All 2012 Legislative & Political News

Idaho attorney general a crusader for government transparency Lawrence Wasden has served as Idaho's attorney general for a decade, during which time he has put on seminars to educate the public, elected officials and the media about the public's right to information about governmental action.
Idaho Statesman 11/30/2012

Federal budget options have little good news for National Park Service At this point in federal budget negotiations, the National Park Service has three options, and none are particularly good. In Wyoming, the gateway communities to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are concerned about the fiscal fallout about all of those options.
Casper Star-Tribune 11/26/2012

Idahoans will feel the pinch of the 'fiscal cliff' If Congress and President Obama are unable to come up with a budget decision by Jan. 1, most Idaho residents will see their taxes go up as some tax credits will end, and some state programs will face certain cuts as federal funding for those are reduced.
Twin Falls Times-News 11/26/2012

Idaho Education Board votes to repeal online class requirement Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna proposed that the Idaho Education Board overturn a requirement that high school students complete two online courses in order to graduate, and the board voted to do just that on Monday.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 11/20/2012

States have until Friday to make decision on health care exchanges Tomorrow is the deadline for states to tell the federal government whether they intend to run health care exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act or if they want the federal government to do so. States that prefer to operate the exchanges themselves have until Dec. 14 to provide the Department of Health and Human Services the details of their programs.
Idaho Statesman 11/15/2012

Idaho schools chief pledges collaboration on education reform Tom Luna, the Idaho Superintendent of Schools who saw his package of sweeping education reforms rejected in last week's election, said he had some regrets about the process, and said he was ready to begin work again on ways to improve education.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 11/13/2012

Local option tax measures to fund commercial air service fail in 2 Idaho cities Three cities in Idaho's Wood River Valley had local option tax measures on their ballots this week to fund minimum revenue guarantees for commercial air service. The measure in Sun Valley passed with 61 percent of the voters approving, but measures in Ketchum and Hailey barely missed the 60 percent needed for passage.
Idaho Mountain Express 11/9/2012

Idaho governor reaches out to teachers, others on education reform Following the defeat of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the Idaho ballot on Tuesday, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he got the message on education reform and said he will work with stakeholders and legislators on areas of agreement and move on from there.
Idaho Statesman 11/8/2012

With elections over, Idaho legislators look forward to 2013 session Among the issues to be addressed in the 2013 Legislative session in Idaho are health care, personal property tax changes, the state budget, and revising education reform, after all three ballot measures on education were defeated.
Twin Falls Times-News 11/8/2012

Idaho voters reject education propositions With nearly all of the votes tallied, the three education propositions on Idaho's ballot were losing by a large margin.
Idaho Statesman 11/7/2012

Constitutional amendment to protect Idaho hunting, fishing rights passes Idaho voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to protect hunting, fishing and trapping rights.
Idaho Statesman 11/7/2012

Idaho Republican congressmen easily win re-election bids Voters in Idaho gave Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador significant victories in their re-election bids, with Simpson winning 68 percent of the votes, with 78 percent of precincts reported, and Labrador with 63 percent of the votes from the 60 percent of reported precincts.
Denver Post 11/7/2012

Two donors contributed two-thirds of Education Voters of Idaho's cash Education Voters of Idaho complied with a state district court judge's order and released its list of donors, with Joe Scott, a grandson of grocery-store founder A.J. Albertson, giving $250,000 of the group's $641,160 funding, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributing $200,000.
Idaho Statesman 11/1/2012

Former Idaho education official has key role in laptop program Garry Lough worked for the Idaho Department of Education until March 2 of this year, and now he is Idaho director of customer services for Education Networks of America, which is the subcontractor for Hewlett Packard charged with setting up and operating wireless networks in every Idaho high school.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 11/1/2012

Idaho's contract with HP rents laptops for students, teachers Under the eight-year contract Idaho signed with Hewlett-Packard for laptops for teachers and high-school students, the state won't actually own the laptops, and would be liable for any lost or damaged ones, although the company will provide a full manufacturer's warranty on the machines, which will be replaced every four years.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 10/31/2012

Idaho group says it will comply with court's order to disclose donors The fight between Idaho and Education Voters of Idaho over disclosure of donors is one that's being played out in several states, and the Internal Revenue Service is examining the 53-year-old rules governing nonprofit "social welfare organizations."
Idaho Statesman 10/31/2012

Idaho congressman optimistic Congress will reconsider his immigration bill In September, Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador proposed his STEM Act, which would make it easier for graduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to remain in the United States, and while the bill did not make it through the House, Labrador said he believes Congress will reconsider the legislation. This is the second in the Twin Falls Times-News' two-part series on immigration reform.
Twin Falls Times-News 10/31/2012

Candidates for Idaho U.S. House seat debate women's issues In the Idaho Public Television debate Sunday evening, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson was challenged by Democrat Nicole LeFavour on his votes on the Lily Ledbetter legislation, among other bills dealing with women's issues.
Idaho Statesman 10/29/2012

Panel recommends Idaho create its own health insurance exchange The task force appointed by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to study the state's options for a health care exchange mandated by the Affordable Care Act told the governor on Friday that a state-run, nonprofit exchange is the state's best option.
Idaho Statesman 10/29/2012

Idaho Land Department wants to split lands, oil and gas boards The Idaho Department of Lands submitted draft legislation to the Energy, Environment, and Technology Interim Legislative Commission that would separate the Idaho Land Board and the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Idaho Statesman 10/29/2012

Judge orders Education Voters of Idaho to disclose donors A state district court judge ordered Education Voters of Idaho to disclose its donors by 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 10/29/2012

Idaho congressional candidates agree on military spending cuts During Thursday night's debate on Idaho Public Television, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador said he wanted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, ban abortions unless the mother's life was in danger, and cut Pentagon spending by a third. His Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, said he agreed with the Republican congressman on reducing military spending, but disagreed with him on Social Security and abortion.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 10/27/2012

Group wants Idaho campaign donor disclosure case moved to federal court Education Voters of Idaho, a group formed to support three education-released measures on the ballot this November, has asked that a lawsuit filed by Idaho Attorney General Ben Ysursa seeking disclosure of the group's donors, be moved to federal court.
Idaho Statesman 10/26/2012

Debate between candidates for Idaho U.S. House seat turns testy Thursday night's debate between Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and his Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris was a spirited one, with each questioning the other's pledge for bipartisan cooperation.
Idaho Statesman 10/26/2012

Idaho voters will chose between 6 presidential candidates Six presidential candidates will be on the ballot in Idaho in November, and 34 others have notified the Secretary of State's office that they intend to run as write-in candidates, including Roseanne Barr and a man who goes by the name Santa Claus.
Twin Falls Times-News 10/26/2012

Idaho group to release recommendations on health insurance exchange The advisory group appointed by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to explore options for the state to create a health care insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act will meet today in Boise to release its recommendations, and Idaho Public Television will broadcast the meeting which begins at 10 a.m.
Twin Falls Times-News 10/26/2012

U.S. House Majority leader in Idaho to campaign for Rep. Labrador U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is making campaign appearances for Republican congressional candidates in Idaho and Montana, spoke at an event for U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador on Wednesday, where he said he would schedule a vote on the Farm Bill after the November elections.
Idaho Statesman 10/25/2012

With ink dry on laptop contract, Idaho lawmakers begin hunting for funds Now that Idaho has signed a $180-million contract with Hewlett-Packard to give teachers and high school students laptops, and if voters approve Proposition 3 in November, one of the first tasks legislators will have when they convene early next year will be finding the $9.9 million needed for the first phase of the plan.
Idaho Statesman 10/25/2012

Hewlett-Packard wins Idaho's $180-million school laptop contract On Tuesday, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Public Schools Superintendent Tom Luna announced that California-based Hewlett-Packard won the state's eight-year, $180-million contract to provide laptops to students and teachers.
Idaho Statesman 10/24/2012

Idaho county moves landfill energy project ahead On Tuesday, Ada County Commissioners Rick Yzaguirre and Sharon Ullman approved a lease agreement for 10 acres on a landfill site that Dynamis Energy needs to move forward with a plan to build a waste-to-energy generation plant in the Idaho county. The two commissioners also voted for a resolution "affirming creation of an industrial park" at the county-owned landfill, a move some in attendance at the meeting said was an attempt to circumvent state law.
Idaho Statesman 10/24/2012

Idaho student pursues deferred action designation Ben Ramirez came into the United States in 2005, and is one of the undocumented students at the College of Southern Idaho who has applied to be protected from deportation for two years under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Twin Falls Times-News 10/24/2012

Idaho files lawsuit seeking disclosure of education reform supporters Secretary of State Ben Ysursa filed a lawsuit Monday in state district court seeking disclosure of donors to Education Voters of Idaho, a group formed to support Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna's education overhaul plan.
Idaho Statesman 10/23/2012

Idaho legislator campaigns on pulling students out of 'godless' schools Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri said his website correctly states his stance on public schools as "godless," and he supports giving parents tax credits to allow their children to attend private schools.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 10/22/2012

Idaho Senate leader says personal property tax will be target In a speech to business leaders on Thursday, Idaho Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill predicted that the personal property tax most businesses complain about will likely be repealed.
Idaho Statesman 10/19/2012

Idaho legislators question cuts to state's Energy Office Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed an executive order ensuring the state's Energy Office would be around for four more years, but staff will be cut from 14 to 10, and members of the Idaho Legislature's interim committee on energy, environment and technology on Thursday questioned if the office could still be effective given those reductions.
Idaho Statesman 10/19/2012

Idaho business groups push for nonprofit health insurance exchange While Idaho struggles with creating its own state-run health insurance exchange or accepting one run by the federal government, a third option has emerged: an exchange run by a nonprofit, and several business owners have indicated their support for that model.
Idaho Statesman 10/11/2012

