Butch Otter

The Idaho Legislature has wrapped up for the year without doing anything to address 2016’s highest profile issue: expanding health care coverage for Idaho’s working poor.

Education funding was front and center Monday as the Idaho and Washington state legislatures convened for their 2016 sessions.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said he has received reassurances from the federal government about the adequacy of vetting of refugees from the war-torn Middle East.

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Idaho’s governor has called lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special legislative session on May 18th. Governor Butch Otter said today that a special session is the only way to keep Idaho’s system for collecting and distributing child support payments, intact.

The state processes more than $200 million a year in child support. On the last day of the regular session earlier this month, a few lawmakers killed a bill to keep Idaho compliant with federal child support requirements.

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Idaho Governor Butch Otter says the state has less than 60 days to become compliant with federal regulations, or the state's ability to process out-of-state child support payments would be in jeopardy.

Just before the 2015 legislative session ended last week, members of a House committee killed a bill to bring Idaho into compliance. Otter says the state must do something, but says he isn't ready to call a special legislative session.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has vetoed a repeal of so-called “instant horse racing” and has asked Idaho lawmakers to come up with a different strategy for dealing with the gambling machines in the state.

Idaho Democrats predict more common ground than usual at the state Capitol this year.

The governor of Idaho said now that the state's economy is looking up, it's time to reverse the some of the belt-tightening measures made during the recession.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. It’s a break with the trend in most courts.

That could provide a legal opening for Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who has vowed to continue the fight against gay marriage in his state. The issue may have even helped him win re-election.

Washington Secretary of State


Initiative 594 - Passed. This initiative will require background checks for all gun sales, including private sales and gun shows.

Initiative 591 - Failed. It would have limited background checks in Washington.

Initiative 1351 - Still too close to call. If it passes it will limit class sizes in Washington.

Dan Newhouse leads Clint Didier in the 4th District Congressional Race.

National GOP Group Drops $500K Into Idaho Governor's Race

Oct 27, 2014
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

New campaign finance reports showed a national Republican group has spent more than $500,000 trying to re-elect Gov. Butch Otter in Idaho.

Much of that money has gone to television ads. The spending suggests the Republican governor faces a tougher than expected challenge this year from his wealthy Democratic opponent.

Democrat A.J. Balukoff has been running as a centrist businessman focused on education who backed Mitt Romney for president. It's an image the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association seeks to shatter in its just unveiled political ad.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington's law legalizing recreational marijuana made its way into Idaho's gubernatorial debate on Friday. Idaho has not legalized pot in any form, unlike most of its neighbors. The candidates were asked if they'd be willing to change that.

Emilie Ritter-Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A judge ruled Tuesday that Barry Peterson is not the chairman of Idaho’s Republican Party and that there is no chair. Last month’s contentious state GOP convention ended without finishing any of its business including electing a new chair. Peterson maintained that meant he was still in charge. Now that the court has ruled otherwise Adam Cotterell looks at what comes next.

GOP Incumbents Fend Off Far-Right Challengers In Idaho

May 21, 2014
Photo courtesy Russ Fulcher

Idaho's top Republican incumbents survived challenges from their more-conservative opponents last night. Governor Butch Otter won his party's gubernatorial nomination by a little over 50 percent of the vote. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

Eliminate a tax on business, build a new mental health facility for prisoners, start a state run health insurance exchange: all things Governor Butch Otter said he wanted to do in his annual State of the State address Monday. But as Adam Cotterell reports, Otter says one thing trumps them all.

Photo courtesy U.S. Congress

Idaho Governor Butch Otter underscored his commitment Monday to keeping more spent nuclear waste from entering Idaho. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.