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Idaho congressman: Higher minimum wage will hurt entry-level workers U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador said that, while he understands why people are pressing for a higher minimum wage, the Idaho Republican said he cannot support legislation that would raise that wage because raising the minimum wage will actually curtail available jobs for entry-level workers.
Boise State Public Radio 1/3/2014

Idaho state senator to retain leadership role during gubernatorial run Idaho Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher, who is challenging Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for the Republican nomination for governor this year, said he intends to remain in that leadership role.
Idaho Statesman 1/3/2014

Idaho labor chief links low wages to lack of skilled workforce On Thursday, Idaho's legislative leaders met with state Labor officials to discuss why Idaho ranked 50th in the nation for average annual wage, per-capita income and wage increases since 2007, and ranked first in percentage of jobs paying the minimum wage. Labor Department Director Ken Edmunds told legislators that the state was in the process of converting its efforts to create jobs to pushing for growth in well-paying jobs, but that the state would first have to educate its workers for such jobs.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 1/3/2014

Idaho legislators to examine pay for state workers The Idaho House Commerce and Human Resources Committee will examine wages paid to state workers, which are estimated to be 29 percent below the pay for similar private-sector jobs, and about 19 percent below paid to workers in other states.
Idaho Statesman 1/2/2014

Idaho legislator's late resignation means seat will be open at start of session Rep. Mark Patterson's decision to resign on Dec. 20 means that the Idaho Legislature will begin the session with the Boise district's seat open, but the District 15 GOP Committee hopes to have nominees' names to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter within a timeframe to have an appointee in place by the second week of the session.
Idaho Statesman 12/31/2013

Idaho federal lawmakers take role in Lochsa land exchange Last fall, Idaho U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch stepped into the controversial proposed Upper Lochsa Land Exchange, which would trade 40,000 acres of private land on Lolo Pass for U.S. Forest Service lands, all within Idaho County. They proposed seven criteria for completing the swap using a legislative approach, a process at least one stakeholder said would preclude open public participation.
Missoula Independent 12/31/2013

Widow of Idaho U.S. Sen. Frank Church dies Bethine Church, who was a force in Idaho politics since she first worked on her father's successful run for governor in 1940, and who was married to U.S. Sen. Frank Church, who served in the Senate from 1957 to 1981, died at her home in Boise.
Idaho Statesman 12/23/2013

At Idaho senator's behest, FDA to revise water rules for fresh produce The Food and Drug Administration has heeded Idaho U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo's stance that the agency's proposed water quality and manure standards for fresh produce would be too costly for Idaho's small and mid-sized producers, with the agency announcing it would rework those proposed rules.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/23/2013

Idaho House lawmaker agrees with GOP panel, resigns Idaho state Rep. Mark Patterson said he'll resign his seat after Republican colleagues from his Boise district urged him to do so. The flap caused by the Ada County Sheriff's revocation of Patterson's concealed carry permit because he had not revealed he had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit forcible rape in Florida in 1974 may affect his ability to carry out the duties of his office.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/19/2013

Idaho senators among those who voted 'no' on budget deal The U.S. Senate voted 67-to-33 to approve a bipartisan budget bill on Tuesday, with Idaho U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch among those who voted against the bill.
Idaho Statesman 12/18/2013

Custer County residents want a voice in Idaho national monument debate When Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson crafted his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, he had the interests of Custer County in mind, but the current discussion on designating the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains as a national monument has had little focus on the area east of those mountains.
Idaho Statesman 12/15/2013

Western governors offer federal government more wildfire help At the Western Governors' Association's winter meeting in Las Vegas, governors told federal officials in attendance that they were prepared to do more to fight wildfires, an offer that appeared to surprise the Agriculture and Bureau of Land Management representatives in attendance.
Flathead Beacon 12/13/2013

Idaho's U.S. House members split vote on bipartisan budget deal U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson was among the 332 representatives to vote in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that passed the House on Thursday, while his fellow Idaho colleague, Rep. Raul Labrador, was among the 94 members who voted against it.
Idaho Statesman 12/13/2013

Idaho legislators hear results of study of prison system A nine-month study of the Idaho prison system revealed that the state has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the nation despite having one of the lowest crime rates, and that nonviolent offenders in Idaho are locked up twice as long as similar offenders in other states.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 12/13/2013

Another Republican announces run for Idaho secretary of state On Tuesday, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane announced he was running for the open Idaho secretary of state seat, joining fellow Republicans state Rep. Lawerence Denney and state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, in the May 20 GOP primary.
Idaho Statesman 12/11/2013