Sponsor of Idaho school reform ads declines to disclose donors The deadline by which the sponsor of ads supporting education reform measures on Idaho's ballot to identify itself and its donors was Wednesday, but no information was disclosed.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 10/11/2012

Consultant: Idaho has run out of time to create health insurance exchange A consultant hired to work with the 13-member task force appointed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to study options for a health insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act said the time has come and gone for Idaho to create a state-run exchange and must work with the federal government's exchange.
Idaho Statesman 10/10/2012

Idaho voters to decide if hunting, trapping and fishing are constitutional rights The Idaho Fish and Game Department supports a constitutional amendment that would protect hunting, fishing and trapping under the state's Constitution.
Twin Falls Times-News 10/9/2012

Idaho schools chief, legislator have heated debate on education reforms At Tuesday's City Club forum in Boise on Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on November's ballot, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and state Rep. Brian Cronin pulled no punches in their disagreement about the education reform measures.
Idaho Statesman 10/3/2012

Ann Romney's first Idaho fundraiser brings in half a million dollars At a private fundraiser in Meridian that drew more than 200 attendees, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney helped raise $500,000 in Idaho.
Idaho Statesman 9/28/2012

State leaders lay out options for Medicaid expansion in Idaho At a meeting Thursday of the 15-member working group appointed by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to submit recommendations by Nov. 1 on expanding Medicaid options, state leaders laid out three possible scenarios.
Twin Falls Times-News 9/28/2012

Idaho breweries form trade guild Breweries in Idaho have formed the Idaho Breweries Guild, which will help promote local brews and work on legislative matters.
Twin Falls Times-News 9/26/2012

Idaho legislators visit schools Members of the Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, who make decisions about education budgets, are in the Magic Valley touring some of the schools that are affected by those decisions.
Twin Falls Times-News 9/26/2012

Boise School Board officially opposes education ballot initiatives Tuesday's vote by the Boise School Board to formally oppose Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the ballot in November isn't surprising, given that the Idaho school board opposed the Students Come First laws that gave rise to the ballot measures.
Idaho Statesman 9/26/2012

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare gets Medicaid analysis In anticipation of changes to Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare requested an analysis of what changes would occur in Idaho, and a report on that analysis was released Thursday.
Twin Falls Times-News 9/21/2012

Democratic challenger says Idaho congressman missing too many votes Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador has missed 72 of 1,531 recorded votes, or 4.7 percent, which is nearly double the House median of 2.5 percent, and Labrador's Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, is calling him on it.
Idaho Statesman 9/18/2012

Idaho legislator seeks data on personal property tax Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill sent a letter out to all Idaho taxing districts asking them to supply him with numbers on how a repeal of the personal property tax would affect them so Hill could provide legislators with that information.
Twin Falls Times-News 9/13/2012

Ada County residents demand public hearing on Idaho landfill power project The debate over Ada Canyon's deal with Dynamis for a $75 million garbage-fueled power plant at a landfill in the Idaho county is heating up, with citizens petitioning for a public hearing on the project and one Ada County commissioner releasing a document the county had refused to provide.
Idaho Statesman 9/12/2012

Idaho's presidential ballot lists six candidates There are six candidates on the presidential ballot in Idaho, two less than in neighboring Washington state, which has eight candidates.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 9/11/2012

Idaho schools chief submits $1.34-billion budget request Tom Luna, Idaho state schools superintendent, acknowledged that he would have to revamp his budget request if any of the three "Students Come First" laws, which are the subject of recall initiatives on the November ballot, are reversed.
Idaho Statesman 9/7/2012

Thursday rally in Idaho will honor wolves killed last year Predator Defense, Friends of the Clearwater, Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Footloose Montana and Center for Biological Diversity are co-sponsors of a rally planned in Coeur d'Alene for the 379 wolves killed in Idaho's 2011-12 wolf hunting season.
Coeur d'Alene Press 8/28/2012

Democratic gubernatorial candidate criticizes Utah's course on Medicare Peter Cooke, the Democrat who is challenging Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, said Herbert's decision to sign legislation that added Utah to the "Health Care Compact," an interstate deal to wrest control of Medicaid and Medicare from federal control, will cost the state $217 million in federal funds by 2014 and $1 billion by 2022.
Salt Lake Tribune 8/24/2012

Federal government disputes Idaho legislator's bankruptcy plan Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart's bankruptcy plan that would require the legislator to pay $200 a month for five years to discharge his federal tax debt of $600,000 was attacked by federal prosecutors as failing to adequately address the amount owed the government.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 8/15/2012

Dozens attend meeting in Idaho to learn about new immigration policy Nearly 50 people attended a meeting in Nampa hosted by Catholic Charities of Idaho, the Idaho Community Action Network and Andrade Legal to provide details on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a new federal program designed to give undocumented residents brought to the United States as young children two years to live and work in the country without fear of being deported.
Idaho Statesman 8/14/2012

Idaho governor nominates new administrator of species program Dustin Miller, who has been serving as interim administrator of Idaho's office of species conservation and policies related to endangered species since Nate Fisher left that post, has been nominated by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to serve as administrator, an appointment that must be confirmed by the state Senate.
Idaho Statesman 7/19/2012

Idaho settles lawsuit filed by fired transportation official Former Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe didn't disclose any details about the settlement of the lawsuit she filed against the state alleging that she was fired because she stood up to political pressure, although she did say she was pleased with the settlement.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 7/17/2012

Wyoming to play host to 22 ambassadors from five continents this weekend As part of the U.S. State Department's "Experience America" designed to get ambassadors out of Washington, D.C., 22 ambassadors from five continents will arrive Friday in Jackson tonight and will spend the weekend touring Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Jackson Hole Daily 7/13/2012

Romney puts Idaho stop on his schedule for Aug. 3 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be in the Sun Valley area on Aug. 3 for a fundraising event, although at this time no public appearance in Idaho is planned for the date.
Idaho Mountain Express 7/13/2012

Idaho governor keeps options open on health care Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said both the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of a health insurance exchange are both on the table in Idaho.
Idaho Statesman 7/11/2012

Romney postpones Tuesday event in Idaho Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has postponed a fundraiser set for today in Sun Valley to another date in August, according to Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke.
Twin Falls Times-News 7/10/2012

Idaho Freedom Foundation earns endorsement of Idaho Power The Idaho Freedom Foundation will host its rd Annual Idaho Freedom Celebration and Banquet on July 19, and among the sponsors this year is Idaho Power.
Idaho Statesman 7/4/2012

GOP presidential hopeful to make campaign stop in Hamilton Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on a tour of northern Rocky Mountain States, with campaign events planned in Sun Valley, Idaho on July 10, Hamilton, Mont. on July 11, and Jackson Hole, Wyo. on July 12.
Missoulian 7/3/2012

Idaho congressmen's bills would extend grazing permit leases Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's bill to extend the lease period of grazing leases on federal lands from 10 to 20 years is included in the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, while U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's bill is contained within appropriations bills for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Denver Post 7/2/2012

Idaho legislators question if they have time to set up health exchange State legislators from Idaho were sure that the 2010 Affordable Care Act would be found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court and did not work on setting up a health care exchange required to be in place by the end of this year. Now those lawmakers said they're unsure they can get the exchange up and running by then, which means the federal government will put an exchange in place in the Gem State.
Idaho Statesman 6/30/2012

Supreme Court's decision on health care angers Idaho GOP legislators Republican state legislators in Idaho criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that upheld the federal health care reform law, and one said the state would have to scramble to get a mandated health insurance exchange set up by the end of the year.
Idaho Statesman 6/29/2012

Idaho congressman's federal lands bill looks beyond November elections U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act would create a pilot project in Idaho, turning over about 1 percent of the 20 million acres of national forest lands in Idaho to state management. While the GOP lawmaker knows the bill won't pass now, he believes it will have a better chance after the November elections.
Idaho Statesman 6/27/2012

Idaho forced to change tactic on laptop acquisitions Part of Idaho's "Students Come First" reforms enacted by the state Legislature is the plan to put laptops on teachers' and students' desks over a five-year period, but only three companies submitted bids for the first phase, one of which wasn't timely and the other didn't meet requirements, and now direct negotiations are planned to get the best deal on the devices.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 6/27/2012

Idaho Republicans elect Mountain Home man as party chairman Barry Peterson, the owner of a hardware store in Mountain Home, was elected by the Idaho Republicans at their convention this past weekend to serve as chairman of the state GOP party.
Idaho Statesman 6/25/2012

Idaho's 32 GOP delegates to support Romney At the Idaho Republican Party's convention this past weekend in Twin Falls, party members voted to send all 32 delegates to the national convention this summer to vote for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Idaho Statesman 6/25/2012

Idaho GOP's proposed resolutions include booting EPA, opening primary Idaho Republicans will gather in Twin Falls for the state GOP convention this weekend, and among the 16 proposed platform measures are reopening the state's closed primary and abolishing three federal agencies: The Departments of Education and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Idaho Statesman 6/21/2012

U.S. Senate passes beetle-kill amendment to Farm Bill Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus' amendment to the Farm Bill that doubles the $100 million the U.S. Forest Service is authorized to use to address bark beetle infested forests passed in the Senate on a 77-22 vote.
Flathead Beacon 6/21/2012

New school law allows 21 Idaho districts to unilaterally award contracts Among the provisions of Idaho's controversial "Students Come First" reform laws, school districts have the option to impose contract terms on teachers, and 21 of the state's 130 school districts have done so.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 6/21/2012

Idaho governor orders agencies to fashion budgets with less federal cash Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter ordered Idaho agencies to develop budgets based on a 20 percent decline in federal aid.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 6/18/2012

Idaho Republicans to meet in Twin Falls this week Republicans added another day to the Idaho state convention scheduled to begin Thursday in Twin Falls to debate platform changes.
Idaho Statesman 6/18/2012

