About 350 people came to a meeting at Idaho’s capital Monday night which lawmakers called an education listening session. Many signed up to share their thoughts on issues facing public schools. One theme rose to the top, education funding, or the lack of it.
All 35 seats in the Idaho Senate, and 70 in the Idaho House, are up for grabs in the November election. The lines around the 35 legislative districts were re-drawn last year, creating a brand-new political landscape for incumbents and challengers. We wanted to know which races were generating the most buzz.
With some help from Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief, we’ve compiled a list of seven legislative races to watch:
1. House District 2B: Democrat Dan English vs. Republican Ed Morse
Idaho’s never-lived-in governor’s mansion will cost the state about $180,000 to maintain from now until next July.
The state has justified that cost by saying the mansion is frequently used by government departments and the first family. So, we wanted to know just how often it’s used, and how much rent it brings in on a yearly basis.
The committee that oversees compensation for state legislators today attempted to clarify when lawmakers may claim the $122 per diem payment intended for those who maintain a second residence during the legislative session. That payment became a source of controversy last fall, after the AP reported that one state senator claimed it while staying with his parents, and another claimed it while staying on his law firm’s couch.
New figures from the Alzheimer’s Association show 75-thousand people in Idaho - usually family members - are helping care for a patient with the disease. An organization known as the Idaho Alzheimer’s Planning Group is working on a state plan to help patients and those caregivers.
Tax evasion will get you into hot water with the IRS. But in north Idaho, it won’t necessarily spell the end of your political career. A Republican state legislator who believes the federal income tax is unconstitutional is battling charges of tax evasion, even as he seeks re-election.
Monday Rep. Phil Hart (R-Hayden) pled his state tax case before the Idaho Supreme Court. The Republican owes more than 50-thousand dollars in taxes and penalties to Idaho. Today his federal tax case took a new turn. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge denied most of Hart’s arguments.
The 2012 Legislature adjourned late last week, accomplishing its only constitutional duty, which is to pass a balanced budget. StateImpact Idaho’s Emilie Ritter Saunders has watched the budget process closely. Saunders told Samantha Wright there weren’t many surprises this session, but there were a couple of things that didn’t pan out, including creating a state health care exchange.
Idaho Democrats pushed for a jobs package and ethics reform at the start of this legislative term. At the end, none of these proposals made it very far. They announced Friday they’ll renew their efforts next year. Democrats also want a constitutional amendment to guard against mandated medical procedures.
Idaho lawmakers wrapped up business Thursday and called an end to the 2012 legislative session. In the Idaho House, legislators joked over the motion to adjourn. “You’ve heard the motion, all those in favor say aye…Aye!...All those opposed say nay…Nay…The ayes appear to have it. The ayes do have it. The House stands adjourned Sine Die.”
Idaho lawmakers wrapped up the 2012 session Thursday. The House of Representatives adjourned first. The Senate took much longer as lawmakers signed off on key pieces of legislation and said their goodbyes.
Women wanting an abortion won't need an ultrasound in Idaho. State lawmakers were considering a measure to make that the case. Right to Life advocates wanted this legislation to persuade more women to say no to an abortion. Over the last two months, the mandate sparked rallies and fierce debate. Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise) said “I just see that there's a higher, at least in my opinion, need to protect the unborn and to respect the life of the developing child.”
Religious beliefs and contraception collided Friday in the Idaho House of Representatives, where a majority of lawmakers voted to send a message to the President and U.S. Congress to reject a new birth control policy.
The Obama Administration has been walking a tightrope on contraception these past few weeks. It started with a requirement that religious non-profits offer workers birth control free of charge. After a backlash, the Administration offered to exempt these groups and place the cost on their insurers.
The Idaho Senate voted Thursday to streamline the way cable TV companies enter local markets, but the bill could jeopardize funding for the Treasure Valley’s public access station.
For several years, supporters of Treasure Valley Community Television resisted efforts to change the way their public access channels are funded. The fight continued this legislative session. Backers say money for the public access station would be cut. Each local, cable subscriber is billed ten cents to fund the Treasure Valley station, but the Senate-passed bill doesn’t mention this fee.
BOISE, ID – Idaho lawmakers signed off Wednesday on a plan that limits local control of oil and natural gas development. But even supporters say this legislation isn’t perfect.
Idaho Senators debated for nearly an hour on the powers of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Under this bill, the agency has final say on where to drill for wells and how to develop the industry. Democratic Senator Diane Bilyeu from Pocatello hoped to allow local governments to call public hearings on future developments.
BOISE, ID – Idaho’s House of Representatives will soon vote on an animal cruelty bill. House lawmakers in charge of agriculture backed legislation today that calls for penalties on people who torture pets. The first two violations would be misdemeanors. A third would be a felony. Republican Representative Gayle Batt from Wilder has trouble with the bill. She says, “Philosophically, I’m just really struggling with what to do with this legislation when we have abuse of children as misdemeanors and then we have for animals a felony.” Child abuse can be considered a misdemeanor in Idaho i