Idaho Senate's Gas Tax Plan Is A No-Go In House

Apr 8, 2015

The ping-pong of transportation plans between the Idaho House and Senate promises to make this a long week at the Capitol.

Symic / Flickr

Idaho lawmakers this Monday passed a bill to allow parents to treat epileptic children with an oil extracted from cannabis. Idaho’s House approved it 39 to 30 after more than an hour of intense debate.

Opponents argued the bill legalizes marijuana. The oil has small amounts of the chemical that makes pot users high. Iona Republican Thomas Loertscher said the bill was not about legalizing drug use but about easing children’s suffering.

“This is whether we want to measure what we do here with compassion, or whether we do what we do out of fear,” Loertscher says.

Idaho Governor Signs Bill To Boost Teacher Pay

Apr 2, 2015

Idaho teachers could start seeing raises as soon as next fall after Governor Butch Otter signed a pay plan known as the “career ladder” into law Thursday.

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Friday morning, a group of Idaho senators will consider a bill to allow parents of children with severe epilepsy to access a treatment derived from cannabis. Idaho does not allow medical marijuana, but the oil has almost none of the chemical that makes pot users high.

A bill that would establish an expectation for Idaho schools to intervene when a kid is bullied is headed to the Idaho House floor.

Idaho lawmakers unhappy with the legalization of gay marriage in the state are calling on Congress to do something about “activist judges.”

The Idaho legislature approved a resolution Friday on genetically engineered food.

Idaho Legislature

An Idaho Senate committee Friday morning will consider a bill that seeks to allow parents of children with severe epilepsy to access an oil derived from cannabis. Several states that don’t allow medical marijuana have made exceptions for the treatment.

A panel in the Idaho Senate introduced a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour -- a $2 per hour increase -- by next year. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers will introduce a bill Wednesday that will allow people to use some oils extracted from cannabis plants. Idaho currently does not allow any form of medical marijuana. But other states without medical pot have passed exemptions similar to this new bill.

Idaho Lawmaker Wants National System For GMO Labels

Feb 24, 2015

An Idaho lawmaker and farmer said the state should press the federal government to establish a national labeling system for genetically engineered foods -- before states create their own.

Washington, Oregon and Idaho are trying to figure out how to keep their state driver’s licenses from becoming obsolete in the eyes of the federal government.

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Idaho parents who don’t want their child to have to pass the state’s standardized test for graduation would be able to opt-out under a bill in the state Senate.

Students would instead be allowed to go through an alternative assessment developed by districts.

Republican Senator Steven Thayne is sponsoring the bill.

“There are some parents that are very concerned by more and more testing. And one reason we’re bringing this bill forward is we’re trying to give a voice to those parents who have concerns,” Thayne said.

According to the Idaho Supreme Court, an apparent error in Idaho’s legal code could make certain highway speed limits unenforceable.

A bill headed to the Idaho House would allow friends and family members of opioid drug users to obtain medication to counteract overdoses.

On Monday, a panel of Idaho lawmakers said the time has come to boost the gas tax to fix roads and bridges that are in disrepair. Father and son truckers Cliff and Rusty Irish have seen the problem first hand.

A new bill under consideration in the Idaho legislature would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in the state without a permit.

Welcome to the second installment of the “How Do You Say That?” series. We started with Washington and a list of the state’s most confusing town names—the ones even Washingtonians sometimes say wrong. Next up is Idaho.

Pend Oreille

Probably one of the hardest Idaho names to say if you’re not already familiar with it is Pend Oreille. If it makes you feel any better, it’s a French name. PAWN-doh-RAY.


Idaho Parks and Recreation Department director David Langhorst is asking for approval to raise money for state parks through corporate sponsorships.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Starting salary for Idaho teachers is lower than in Washington, Oregon, and three other surrounding states. Superintendents in Idaho border towns say that’s left them with shortages. Idaho lawmakers in both parties want to raise teacher salaries during the legislative session.

Boise State University

An annual accounting of Idaho government payroll shows the state last year paid $1.47 billion in salaries, taxes, healthcare and insurance costs.

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.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Idaho’s annual legislative session starts next week, but some lawmakers are already at work. Each year, just before the session, a group of lawmakers meets to try and get an idea of what Idaho’s economy will be like in the coming year. They use what they hear to inform their budgeting decisions.

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Leaders of a marijuana advocacy group launched in Idaho two weeks ago say they have already attracted more than 200 volunteers. New Approach Idaho wants to put a ballot measure before Idaho voters in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana. The group was formed, in part, by members of similar groups who have failed in their legalization efforts. New Approach Idaho co-founder Bill Esbensen says others have struggled with organization.

AP Images

Idaho and Oregon have the highest share of unauthorized immigrants who will benefit from President Obama’s recent executive action. That’s according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

46 percent of Idaho’s and 43 percent of Oregon’s undocumented immigrants are newly eligible for deportation protection. The program Obama announced last month extends protection to people who have been in the country for more than five years and have children born in the U.S. D’Vera Cohn from the Pew Research Center says that describes many of Oregon’s 120,000 unauthorized immigrants.

Idaho A Medical Destination For Canadian Boomers

Dec 1, 2014
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A hospital in North Idaho is marketing itself to Canadian tourists -- medical tourists, that is.

Most of the patients who come into Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho, are from the local area -- plus a few from Washington and Montana.

Boise Interfaith Sanctuary. /

There were more than 12,000 homeless children in Idaho last year, according to a recent report from the National Center on Family Homelessness. That puts Idaho in the middle of the pack compared to other states. The report is critical of Idaho’s policies that deal with child homelessness, ranking it 45th among states on policy and planning.

US CPSC / Flickr

Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare said more calls are coming about bright and colorful laundry detergent packets this year, compared to last.

So far this year, 69 Idaho children have been exposed to the packets.  Forty of those went to the emergency room and five ended up in the hospital.

Niki Forbing-Orr is with the health department. She said there’s been a 30 percent increase in calls about the packets in Idaho this year.

Public Domain / Wikicommons


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.