Rex Rammell moves out of Idaho to Wyoming Former elk rancher and frequent Republican candidate for public office Rex Rammell has taken a job in Wyoming and is in the process of moving his family from Idaho to Torrington.
Casper Star-Tribune 6/15/2012

Idaho Democratic Convention begins Friday in Boise Democratic contenders for Idaho's 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts will deliver keynote speeches Friday and Saturday at the Idaho Democratic Party's Convention in Boise.
Idaho Statesman 6/14/2012

Idaho governor vows to end personal property tax The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry was disappointed when Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter decided to cut the income tax rate instead of ending the personal property tax that the IACL has been trying to do away with for years, and on Monday, Otter told the group that he'll now seek an end to the personal property tax.
Idaho Statesman 6/12/2012

Idaho Supreme Court declines to hear Rep. Hart's tax case again Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart's request that the Idaho Supreme Court reconsider its decision that Hart filed his appeal of a state income tax decision too late was denied by the state's high court.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 6/12/2012

Idaho congressman's bill on grazing permits now before U.S. House U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's Grazing Improvement Act, to extend federal grazing permits from 10 years to 20 years, has been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee and awaits consideration by the full U.S. House.
Twin Falls Times-News 6/10/2012

U.S. Senate passes bill to speed up USFS air tanker contract A bill that allows the U.S. Forest Service to waive a 30-day waiting period on contracts for new air tankers was passed by the U.S. Senate and now moves to the U.S. House for action.
Missoulian 6/8/2012

Idaho backs off ban of sale of Five Wives Vodka The Idaho State Liquor Commission has decided to allow the sale of Five Wives Vodka by special order to avoid litigation.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 6/7/2012

Montana senators ask federal gov't to take brucellosis off security list U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remove brucellosis from the list of potential biological warfare agents because including the bacteria that occurs naturally in wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park on such a list is ridiculous.
Great Falls Tribune 5/30/2012

Idaho governor says he's not budging on 1995 INL agreement In 1995, the federal government signed an agreement with Idaho to remove all nuclear waste from the Idaho National Laboratory in 23 years, and although INL officials have approached Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter about renegotiating that agreement, Otter is standing firm.
Idaho Statesman 5/24/2012

Crapo: Senate-House staredown stalls domestic-violence bill U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo is a co-sponsor of the bill to reauthorize the five-year extension of the Violence Against Women Act passed by the Senate, and the Idaho Republican said he's frustrated with inaction on the bill caused by the House's refusal to negotiate differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill.
Idaho Statesman 5/24/2012

Idaho counties monitor debate over PILT extension Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch attached to the federal surface transportation bill an amendment that would extend for five years the program that provides funding to counties with large swaths of federal lands within their borders. But the Payment in Lieu of Taxes amendment is not a part of the House's version of the transportation bill, and officials of Blaine and Custer counties are concerned that the compromise amendment, which extends the PILT program for just one year, may not survive budget negotiations.
Idaho Mountain Express 5/23/2012

Simpson said Idaho wilderness bill a question of 'when' not 'if' At a conference on Sunday, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson told members of the Idaho Conservation League that his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, which the Idaho Republican has introduced several times over the past dozen years to designate more than 330,000 acres of land in the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains as wilderness, will eventually pass.
Idaho Mountain Express 5/23/2012

Farris wins Democratic primary for Idaho U.S. House seat With all 944 precincts reporting, Jimmy Farris won 53.1 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary for Idaho's 1st Congressional District, and will face Republican incumbent Raul Labrador in November's general election.
Idaho Statesman 5/17/2012

GOP voters oust tax scofflaw legislator in Idaho primary Republican voters booted Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, who faced three other GOP candidates in the state's first-ever closed primary, where just 23 percent of registered voters cast their votes.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 5/17/2012

In one Idaho county, voter turnout was 70 percent While the overall voter turnout percentage for Idaho's primary on Tuesday hovered around 24 percent, in some counties where interest in local races was high, such as Clark County, voter turnout was 70 percent. In Cassia, Franklin and Bear Lake counties, turnout was about 50 percent, Blaine County had about 13 percent, and Ada County reported about 17 percent turnout.
Twin Falls Times-News 5/17/2012

Idaho's closed primary makes for busy day at Secretary of State's office Angry voters demanding to know just why election officials required them to disclose their party affiliation kept phones ringing at the Idaho secretary of state's office as Idaho's Republican Party held its first-ever closed primary.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 5/16/2012

Labrador, Simpson win GOP primaries in Idaho Idaho U.S. Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson easily won the Republican Party's nominations in Idaho's first-ever closed GOP primary on Tuesday. Democrat Nicole LeFavour won her party's nod in the U.S. House District 2 primary, and Jimmy Farris led Cynthia Clinkingbeard in the Democratic primary race for U.S. House District 1 race by 579 votes with 932 of 944 precincts reporting.
Idaho Statesman 5/16/2012

Idaho's first-ever closed GOP primary today Idahoans who vote today must register by party, and only those who register as Republicans may cast their votes in the GOP primary.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 5/15/2012

Idaho's first ever closed GOP primary is Tuesday Competition is fierce within the Idaho Republican Party for control, and all eyes are on the polls tomorrow, when the party holds its first-ever closed primary.
Idaho Statesman 5/13/2012

Idaho congressman faces tea party challenger in next week's primary Chick Heileson is again challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson for the Republican Party's nomination, but Heileson believes there is enough voter dissatisfaction with the seven-term congressman that he can defeat Simpson in Idaho's first-ever closed primary next week.
Idaho Statesman 5/10/2012

Utility sends campaign cash to challengers of Idaho legislators Avista Corp. has made campaign donations to the challengers of two longtime North Idaho legislators in the upcoming primary, with a spokesman for the utility saying the company believes it's time for a change.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 5/10/2012

Candidate for sheriff of Idaho's Bonner County says cross-burning misunderstood Shaun Winkler, one of the candidates for sheriff in Idaho's Bonner County, said he's not worried about potential supporters being put off by the cross-lighting Friday night on his family's land near Priest River as he believes his supporters will understand and those that disagree with him about the religious significance of cross-burning probably won't understand.
Coeur d'Alene Press 5/9/2012

Idaho farmers plead with federal government for more foreign workers U.S. senators from Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Florida and Ohio have asked the Department of Labor to expand and streamline the H2-A visa program, which allows farmers and ranchers to hire temporary foreign workers.
Idaho Statesman 5/6/2012

Idaho's regulation of payday loan industry among laxest in nation While other states in the United States tighten regulation of payday loan businesses, legislative efforts in Idaho to do so have not been successful.
Idaho Statesman 5/6/2012

'Purity test' splits Idaho Republican Party Leaders of the Idaho Republican Party said a survey that quizzes current legislators and candidates for political offices on a slate of issues simply provides voters a snapshot of candidates' views, but some GOP legislators called the survey a "purity test" that's unnecessary.
Idaho Statesman 5/2/2012

Idaho Gov. Otter touts states' ability to save the country At the Panhandle Pachyderm Club's "One Voice for Victory" dinner Monday night, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said the future of the United States lies with states and their balanced budget approach, and that Idaho is poised to lead that movement.
Coeur d'Alene Press 5/2/2012

Idaho state Rep. Hart to face 3 GOP challengers in May 15 primary The last time Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart ran for office, the Republican legislator ran opposed in both the primary and in the general election, but much has transpired since 2010, including Hart's much-publicized tax fights, and this year, he has three Republican challengers in the May 15 primary.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 4/29/2012

Western governors urge united front on public lands, water issues At a meeting in Utah on Friday, the governors of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, along with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who participated via telephone, said that Western states need to stand united on issues such as management of public lands, water and resources, if the West is to have a voice in negotiations with the federal government.
Salt Lake Tribune 4/28/2012

U.S. House approves bill on water work in Idaho wilderness The U.S. House passed legislation introduced by Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson that will allow the U.S. Forest Service to issue permits to private property owners to do work on irrigation or hydropower systems located inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Idaho Statesman 4/27/2012

Public lands on agenda of governors' meeting in Utah The governors of Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada will meet with Gov. Gary Herbert in Utah on Friday to discuss a unified strategy in dealing with the federal government on control of public lands. 4/26/2012

GOP incumbent in Idaho House District 23 faces 2 challengers Republican Rep. Pete Nielsen is facing two GOP challengers, Matthew Bundy of Mountain Home and Steve Millington of Buhl, in Idaho's May 15 primary in the race for one of two House District 23 seats.
Twin Falls Times-News 4/26/2012

Magic Valley businesses give Idaho legislators mixed reviews on 2012 session Members of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce met with legislators from the Magic Valley and shared their approval and disappointments of this past legislative session in Idaho where two of the businesses' top agenda items--creation of a health insurance exchange and personal property tax changes--got scant attention.
Twin Falls Times-News 4/25/2012

Candidates in just one of Idaho's 4 congressional races to debate Idaho Public Television will broadcast a debate between incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Simpson and challenger Chick Heileson on Sunday, May 13 at 7 p.m., but candidates in the other three congressional races have been unable to get their opponents to commit to a debate.
Idaho Statesman 4/24/2012

Farmers face off in GOP primary for Idaho state House seat Clark Kauffman of Filer and David Funk of Hansen will face each other in the Republican primary for Idaho's newly redrawn House District 25.
Twin Falls Times-News 4/22/2012

Report questions Idaho's changes on school funding Nearly 70 percent of Idaho's 117 school districts will ask voters to approve levies this year, and a new report released by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy questions lawmakers' decision to move school funding from property tax revenues to revenues raised from sales and income taxes.
Twin Falls Times-News 4/18/2012

Incumbent Idaho congressman leads race in campaign funds U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, who faces a Republican challenger in the primary, has raised considerably more campaign cash than any of the other five candidates in the Idaho race.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 4/18/2012