Idaho Farm Bureau votes to raise branding fee to fund wolf control At its meeting in Sun Valley on Thursday, the Idaho Farm Bureau voted to raise brand fees by $25 to help fund wolf-control efforts. Along with a sportsmen's group promising to match that increase, the increase in wool assessment fees, and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's promise to ask for $250,000 from the state's general fund, it's expected those efforts will raise the $400,000 needed to replace funding lost by Idaho Wildlife Services.
Twin Falls Times-News 12/9/2013

Idaho Democratic gubernatorial candidate releases financial info While candidates for state and local offices in Idaho are not required to make financial disclosures, Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff released his financial information because he did not want questions about his considerable wealth to plague his campaign as they did Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
Idaho Statesman 12/8/2013

Federal, Montana bills tackle issue of access to public lands Expanding access to public lands is a hot issue at both the federal and state level, with two bills pending in the U.S. Senate: the Sportsmen's and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act, co-sponsored by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, and the Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act. The Unlocking State Lands Program in Montana passed this year and provides a $500 tax credit to landowners that provide access across their property to adjacent state lands.
Great Falls Tribune 12/5/2013

Idaho's plan to claim federal lands gets mixed reaction at hearing The Idaho Legislature's Federal Lands Interim Committee held its first public hearing on Wednesday on the state's plan to demand control over 32 millions of acres of federal land, with tea party groups expressing their support for the plan.
Idaho Statesman 12/5/2013

Idaho schools chief endorses 4 school reform bills proposed by Democrats On Wednesday, Democratic legislators in Idaho unveiled four bills that incorporate all but one of the 20 education reforms recommended by a task force appointed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. The package of bills quickly drew the endorsement of Republican schools chief Superintendent Tom Luna, as well as statements of support from GOP Gov. Otter and House Speaker Scott Bedke.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 12/5/2013

Boise Democrat kicks off Idaho gubernatorial campaign On Tuesday, Boise businessman and current president of the Boise School Board, A.J. Balukoff, announced that he was running for governor of Idaho.
Idaho Statesman 12/4/2013

Commissioners of Idaho county oppose Scotchman's Peak wilderness proposal Bonner County Commissioners are opposing a proposal that Scotchman's Peak in northern Idaho be designated a wilderness area, as the Idaho county's commissioners believe there are better ways to preserve the area.
Idaho Statesman 12/2/2013

State senator seeks review of 'Connecting Idaho' State Sen. Chuck Winder said he will ask the Legislature's Office of Performance Evaluations to examine if the $840 million "Connecting Idaho" highway building program that allows the state to assume debt to pay for roads is working as anticipated, or if the state should return to a pay-as-you-go method for road construction and maintenance.
Idaho Statesman 12/2/2013

Republican state senator announces run for Idaho governor Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has a primary challenger as Republican state Sen. Russ Fulcher announced he is running for governor.
Idaho Statesman 11/25/2013

U.S. House passes bill to speed up drilling, another on hydraulic fracturing On Wednesday, the U.S. House voted 228-192 to pass a measure to speed up federal permitting of oil and gas drilling operations that includes a required $5,000 fee for any group or person to protest a lease, and to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. It approved another bill on a 235-to-187 vote that would prohibit the Interior Department from enforcing a proposed regulation on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in states that already have such a regulation in place.
Flathead Beacon 11/21/2013

Idaho state senator resigns State Sen. Branden Durst has been spending more and more time in Washington state since the Boise Democrat's wife took a teaching job there, and on Wednesday, he told Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and the state Senate leaders he was resigning his seat.
Idaho Statesman 11/21/2013

U.S. Rep. Simpson introduces bill to add third federal judge in Idaho It's been nearly 59 years since a federal judge post has been added in Idaho, and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson introduced legislation to add a third federal judge in the state.
Idaho Statesman 11/21/2013

Idaho U.S. Rep. Simpson gets re-election support from Mitt Romney Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is facing a primary challenge from Bryan Smith, and on Monday the Idaho incumbent got the endorsement of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Idaho Statesman 11/19/2013

Idaho business group urges expansion of Medicaid program On Monday, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the largest business lobby in the state, urged Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to reconvene his task force on Medicaid to consider expanding the federal program in the state.
Spokane Spokesman-Review 11/19/2013

Survey shows bipartisan support for protecting NPS from future cuts A survey paid for by the Center for American Progress two weeks into the federal government shutdown that included national parks, showed that 74 percent of the 1,005 voters surveyed said that the National Park Service should not see any additional budget cuts, and 70 percent said the agency should be protected from future sequestration cuts.
Casper Star-Tribune 11/18/2013

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