricks / Flickr Creative Commons

A small town on Idaho's border with Wyoming is the latest city to approve employment, housing and public accommodation protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Victor, Idaho is the eighth city to approve a non-discrimination ordinance. It says people can’t be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

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Policy
4:28 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Judge Bans Idaho From Removing Protester Tents

Tents filled the lawn next to the state Capitol in 2011.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge issued a ruling Wednesday barring Idaho from removing tents used by Occupy Boise protesters on state grounds.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in a decision released one day after listening to oral arguments that the around-the-clock tent ban violated the group's First Amendment rights.

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Bowe Bergdahl
1:58 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Idaho Rep. Labrador Urges Politicians To Stop Criticizing Sgt. Bergdahl

Rep. Labrador represents Idaho's First Congressional District.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador, a Republican, is calling on fellow politicians to avoid “escalating the rhetoric” around Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He made the comments at a panel discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation Tuesday in Washington D.C. 

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Election 2014
1:30 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Group Wants Recount Of Eastern Idaho Town's Non-Discrimination Vote

A group opposed to Pocatello's non-discrimination ordinance retained by voters last month is seeking a recount.

Bannock County election officials tell the Idaho State Journal that Vote Yes Pocatello made the request Monday.

The group wants a recount in 20 of Pocatello's 39 precincts from the May 20 vote, as well as a recount of early and absentee votes.

The city of Pocatello in June 2013 passed an ordinance banning discrimination against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Guns On Campus
10:05 am
Thu June 5, 2014

As Idaho Colleges Brace For Guns, Here's How Utah Schools Manage It

Utah Valley University had 30,880 full and part-time students in 2013.
Credit ZenHikers / Flickr Creative Commons

On July 1, people with concealed weapons permits can carry their firearms right onto the campus of Boise State, and any other state-run college or university in Idaho. This state is the seventh to allow “campus carry.”

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Policy
9:33 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Idaho's Federal Lands Panel Hires Private Attorney

The Legislature's Federal Lands Interim Committee has hired outside legal counsel even though the state attorney general's office has questioned the legality of Idaho being able to take control of public lands away from the government.

The committee is relying on the Legislature's Legal Defense Fund to cover the private attorney's costs. So far, Idaho has paid the attorney nearly $26,000.

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Gay Marriage
12:37 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Gay Marriage Plaintiffs Ask Idaho To Pay Their Court Costs

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

Four couples who successfully sued Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter over the state's gay marriage ban are now asking to be reimbursed for nearly half a million dollars of attorney fees and other court costs.

The group filed a motion in Boise's U.S. District Court on Tuesday asking that the state be ordered to pay more than $467,000 for the expenses associated with bringing the lawsuit.

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Business
4:27 am
Wed May 28, 2014

'Little Bitch Otter' Beer Maker To Give Some Proceeds To Gay Rights Groups

Crooked Fence Brewing's Kelly Knopp created this image for its beer label.
Credit Courtesy Crooked Fence Brewery

The brewery we told you about two weeks ago that's fermenting a batch of political commentary plans to give a portion of its proceeds from "Little Bitch Otter" beer to gay rights groups.

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Policy
10:18 am
Tue May 27, 2014

New Idaho Law Aims To Curb Power Of Homeowners' Associations

Some experts estimate Idaho has more than 3,000 homeowners' associations.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

A new Idaho law set to take effect this summer will curb the power of homeowners' associations after state lawmakers felt some organizations were abusing their authority.

HOAs are popular in Idaho's larger cities. Six years ago, the Idaho Senate estimated there were around 2,500 homeowners' associations in the state. An HOA's goal is to keep neighborhood property values up by enforcing covenants and bylaws. Residents who don’t always abide can be fined. 

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Election 2014
9:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

GOP Newcomer Faces Hurdles In Schools Chief Race

Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr

After securing a surprise victory in Idaho's Republican primary, Sherri Ybarra now moves up to face Democratic challenger and political veteran Jana Jones in the race for Idaho's top education post.

Unlike the three GOP newcomers Ybarra competed against in the May primary, Ybarra's opponent in November's general election comes with statewide name recognition and has already significantly outraised and outspent her Republican contender.

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Prison
3:57 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Idaho Opting Out Of Federal Prison Rape Law

Eric Holder
Credit roberthuffstutter / Flickr

Several states, including Idaho, are refusing to comply with a federal law designed to reduce sexual assaults in prison, with governors criticizing the Prison Rape Elimination Act as an unfunded mandate that replaces good intentions with red tape.

The governors of Idaho, Texas, Indiana, Utah and Arizona have informed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that they won't try to meet the federal prison rape standards. Governors were required to certify by May 15 that their states either met the standards, or to promise that they were actively working toward that goal.

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Military
5:40 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

2015 Defense Budget Passed By House Preserves A-10 Jets Based In Idaho

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing trained with the A-10 during night flying missions in March.

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 8:14 pm

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday rejected the Pentagon's plans to retire aging ships and planes.

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