Idaho Democrats pledge their support for President Obama At caucuses across the state on Saturday, 98 percent of Idaho Democrats pledged their support for President Obama.
Idaho Statesman 4/16/2012

Federal lawmakers join call to stop drilling near Utah's Desolation Canyon After six of his Democratic colleagues, including U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado and Raul Grijalva joined the campaign to block oil and gas development near Desolation Canyon, Utah U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson said he had read the drilling plan and that appropriate measures have been taken to protect the Utah canyon.
Salt Lake Tribune 4/13/2012

Idaho legislator gets Ku Klux Klan application bearing Montana postmark At least eight Idaho legislators have received an application for membership in the Ku Klux Klan, but Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan based in Arkansas does not know why legislators received the application, which is readily available online, and at least one mailing to a lawmaker had a Great Falls, Mont. postmark.
Idaho Statesman 4/12/2012

Ku Klux Klan group sends application to Idaho's only African-American legislator Idaho state Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb, the state's lone African-American legislator, recently received an application to join the Ku Klux Klan.
Idaho Statesman 4/10/2012

Idaho governor signs more than 100 bills into law Idaho now has a felony animal cruelty law as Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed that bill into law this week, along with more than 100 others.
Idaho Statesman 4/6/2012

Gov. Otter signs bill banning texting while driving in Idaho For three years, legislators tried to get a law passed in Idaho that would ban texting while driving, and this year the bill passed, Gov. Otter signed it into law this week, and the law will take effect July 1.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 4/6/2012

Federal judge nixes Idaho legislator's claim of immunity in IRS lawsuit Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart's effort to claim legislative immunity in a lawsuit with the Internal Revenue Service was dismissed by a federal judge on Tuesday, who also set a November trial date in the lawsuit.
Coeur d'Alene Press 4/4/2012

Idaho has spent more than $500K defending ITD director's firing A federal judge's ruling that said Idaho must provide a reason for firing Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe clears the way for Lowe's two-year-old wrongful termination lawsuit to continue, and means the state's legal bill for fighting the suit, which has already hit $540,479, will only go higher.
Idaho Statesman 4/3/2012

Larry Echo Hawk to leave BIA for LDS church post The assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, Larry Echo Hawk, announced Saturday he was leaving that post he's held for three years to take a leadership post with the Mormon Church.
Deseret News 4/2/2012

Laws quietly passed by Idaho Legislature will have most far-reaching effects Legislation that sparked the loudest debate in the Idaho Legislature, like Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposed tax cut for corporations and highest-income earners in the state, won't affect many Idahoans, but other bills, such as letting drivers show proof of insurance electronically via their smartphones, new measures to protect young athletes from concussions, and updated microbrewery laws will affect more residents.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 4/2/2012

Five legislators from Idaho's Magic Valley retiring Each of the five legislators from Idaho's Magic Valley that are retiring have served 12 years or more, and on Thursday, colleagues said goodbye to Sen. Denton Darrington and Reps. Wendy Jacquet, Bert Stevenson, Leon Smith and Dennis Lake.
Twin Falls Times-News 4/2/2012

Idaho Legislature winds up session by passing Otter's $35M tax cut bill The Idaho Legislature ended its 81-day session on Thursday, passing Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's $35-million tax cut for corporations and high-income earners during the waning hours of the session.
Idaho Statesman 3/30/2012

Twenty-five Idaho legislators cast their last votes on Thursday When the 2013 Legislature convenes there will be new faces or familiar faces in a new chamber as 25 lawmakers are retiring, and a number of House legislators are running for Senate seats.
Idaho Statesman 3/30/2012

Idaho Senate panel to vote on governor's tax-cut plan today Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter made his $35-million tax cut a priority this legislative season, and the Idaho House passed the bill weeks ago, but the Senate has not acted on the legislation until today, when the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee will hear it at 8 a.m.
Idaho Statesman 3/29/2012

Idaho House passes animal cruelty bill, sends it to the Senate Idaho is one of just three states in the union that do not have felony animal cruelty laws, but that could change if the Idaho Senate approves legislation passed by the House on Wednesday that creates a three-strikes felony law for animal cruelty convictions.
Idaho Statesman 3/29/2012

Idaho Senate approves resolution to put right to hunt before voters On Tuesday, the Idaho Senate approved a resolution that had already earned the state House endorsement that will allow voters in November to decide if the right to hunt, fish and trap in the state deserves a spot in the state constitution.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/28/2012

Ultrasound bill dies in Idaho House committee Legislation passed by the Idaho Senate that would require a woman to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion died in the House State Affairs Committee, after the chairman of that committee declined to set it for hearing.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 3/28/2012

Idaho House sends bill to hire legislative counsel to Senate Democratic lawmakers said House Bill 695, which would provide $200,000 for the Idaho Legislature to hire outside counsel, is a needless duplication of services as the state attorney general already provides such counsel, but Republican legislators said conflicts sometimes arise, sparking the need for an independent review.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 3/27/2012

Idaho legislator backpedals on bike-safety bill Idaho state Rep. Roy Lacey's H.586 would have required motorists to give bicyclists a three-foot safety zone when passing them on the roadway, but after legislators sent it back to committee, Lacey withdrew the bill, effectively killing it for this session.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/27/2012

Idaho Senate kills bill to limit wildlife agency's authority over ATV hunters Legislation that would have taken away the authority of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to regulate hunting with ATVs died in the state Senate on a 20-15 vote.
Idaho Statesman 3/27/2012

Idaho Legislature heads into final days Idaho lawmakers want to wrap up the legislative session by mid-week, but with competing bills on tax cuts and teacher salaries, as well as controversial legislation on pre-abortion ultrasounds and a ban on commercial wind farms still before them, it could be a busy week.
Idaho Statesman and Associated Press 3/26/2012

Idaho legislator submits bill to end daylight savings time Idaho state Rep. Wendy Jaquet knows her bill to end the switch to daylight savings time in the state doesn't have a springtime snowball's chance of passing, but she is hoping it will get lawmakers to join a national discussion in doing away with the time change.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/23/2012

At speech in Twin Falls, Idaho governor reaches out for tax-cut support Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter used his appearance at the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Day on Thursday to drum up support for his $35.7-million tax cut that has passed the House but is facing a tough battle in the Senate.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/23/2012

Idaho Legislature sends bill banning 'spice' to Gov. Otter The annual uniform controlled substances bill passed this year by the Idaho Legislature added all compounds derived from synthetic cannabis to the list of controlled substances, which will make all forms of the drug known as "spice" illegal.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/23/2012

Wyoming federal court on list of 60 that could be closed The Associated Press obtained a list of 60 courts the federal government is considering for closure, and on the ranked list are two in Colorado: Durango (57) and Grand Junction (43); two in Idaho: Coeur d'Alene (11) and Moscow (52); Jackson, Wyo., (49); Pendleton, Ore., (46); and Vancouver, Wash. (42).
Casper Star-Tribune 3/23/2012

Idaho ultrasound bill put on hold as legislators hear from hundreds of Idahoans Public response to the legislation passed by the Idaho Senate that would require a woman to submit to an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy led Republican House leaders to cancel a hearing on the bill set for today.
Idaho Statesman 3/22/2012

Idaho House approves bill banning texting while driving The bill that would ban texting while driving was amended in the Idaho House before legislators passed it on a 53-17 vote, which means the Senate must vote on the amended version before it can go to the governor's desk for approval.
Idaho Statesman 3/21/2012

Idaho Senate sends developer property tax bill to governor The Idaho Senate voted 28-7 to pass legislation that would give developers a tax break on vacant lots, and sent the bill to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for action.
Idaho Statesman 3/21/2012

Report: Health care at Idaho state prison 'cruel, unusual punishment' Correctional health care expert Dr. Marc Stern, who was appointed by a judge to evaluate health care at the Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise, issued a report that detailed numerous problems, including allowing some terminal and elderly patients to go unfed and not informing an inmate that he had cancer. Corizon, the Tennessee-based health care provider at the prison, denied the charges and said it will release its own report that shows medical care met all constitutional and health care requirements.
Idaho Statesman 3/20/2012

Idaho Senate passes end-of-life-treatment bill The Idaho Senate voted 24-10 to approve legislation that would require doctors to provide end-of-life treatment to terminally ill patients.
Idaho Statesman 3/20/2012

Analysis finds gender-gap in pay in Idaho governor's administration Idaho Agriculture Director Celia Gould has held that post since 2007, oversees 259 employees and was hired on at a salary that was 0.7 percent higher than her predecessor, while Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer has been in the Otter administration since October, oversees 53 employees, and makes 66 percent more than his predecessor, not to mention $38,397 a year more than Gould.
Idaho Statesman 3/20/2012

Bill requiring pre-abortion ultrasound passes Idaho Senate On Monday, the Idaho Senate voted 23-12 to pass legislation that would require women seeking to terminate a pregnancy get a fetal ultrasound before undergoing the procedure, and opponents of the measure plan a demonstration at the Capitol today.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/20/2012

Idaho legislative debate pits income tax cuts vs. teachers' salaries The Idaho House wants to cut state income taxes by $35 million, the Idaho Senate wants to restore cuts to teachers' salaries envisioned in the state's "Students Come First" reforms that amount to roughly the same sum, putting the two legislative chambers at odds.
Idaho Statesman 3/19/2012

Group decries Idaho's legislative efforts An email group known as Moderate Idahoans Discussing Diverse Legislative Efforts (MIDDLE) charged legislators spent too much time on Bad Idaho Legislative Efforts (BILE) this past session, working on such issues as making gold and silver legal currency and changing parking rules around the Capitol, and not dealing with important issues such as unemployment and budget cuts to Medicaid and schools.
Idaho Statesman 3/16/2012

Idaho House passes bill expanding territory for ATV hunts Over objections of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Idaho House passed a bill that would open all backcountry trails on federal lands to all-terrain-vehicle riding hunters; the bill now moves to the Senate.
Idaho Statesman 3/16/2012

Idaho governor signs bill to stimulate research, business development Before the 2012 legislative session began in Boise, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter urged lawmakers to pass his Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission - or IGEM, a $5-million plan to move successful research projects at the state's universities into commercial entities, and on Thursday, Otter signed legislation creating IGEM into law.
Idaho Statesman 3/16/2012

Idaho Senate to take up bill to change property tax process for developers On Wednesday, the Idaho Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee approved a bill crafted by a Magic Valley developer that would allow developers to apply to pay a lower property tax rate on vacant lots; the House-passed bill now moves to the full Senate for action.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/16/2012

Idaho congressman shares views on sage grouse, wolves, national budget Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson sat down with members of the Twin Falls Times-News staff on Wednesday, where he applauded the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on wolf delisting, as well as the Bureau of Land Management's decision to delay the China Mountain wind farm in Idaho and Nevada over sage grouse concerns.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/15/2012

NRA tweaks Idaho resolution to make hunting, fishing constitutional rights A joint resolution that would put the issue of making hunting and fishing constitutional rights in Idaho was unanimously approved by the Idaho Senate, and the House Ways and Means Committee introduced the resolution that had been revised by the National Rifle Association to strengthen it against "clever attacks by anti-hunting groups."
Twin Falls Times-News 3/15/2012

U.S. Senate sends highway bill to the House The U.S. Senate voted 74-22 Wednesday to pass a two-year, $109 billion federal highway bill that included $400 million in federal road funds to Montana annually, and also included funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Payment in Lieu of Taxes programs and renewed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for 10 years; the measure now moves to the U.S. House.
Missoulian 3/15/2012

Idaho Senate panel advances abortion ultrasound legislation An estimated 240 people crowded into a hearing room at the Idaho Capitol on Wednesday as the Senate State Affairs Committee heard Boise Sen. Chuck Winder's bill that would require women seeking an abortion submit to a fetal ultrasound, and the panel voted 7-2 in a party-line vote to send the bill to the full Senate for action.
Idaho Statesman 3/15/2012

Two animal-cruelty bills move ahead in Idaho House Spurred by an ongoing campaign to get a voter initiative on the ballot in Idaho that would impose penalties for animal-cruelty offenses, Idaho House lawmakers acted on two animal-cruelty bills, both of which would remove the state from the list of three states that have no animal-cruelty laws on their books.
Idaho Statesman 3/15/2012

Bill to raise Idaho's cigarette tax dies in House committee The Idaho House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 11-5 against holding a hearing on a proposal to raise the state's 57-cents-per-pack cigarette tax by $1.25, effectively killing the bill this session.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/12/2012

Idaho Senate panel sends end-of-life-decision bill to full Senate Legislation clarifying Idaho's existing laws on end-of-life care to put the patient firmly in the driver's seat was approved on Monday by the Senate State Affairs committee and sent to the full Senate for action.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/12/2012

U.S. Senate passes one-year extension of federal timber payments to counties An amendment to the federal transportation bill that would extend for one year payments to counties under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 easily passed in the U.S. Senate on Thursday.
Portland Oregonian 3/9/2012

Idaho governor tells Congress states need more money to manage wolves Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter was in Washington, D.C. last week, where he told members of Congress that the federal government needs to provide Idaho and other states that host wolves with more money to deal with livestock predation and managing wolves and elk.
Idaho Statesman 3/8/2012

Romney wins Idaho's first-ever GOP caucus At Idaho's first-ever Republican caucus on Tuesday, GOP voters awarded Mitt Romney all 32 of the state's delegates.
Idaho Statesman 3/7/2012

Idaho's melanoma mortality rate puts tanning bed limits on legislators' agenda Idaho consistently has one of the highest mortality rates for melanoma in the nation, and with the increase in use of tanning beds viewed as at least partly to blame, legislators are working on legislation to ban children under the age of 15 from using tanning beds.
New York Times 3/7/2012

Idaho legislators say no health care exchange bill this session Despite predictions that the creation of a state-run health care insurance exchange would be a hot issue this legislative session in Idaho, no bill emerged, and with just a couple of weeks left this session, legislative leaders said they doubt any action will be taken on the issue.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/7/2012

Democrats announce campaigns for Idaho legislative seats Democrat Pat Marcantonio of Twin Falls announced a run for the Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Lee Heider, and Democrat Rosemary Fornshell of Twin Falls said she'll challenge Republican Rep. Stephen Hartgen.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/7/2012

Idaho GOP caucus one of 10 on 'Super Tuesday' This year is the first year Idaho Republicans are using the caucus process to assign delegates to presidential candidates, with 32 delegates up for grabs in the state today.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/6/2012

Bill to curb Idaho FWP's authority on hunters on ATV's advances The Idaho House Resources Committee voted Monday to advance legislation that would prevent the state Department of Fish and Game from curtailing hunters on ATV from areas and trails reserved for non-hunting ATV riders.
Idaho Statesman 3/6/2012

Idaho rally for GOP presidential candidate Paul draws 1,200 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul was in Idaho on Monday, where he spoke to an estimated crowd of 1,200 people at a rally in Sandpoint.
Coeur d'Alene Press 3/6/2012

AP analysis finds private prisons not the money savers Idaho says they are Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and state legislators have long touted private prisons as a way for the state to save money, but an Associated Press analysis finds that the savings may not be as high as touted, although the state does not appear interested in crunching the numbers to determine the extent of savings.
Idaho Statesman 3/5/2012

Idaho's first-ever presidential caucus to be held Tuesday On Tuesday, GOP voters will gather in each of Idaho's 44 counties to decide whom the state's 32 delegates will vote for at the Republican National Convention in August.
Idaho Statesman 3/5/2012

Tuesday's GOP caucuses in Idaho a challenge for some voters Not all Republican voters may be able to cast their votes in Tuesday's caucuses in Idaho, as the only way to vote is in person, and some older voters or those with disabilities are unsure they'll be able to travel to where the caucuses are held.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/5/2012

Thousands attend rally for Mitt Romney in Idaho Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd of an estimated 2,200 people at an Idaho rally in Idaho Falls on Thursday.
Los Angeles Times 3/2/2012

GOP presidential contender Ron Paul plans stops in Idaho next week Prior to Idaho's Republican presidential caucuses next Tuesday evening, GOP contender Ron Paul plans a series of events in Idaho, with stops in Sandpoint, Moscow and Idaho Falls on Monday, and at an event in the Treasure Valley on Tuesday, although the location of that event has yet to be determined.
Idaho Statesman 3/2/2012

Idaho governor appoints Caldwell lawyer to fill McGee's Senate seat Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appointed Jim Rice, a Caldwell lawyer, to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of Sen. John McGee.
Idaho Statesman 3/2/2012

Bill to expand "Connecting Idaho" squeezes through state Senate The fate of legislation that would dedicate another $140 million to the "Connecting Idaho" transportation bill to help rebuild bridges is uncertain in the state House, after the bill made it through the Senate on a 19-14 vote.
Idaho Statesman 3/2/2012

Idaho House sends bill cutting income tax to state Senate Legislation codifying Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's $35.7-million proposed income-tax cut for businesses and higher-income individuals passed easily in the Idaho House and is now in the Senate awaiting a vote in that chamber.
Idaho Statesman 3/2/2012

Two Democratic state senators in Idaho to retire Idaho Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai and Sen. Diane Bilyeu, both Democratic senators from Pocatello, announced that they would not seek re-election.
Idaho Statesman 3/1/2012

Bill to force Idaho to sell self-storage business advances in state House The Idaho House Resources Committee voted 15-1 to advance legislation that would require the State Land Board to sell all business operations and to sell or lease improvements on state lands.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 3/1/2012

Idaho House panel kills bill to tax internet sales A tie vote Wednesday of the Idaho House Revenue and Taxation Committee ended the state's quest to impose its 6 percent sales tax on online sales.
Twin Falls Times-News 3/1/2012

Idaho state senator drops bill that would have expanded wolf actions On Tuesday, Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway withdrew legislation that would have greatly expanded options ranchers could use to deal with problem wolves because he believed the changes could have put wolves under federal protection again.
Idaho Statesman 2/29/2012

Idaho Senate sends state parks passport bill to governor Legislation to create the new Idaho State Parks Passport program, which offers a pass to all the state's parks and is designed to make visits more affordable and to increase revenues, is on the way to the governor's desk after the state Senate passed the bill Tuesday.
Idaho Statesman 2/29/2012

Idaho House sends bill to remove cap on charter schools to the Senate Despite strong opposition from the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the statewide teachers union, legislation removing the state's six-school cap on charter schools that can open annually was approved by the House and now moves to the Senate.
Idaho Statesman 2/28/2012

Idaho congressman has Libertarian challenger Rob Oates announced Monday that he will run as a Libertarian for Idaho's 1st Congressional District seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador.
Coeur d'Alene Press 2/28/2012

Another Republican joins race for Idaho state Senate seat Idaho's newly drawn legislative districts put long-serving Republican state Sens. Dean Cameron and Denton Darrington in the same Senate district, and on Monday Oakley rancher Douglas Pickett announced he would challenge the two GOP incumbents in the May 15 primary for the party's nomination for the Senate District 27 seat.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/28/2012

Idaho valley losing wealth of experience in the Legislature Redistricting and the retirement of a number of experienced legislators means that Idaho's Magic Valley will lose experienced legislators who hold key positions in the Legislature.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/25/2012

Landowners resist USFS's proposed land exchange in Idaho A proposed land exchange in Idaho to trade private lands contained within the Clearwater National Forest for land elsewhere has been in the works since 2006, but identifying the public lands to be traded has been problematic. At a hearing before an Idaho Senate panel on Friday, landowners presented their opposition to the current proposal, but Idaho County Commission Chairman Skip Brandt, who hammered out the current acre-for-acre proposal, told landowners the current deal on the table may be the best they can get.
Idaho Statesman 2/25/2012

Idaho state senator resigns after staffer alleges sexual harassment Idaho state Sen. John McGee resigned on Wednesday after a staffer alleged he had sexually harassed her. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter must now appoint someone to complete McGee's term.
Idaho Statesman 2/23/2012

Idaho congressman urges Legislature to abandon wolf bill After the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted 7-2 to advance Sen. Jeff Siddoway's bill, which would allow anyone who loses a pet or livestock to wolves to use live bait to attract wolves, shoot them from airplanes or use night scopes to hunt wolves within 36 hours of the loss, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson appealed to legislators to give the state's plan time to work as Siddoway's bill would surely invite lawsuits should it pass.
Idaho Statesman 2/23/2012

Idaho House panel sends wind-power moratorium bill to full House Legislation that would impose a two-year moratorium on new wind-power projects in Idaho was approved on a 6-5 vote of the Idaho House Local Government Committee on Wednesday.
Idaho Statesman 2/23/2012

Idaho Senate approves ban on texting while driving Idaho legislators are again trying to ban texting while driving, with the Idaho Senate voting 29-6 to move this session's version along.
Idaho Statesman 2/22/2012

Commerce Committee sends Otter's R&D plan to Idaho House The House Commerce Committee voted Tuesday to send to the full House Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's $5-million Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, or IGEM, which is based on Utah's program of developing results of university research into commercial products.
Idaho Statesman 2/22/2012

Gingrich to make stops in Washington, Idaho Thursday Republican presidential contender and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will hold a rally in Spokane Thursday afternoon and then he'll head east to Coeur d'Alene, where a private fundraiser is scheduled at 4 p.m. followed by a public rally in the Idaho city at 7:30 p.m.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/22/2012

Idaho House panel approves bill to make gold, silver legal tender Legislation by Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart that would make silver and gold coins legal tender in the state, as well as exempt transactions using those coins from taxes, was approved for introduction by a House panel on Tuesday.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/22/2012

Bill to tax online sales in Idaho may be too complicated to pass Legislation designed to impose Idaho's 6 percent sales tax on online purchases was put on hold Monday to give legislators more time to absorb the 79-page bill.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/21/2012

Idaho senator, USFS chief pitch collaboration, rather than selling forest lands Last week in Idaho, three Republican presidential candidates proposed the sale of federal lands or the transfer or such lands to state management. On Monday, Idaho U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell met with members of the press to speak in support of collaborative projects that have succeeded in the state, as well as the Forest Service's new planning rules that encourage such collaboration.
Idaho Statesman 2/21/2012

Monsanto asks Idaho lawmakers to consider utility disclosure bill The manufacturer of the herbicide Roundup uses a lot of electricity at its Soda Springs phosphate plant in Idaho, and Trent Clark, Monsanto's lobbyist, convinced Idaho legislators to schedule a hearing on a bill that would require utilities to offer their best estimate of what expensive infrastructure projects will do to consumer rates, because the company believes utilities are building unnecessary projects to reap the 10 percent returns financed by ratepayers.
Idaho Statesman 2/17/2012

Boise mayor lobbies for local option tax At City Club of Boise's luncheon on Thursday, Mayor Dave Bieter urged the hundreds of attendees to work on gathering signatures on petitions expected to begin circulating soon that support local government's ability to impose a local option sales tax by asking voters to approve one.
Idaho Statesman 2/17/2012

More than 1,200 show up for town hall meeting in Idaho with Ron Paul Republican presidential contender Ron Paul made a stop in Twin Falls on Thursday, attracting more than 1,200 people to the Idaho town hall.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/17/2012

Santorum's proposal to sell public lands nothing new in Idaho Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum's pledge made in Boise this week to sell federal lands is similar to political pledges made by others in the past, including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who had made a similar proposal in 2005, but backed off it when it became a campaign issue in 2006.
Idaho Statesman 2/16/2012

Thousands of Idahoans attend rally for GOP presidential contender The rally in Boise for Rick Santorum, who is seeking the Republican Party's nomination for president, was a raucous event, with Idahoans booing Arizona Sen. John McCain and shouting that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a "traitor," and Santorum promised to sell millions of acres of public lands if he is elected president.
Idaho Statesman 2/15/2012

GOP presidential candidate adds public rally to Idaho events on Friday Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, will be in Boise for two private fundraisers on Friday, and he added a public rally on that afternoon at a manufactured housing plant in the Idaho city.
Idaho Statesman 2/15/2012

Idaho legislators shun federal funding for state-run health insurance exchange State legislators are working on a plan to create a health insurance exchange required under the federal Affordable Care Act that satisfies federal requirements, and the general consensus is that the state should not take federal funds for the exchange.
Idaho Statesman 2/15/2012

Hundreds attend rally for Santorum in Coeur d'Alene Nearly 600 people from Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington packed into the Hagadone Event Center in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday to hear Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
Coeur d'Alene Press 2/15/2012

Republican presidential contender Paul to hold rally in Idaho Ron Paul will be in Twin Falls on Thursday, where a public rally will be held at the Roper Auditorium.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/15/2012

Idaho Senate panel approves animal cruelty bill Idaho is one of three states in the union that does not have an animal cruelty law in place, and on Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved legislation to put such a law in place, and the bill must now be considered by the full Senate.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/15/2012

Idaho official explains how EPA will scale back Superfund site work Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Director Toni Hardesty told members of the House Environment Committee on Tuesday that the federal Environmental Protection Agency plans to cut its proposed $1.6-billion cleanup of mining contamination in the Coeur d'Alene River Basin to a 30-year plan that should cost $736 million, and Hardesty gave some details about what would be cut out of the original proposal.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/15/2012

Idaho bill would use wolf-tag revenue to compensate ranchers for losses The Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee voted Monday to print legislation proposed by Rep. Judy Boyle of Midvale that would put $8 of revenue generated by the sale of a wolf tag into a special fund to compensate ranchers for livestock lost to wolf predation. Another bill introduced by Rep. Marc Gibbs would raise the cost of wolf tags to counter the loss of revenue to the Department of Fish and Game.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/14/2012

Idaho lawmakers get a look at Otter's plan to protect sage grouse At a joint session of the Idaho House and Senate environment and resources committees on Monday, officials of Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's administration rolled out the state's plan to protect sage grouse that is based on Wyoming's plan.
Idaho Statesman 2/14/2012

Santorum, Romney schedule stops in Idaho's capital city Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be in Boise tonight at a free, public rally in the Capital High School auditorium, and Mitt Romney will be in the Idaho city on Friday, with a private fundraiser already scheduled and a public rally to be announced.
Idaho Statesman 2/14/2012

Cash flows into campaign coffers of Idaho congressman with no challenger Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has yet to have a challenger file to run against him, and the Republican incumbent donated $150,000 of the $200,000 raised in the last three months of 2011 for his re-election campaign to the National Republican Congressional Committee for use in other races.
Idaho Statesman 2/14/2012

Idaho congressman formally announces re-election bid Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador announced Monday that he would seek a second term.
Idaho Statesman 2/14/2012

Idaho legislators consider bill to limit liability of canal companies Opponents of House Bill 398, introduced at the request of Norm Semanko, executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association, said the bill that would absolve irrigation canal owners of liability should the canal fail is unnecessary and provides too much immunity.
Idaho Statesman 2/14/2012

Redrawn legislative districts pit experienced Idaho legislators against each other Under the new legislative district maps, state Sen. Dean Cameron, a Rupert Republican that has served in the Idaho Senate since 1991, will have to face Declo Republican Sen. Denton Darrington, who has served since 1982, in the May primary.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/13/2012

Idaho bill would remove rules on sale of local produce State Rep. Phil Hart said his "Idaho Farm Freedom Act," which removes licensing, inspection and certification rules from the sale of locally grown produce is designed to encourage local agriculture.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/13/2012

Idaho bill would expand ranchers' options on dealing with predators Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway, who operates a sheep ranch in the eastern part of the state, said he has lost tens of thousands of dollars due to predation by wolves, and his bill would open up a wide range of now illegal methods to ranchers dealing with wolves.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/10/2012

Idaho House panel approves bill giving state oversight on oil, gas development The Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to give the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission final authority on oil and gas development and limits counties' ability to prohibit drilling or other energy-related work.
Idaho Statesman 2/10/2012

Idaho Legislature to consider 3 bills on sale of big-game licenses The auction of big-game licenses in Idaho is a controversial issue in the state, and three bills set for hearing today would make changes on such sales: two Senate bills would allow landowners to charge whatever price they could get for tags they hold, and another Senate bill would expand the state offerings of big-game tags for auction from the one bighorn sheep tag to one moose; one wild sheep; one mountain goat; and up to three elk, deer and antelope tags annually.
Idaho Statesman 2/10/2012

Idaho National Laboratory to lay off 185 workers Battelle Energy Alliance, the operator of the Idaho National Laboratory, announced that it would seek voluntary resignations to cut the 4,200 jobs at the laboratory by 185.
Idaho Statesman 2/10/2012

Idaho Department of Labor seeks new penalties for not reporting new hires The Idaho Department of Labor has asked legislators to pass legislation that allows the department impose a $25 fine on businesses that do not report new hires within the 20 days mandated by state law.
Idaho Statesman 2/9/2012

Idaho House, State lawmakers hear proposal to end personal property tax At a rare joint session of the Idaho House and Senate tax committees, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry President Alex LaBeau urged lawmakers to consider getting rid of the state's tax on equipment and other non-real property.
Idaho Statesman 2/9/2012

Idaho bill would get state out of self-storage business In response to the public criticism of the Idaho State Land Board's decision to purchase the Affordable Self Storage in Boise in 2010, state Rep. John Vander Woude introduced legislation that would require the Land Board to sell all business operations and to sell or lease all improvements on state-owned lands.
Idaho Statesman 2/8/2012

Idaho House panel approves bill on annual state park pass The Idaho House Resources Committee approved legislation that would create an Idaho State Parks Passport, a program that would allow Idaho residents to buy a $10 sticker when they license their vehicle that would allow them free access to all 30 of the state's parks.
Idaho Statesman 2/8/2012

Idaho Republican Party certifies 5 presidential candidates for March caucuses Republican voters will have five presidential candidates to choose from when they meet for March 6 caucuses around the state: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Idaho Statesman 2/7/2012

Legislation would speed graduation from high school in Idaho The Idaho House Education Committee unanimously voted to send legislation that would create the 8 in 6 program, which would allow junior high and high school students to take additional credits during the school year and up to two summer courses to allow them to graduate early and get a head start on college.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/7/2012

Idaho legislator proposes bill to end Superfund work in Silver Valley Idaho state Rep. Shannon McMillan told members of the House Environment Committee on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has had enough time to clean up mining contamination in the Silver Valley, and that a bill she was sponsoring would require the EPA to rescind the Superfund designation for the area and be completely done with operations within five years.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/7/2012

Idaho House committee agrees to hear bill to make it harder to raise taxes Sixteen states in the union require tax increases to get the vote of two-thirds of the Legislature, and on Thursday the Idaho House State Affairs panel agreed to hear Sen. Steve Vick's bill for a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority vote on fee and tax increases.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/3/2012

Idaho Senate panel votes 5-4 to kill bill to raise speed limit for trucks On Thursday, the Idaho Senate Transportation Committee put the brakes on a bill that would have raised the speed limit for trucks in the state to 75 mph.
Idaho Statesman 2/3/2012

Idaho House sends bill banning sales of e-cigarettes to kids to the Senate Legislation that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors passed on a 68-0 vote in the Idaho House on Thursday, and will now be taken up by the state Senate.
Idaho Statesman 2/3/2012

Romney Super Pac gets $1 million from Idaho company Restore Our Future, the Super Pac supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, received four $250,000 donations from Idaho-based Melaleuca Inc. and its affiliates.
Idaho Statesman 2/2/2012

Not all truckers support bill to raise speed limit for trucks in Idaho The Idaho Senate Transportation Committee will hear Sen. Jim Hammond's bill to raise the speed limit for trucks to 75 mph today, but the bill isn't uniformly supported by the trucking industry within the state.
Idaho Statesman 2/2/2012

Romney Super Pac gets $1 million from Idaho company Restore Our Future, the Super Pac supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, received four $250,000 donations from Idaho-based Melaleuca Inc. and its affiliates.
Idaho Statesman 2/2/2012

Not all truckers support bill to raise speed limit for trucks in Idaho The Idaho Senate Transportation Committee will hear Sen. Jim Hammond's bill to raise the speed limit for trucks to 75 mph today, but the bill isn't uniformly supported by the trucking industry within the state.
Idaho Statesman 2/2/2012

Idaho governor signs executive order creating new nuclear-energy panel On Wednesday, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed an executive order creating the Idaho Leadership in Nuclear Energy, which will investigate ways to keep the Idaho National Laboratory and its nuclear mission viable.
Denver Post 2/2/2012

Idaho governor signs executive order creating new nuclear-energy panel On Wednesday, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed an executive order creating the Idaho Leadership in Nuclear Energy, which will investigate ways to keep the Idaho National Laboratory and its nuclear mission viable.
Denver Post 2/2/2012

Otter hires former Idaho Democratic Party leader to protect GOP education plan Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter hired John Foster, a former Idaho Democratic Party executive director, to work on a campaign to promote the three education reform laws passed by Republican legislators last session that are being challenged by ballot initiatives.
Idaho Statesman 2/1/2012

Idaho legislator wants to trim benefits for elected officials' pensions Idaho state Rep. Dennis Lake has introduced a bill that would roll back a retirement benefit for elected officials, and another to close a loophole that allows lawmakers who live near Boise to accumulate retirement benefits about a quarter faster than legislators who live farther away from the capital city.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/1/2012

Declining sales of hunting tags a concern for Idaho Fish, Game Department Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore presented his budget request to the Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, where he spoke of declining sales of out-of-state tags while the sale of discounted tags for senior hunters were on the rise, resulting in less revenue. Moore also provided information about the state's ongoing wolf hunt.
Twin Falls Times-News 2/1/2012

Idaho state senator submits 'straightforward' texting ban Idaho state Sen. Jim Hammond said his legislation that would ban texting while driving in the state avoids other pitfalls that doomed previous bills on texting by keeping the process simple: The bill defines texting, makes it an infraction to do so and if convicted of the infraction, drivers are fined.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 2/1/2012

Idaho county won't challenge latest redistricting map Twin Falls County officials said they're not thrilled with the latest map of legislative districts, but the Idaho officials said they'll live with the new districts.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/31/2012

Idaho counties, drillers draft bill to regulate natural gas development On Sunday, the Idaho Association of Counties and the Idaho Petroleum Council announced that they had crafted draft legislation to regulate the natural gas industry in the state, although they declined to release the draft legislation.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/29/2012

Idaho redistricting panel begins work on new map The six-member redistricting panel began work on redrawing Idaho's legislative districts on Thursday, with the expectation that the work will be done and approved well in advance of the Feb. 27 deadline for candidates to file for the May primary.
Idaho Statesman 1/27/2012

Idaho House votes to ban camping by Occupy Boise protesters on state grounds Three Republicans joined with Democratic House members to oppose a measure to order Occupy Boise protesters pull their tents off state grounds across from the Idaho state Capitol, but the measure passed 54-16, and protesters were ordered to break down their camps, although they can still gather to protest.
Idaho Statesman 1/27/2012

President Obama, Colorado governor agree on hydraulic fracturing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a petroleum geologist by trade, supports the use of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method that uses water, sand and chemicals to break open rock formations to release gas and oil resources, and he also supports the requirement that companies disclose what chemicals they use in the process, a stance that staffers said reflects one held by President Obama.
Durango Herald 1/27/2012

Governor doubts Idaho will meet federal deadline on health care exchange Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he believes it's unlikely the state will have a state-based health care exchange up and running in time to meet the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline set by the federal government.
Idaho Statesman 1/26/2012

Idaho Supreme Court dismisses redistricting lawsuit The lawsuit filed by Idaho Republican state chairman Norm Semanko and House Speaker Lawerence Denney disputing Idaho Attorney General Ben Ysursa's opinion that they did not have the authority to dismiss two Republican members of the state legislative redistricting panel was dismissed by the Idaho Supreme Court.
Idaho Statesman 1/26/2012

Idaho Senate panel OKs bill to raise permit costs for megaloads The Idaho Transportation Department asked state lawmakers to allow for higher fees to be imposed on megaloads of equipment transported on state highways, and the Senate Transportation Committee approved legislation this week that would raise the fee from $18 to $70.
Idaho Statesman 1/25/2012

GOP dispute on Idaho legislative redistricting moves to court Idaho Attorney General Ben Ysursa sided with two members of the state's redistricting panel when they refused to step down after House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko fired them, prompting Denney and Semanko to sue Ysursa for denying they had the ability to fire the redistricting commissioners.
Idaho Statesman 1/25/2012

Redistricting dust-up in Idaho roils Republican Party After the Idaho Supreme Court tossed the state's redistricting plan last week, State Republican Chairman Norm Semanko and Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney removed two commissioners from the redistricting panel on Monday, but Randy Hansen and Dolores Crow said they're not stepping down. Idaho State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said they don't have to step down, an opinion with which the state GOP does not agree.
Idaho Statesman 1/24/2012

GOP senators want review of EPA report on hydraulic fracturing in Wyoming Ten Republican senators, including Sen. Mike Crapo from Idaho, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the ranking GOP member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, have requested that the Environmental Protection Agency's draft report on water contamination near Pavillion, Wyo. that suggested a potential link between hydraulic fracturing and the contamination undergo a stringent scientific review.
Idaho Statesman 1/23/2012

Idaho legislation would move state's primary back to August In 1980, Idaho's primary election was moved from August to May, and legislation introduced Thursday in the House State Affairs Committee would move the primary election back to August, making for a much shorter general election campaign season.
Idaho Statesman 1/20/2012

President's initiative to spur tourism touts national parks President Obama's executive order issued Thursday is designed to make it easier for international tourists to visit the United States, and includes a provision to promote "national treasures," including national parks and monuments, as well as state parks.
Salt Lake Tribune 1/20/2012

Idaho Supreme Court tosses legislative redistricting plan Twin Falls County was one of four counties that had challenged Idaho's newly redrawn legislative districts, and on Wednesday, the Idaho Supreme Court ordered the redistricting commission to go back to the drawing board.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/19/2012

Idaho senator withdraws support for federal Internet legislation A deluge of emails and telephone calls from constituents prompted Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim Risch to rethink his support for the Protect Internet Protocol Act (PIPA).
Idaho Statesman 1/19/2012

Wolf parasite, Lochsa land exchange on Idaho state senator's agenda Idaho state Sen. Monty Pearce, who chairs the Senate Resources & Environment Committee, said he'll hold hearings this session on a couple of controversial issues: a parasite carried by wolves and on the Lochsa Land Exchange.
Idaho Statesman 1/19/2012

Idaho House committee approves new rules for oil and gas development If neither the state House nor the Senate votes in opposition to the regulations on the oil and gas industry passed by the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee on Tuesday, those rules will go into effect.
Idaho Statesman 1/18/2012

Idaho bill would raise legal speed limit for trucks to 75 mph Idaho state Sen. Jim Hammond, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, submitted legislation Wednesday that would raise legal speed limit for trucks on Idaho highways from 65 to 75 mph.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/18/2012

Idaho legislator introduces medical marijuana bill Idaho state Rep. Tom Trail's medical marijuana bill introduced last year never made it out of the House Health & Welfare Committee, and on Wednesday, the Republican lawmaker from Moscow tried again, introducing HB 370, which would permit patients with certain medical conditions to get up to 2 ounces of the medicinal weed every 28 days from a state-authorized dispensary.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/18/2012

Idaho has about 126,000 fewer registered voters now than in 2008 According to new Census numbers in Idaho, an additional 242,943 Idahoans need to register to vote this year for the state to have as many as 2008 when the last presidential election was held. Election officials are concerned about how a change in the law may affect voter registrations, since it now requires voters that want to vote the Republican ticket in the May primary to actually be registered as a Republican voter.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/17/2012

Idaho bill would make vehicle-killed wildlife fair game for harvest Legislation reviewed Monday by the Senate Resources Committee would allow animals struck and killed by vehicles in Idaho to be harvested, although state Fish and Game's Sharon Kiefer cautioned that the bill would not allow motorists to use their vehicles as a method to take wildlife.
Idaho Statesman 1/17/2012

Idaho grocers plead for change in food stamp system With a record number of Idahoans eligible for food stamps, the grocery industry is putting up $100,000 and asking state lawmakers to issue food stamps in phases throughout the month, as grocery stores are inundated with food stamp recipients at the first of each month, and some people, discouraged by the wait at the checkout counter, just walk away from full carts, causing the loss of food.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/16/2012

Idaho Democratic legislators unveil proposed ethics commission bill On Thursday, the Idaho Democratic Caucus released the details of its proposed Idaho Independent Ethics Commission Act, which would create a panel to investigate complaints against legislators and state workers.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/13/2012

Idaho governor gets 4 percent pay raise Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter received a 4 percent pay raise this fiscal year, providing him with an annual salary of $115,300, and a review of other state workers' pay indicates there are 261 state employees making more than the governor.
Idaho Statesman 1/13/2012

After complaints, congressional staffers pledge to end wildfire pool After the family of an Idaho man who died fighting a wildland fire in Texas complained about an office pool run by Frank Gladics, a top Republican staffer on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on how many acres of federal lands would be scorched by wildfire, Robert Dillon, spokesman for the Republicans on the committee, said the pool would not happen again.
Idaho Statesman 1/13/2012

Health-care insurance exchange a top issue for Idaho legislators If the federal health care insurance law passed in 2010 withstands challenges, Idaho has two choices to meet the law's requirement that states provide health care exchanges: it can create its own or the federal government will run one in the state, and state legislators will debate which route is best.
Idaho Statesman 1/12/2012

Idaho officials ask legislators to raise pay for state workers Idaho has shed 1,300 state jobs in the past three years, and prisons and other state-run institutions are experiencing high turnover rates, a situation state officials told members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that could be addressed if wages for certain jobs were raised.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/12/2012

Idaho Democratic legislators see opportunity in Otter's health-insurance plan There are just 13 Democrats in the Idaho House, but House Minority Leader John Rusche sees an opportunity for that caucus to side with the most conservative Republican lawmakers and defeat Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposal to accept $20.3-million in federal funding to set up a health insurance exchange.
Idaho Statesman 1/11/2012

Idaho governor fashions economic development plan on Utah's Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed a $5 million economic development plan that would send $2 million to universities in the state to further research, $2 million into the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the Idaho National Laboratory, and another $1 million into a business fund to help commercial development of products.
Idaho Statesman 1/10/2012

In State of the State speech, Idaho governor suggests tax cuts, pay raises Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter gave his State of the State speech on Monday, and said he would suggest $60 million in tax cuts, although he did not give any specifics as to what taxes would be cut.
Idaho Statesman 1/10/2012

Drive is on in Idaho to put local-option tax to voters Idaho sets the sales tax rate for the state, although resort towns with populations under 10,000 can add a local tax to that rate. There is a petition drive under way to get the issue of allowing all communities the option of putting a local tax before residents on the November ballot.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/9/2012

Idaho legislative panel approves bill on health insurance exchange After holding months of meetings on the creation of a health insurance exchange, the Idaho Legislature's Health Care Task Force voted 11-1 on Friday to approve a proposal that would create a state-run exchange and send it to the Legislature, which begins its 2012 session today.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/9/2012

GOP straw poll in Idaho draws about 400 of the party faithful The Idaho Republican Party held its first ever, non-binding presidential straw poll on Friday, with Ron Paul getting 173 votes, Mitt Romney receiving 135 votes, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich receiving 47.
Idaho Statesman 1/7/2012

Health insurance exchange headlines Idaho legislative preview Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said Thursday at The Associated Press' 2012 Legislative Preview that explaining the consequences of not creating a health insurance exchange required under the federal health insurance reform law would be a priority for him.
Idaho Statesman 1/6/2012

Idaho Supreme Court hears arguments on redistricting challenge A coalition led by Twin Falls County challenged the legislative redistricting map drawn up by the Idaho redistricting commission, and on Thursday, the Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments in that challenge.
Twin Falls Times-News 1/6/2012

Republican legislators in Idaho face GOP challengers Idaho state Reps. Phil Hart and Vito Barbieri will face GOP challengers in the May 15 primary, with businessmen Ed Morse challenging Hart and Mark Fisher running against Barbieri.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/5/2012

Idaho's press for online learning has teachers pushing back Last year, the Idaho Legislature approved educational reforms that require all students take at least some online courses and teachers, as well as parents, are protesting that the reforms put technology above teaching.
New York Times 1/4/2012

Idaho governor's 'Capital for a Day', Sun Valley's 75th anniversary coincide Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter spent Wednesday in Sun Valley for his "Capital for a Day," and he heard a litany of requests from local officials and residents.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/22/2011

Oil, gas industry at work on Idaho bill to curb local control of drilling After Washington County proposed a slate of regulations on oil and gas operations in that Idaho county, wildcat drillers in the state are planning to ask legislators to pass a bill to prevent local governments from imposing such regulations, saying that a patchwork of rules would snuff out the state's nascent energy industry.
Idaho Statesman 12/21/2011

Idaho state representative proposes revamp of sales tax system Democratic state Rep. Shirley Ringo and former gubernatorial nominee Robert Huntley are bringing back a plan to cut Idaho's state sales tax from 6 percent to 5 percent and to expand the tax to a wide range of services, prompting Republican Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill to lament that the national attitude that businesses can handle heavier tax burdens had spread to the Gem State.
Idaho Statesman 12/21/2011

Idaho schools benefit a bit from lottery funds For every dollar Idahoans spend on lottery tickets, 25 cents is funneled into schools, and before 2009, schools were required to spend the lottery money on building maintenance and improvements and detail how those funds were spent. The law changed that year to allow schools more flexibility in using the funds and eliminating specific reporting requirements, but school officials say the lottery funds can't fill up the budget gap left by cuts.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/19/2011

Idaho governor says he'll seek a third term At a governor's ball in northern Idaho Wednesday evening, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he'll seek a third term, a decision Otter's former campaign manager confirmed on Thursday.
Idaho Statesman 12/16/2011

Idaho legislators review proposed bill on health insurance exchange State lawmakers reviewed legislation proposed by the Idaho Department of Insurance that would create a state-run health insurance exchange, which has already been criticized for giving the insurance industry too much of a presence on the 13-member exchange board.
Idaho Statesman 12/15/2011

NPR finds business owners, GOP lawmakers not aligned on surtax Republican lawmakers have opposed Democratic lawmakers' proposal to pay for a one-year extension of the payroll tax holiday by imposing a surtax on individuals making an annual income of $1 million or more, but National Public Radio spoke to some of those business owners who said the surtax wasn't a big deal. 12/9/2011

House Republicans offer own payroll tax bill On Thursday, Republicans in the U.S. House unveiled their payroll tax holiday bill that contains a provision to put approval of the Keystone XL pipeline back on the fast track, another that would roll back Environmental Protection Agency regulation of emissions from industrial boilers and bar the EPA from instituting such rules in the near future.
New York Times 12/9/2011

Sun Valley's 75th anniversary, Idaho 'Capital for a Day' converge On Dec. 21, Sun Valley will celebrate its 75th anniversary, and a whole slate of Idaho state officials will be in town for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's Capital for the Day.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/7/2011

Legislator: Idaho's $77M budget surplus won't go far The estimated $77-million budget surplus that Idaho may have at the end of this fiscal year on June 30 is just a small percentage of the state's 2012 budget, which was crafted with $100 million of one-time infusions of cash to cover spending, leaving some rainy day funds depleted.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/6/2011

Economist: Idaho ranks 36th in nation tax burden At a meeting of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho on Thursday in Boise, an economist with the Tax Foundation said the state ranks 36th in the nation for its federal, state and local tax burden.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 12/2/2011

PEER lawsuit alleges BLM allowed politics to steer study In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility allege the Bureau of Land Management allowed politics to trump science after BLM managers told scientists in August of 2010 to exclude grazing in the BLM's Rapid Ecoregional Assessments, designed to examine the impact of fire, urban sprawl and other activities on six regions of the sagebrush West.
Idaho Statesman 12/1/2011

Federal government grant will likely spark Idaho legislative battle Idaho was among the states to get federal funding to set up a health insurance exchange, and with state legislators divided over the issue, a legislative battle will likely ensue over the $20.4-million grant.
Idaho Statesman 12/1/2011

Idaho PAC in search of 'reasonable Republican' candidates The North Idaho Political Action Committee, formed by business owners and civic supporters, will endorse Republican candidates who are willing to listen and solve problems.
Coeur d'Alene Press 12/1/2011

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