Idaho Reports Archive

2012

April 6, 2012: "Week 13: A Look Back at the Big Issues" Two brave lawmakers face the pundits for a look back at their best and worst moments, and we explore both sides of the contentious abortion debate and other session highlights.

March 30, 2012: "Week Twelve: Sine Die" The session ended on party line votes as Senate Republicans passed a tax cut for the state's top income earners as well as a slate of ethics rules the minority party hadn't seen in advance and didn't agree with after they did. All in all, after 81 days, Gov. Butch Otter got much of what he wanted.

March 23, 2012: "Week Eleven: Abortion and Ethics" The conservative Idaho House Republican caucus shocked political observers when it agreed to table - for now - a bill requiring ultrasounds before every abortion. Less surprising, the decision of a Senate ethics committee on a potential conflict of interest. Also, lobbyists react to the 2012 session so far, and we examine how conflicts of interest work in a citizen legislature.

March 16, 2012: "Week Ten: Teacher Pay Emerges as a 'Going Home' Issue" House Education chair Rep. Bob Nonini puts the brakes on a Senate bill halting future teacher pay cuts. Also, a heated hearing on new abortion rules. A new Senate ethics investigation. More debates over local control. And a growing feeling in the Statehouse that maybe a March 23rd close was a bit optimistic. We break down the end game.

March 9, 2012: "Week Nine: Beginning of the End?" The last budget has been written, and the coming political races have been set: that usually means the Legislature is about two weeks from adjournment. We ask top GOP and Democratic leaders how close we are to the finish. Plus, our pundits take a look this year's elections and the likely changes to next year's Legislature.

March 2, 2012: "Week Eight: Retirement Season" Redistricting and the election filing deadline motivate a wave of retirement announcments. Retirees Rep. Dennis Lake (R-Blackfoot) and Rep. Wendy Jaquet (D-Ketchum) reminisce about how the Statehouse has changed. Plus, reporter Aaron Kunz looks at energy issues, and we get philosophical on the Occupy movement.

February 24, 2012: "Week 7: Ethics and State Employee Pay Dominate the Week" In a week that saw the surprise resignation of one senator, two lawmakers discuss how Idaho may change its ethics rules. Plus, the debate over state employee pay and a look at state economic development.

February 17, 2012: "Week 6: JFAC Sets a Budget Target" Two key committee chairs talk about the needs competing for state dollars, and our pundits handicap which will come out on top. Plus, the start of tax debates and a primer on a much-changed primary system.

February 10, 2012: "Week 5: Students, state parks and the pundits' outlook for the primary" We take a close look at a bill designed to allow students to take college courses while still in high school, and another to increase funding for state parks.

February 3, 2012: "Week Four: Jobs, jobs, jobs - and the impact of budget cuts" Advocates and opponents of gas drilling in Idaho have competing ideas about how Idaho can boost its economy. Also, JFAC hears testimony on the impact of the recent years of budget cuts, and our pundits react to the death of Micron CEO Steve Appleton.

January 27, 2012: "Week Three: Interview with the Gov; Higher Ed Week at the Capitol" It doesn't look good for an Idaho-built health insurance exchange, but the governor hopes his other priorities can survive. Gov. Otter shares his thoughts on the legislative session with Greg Hahn. Plus, Idaho's university presidents talk about how to keep college affordable and effective, while our pundits take on the redistricting fight.

January 20, 2012: "Week Two: Health exchanges, Redistricting, and a Camping ban" It didn't take long for things to heat up at the Statehouse. Host Greg Hahn addresses the debate over a state health insurance exchange with some key lobbyists, explores the Idaho economy with a Boise businessman, explains a court decision on redistricting, and discusses drilling rules, Medicaid cuts and Occupy Boise with the pundits.

January 13, 2012: "Week One: Opening Moves" Gov. Butch Otter made his pitch, and the Democrats pointed out where they saw flaws. Now, as the 2012 session gets underway, majority Republicans will begin looking over Otter's plans for more tax breaks, new incentives for university research and business development, and more. Lawmakers Sen. Ken Roberts, Sen. Tim Corder, and Rep. Grant Burgoyne guest. Political analyst Jim Weatherby and reporters Betsy Russell, Jessie Bonner, and Bill Roberts provide context.

April 29, 2011: "Idaho Schools Supt. Luna defends 'Students Come First'" Supt. Tom Luna maps out the challenging path ahead for implementing his new school reform laws. The State Board of Education and local school boards must put the laws into effect while navigating ballot efforts and a lawsuit aimed at overturning those laws. Also: Gov. Otter sends mixed signals by signing the wolf emergency bill but vetoing the healthcare nullification bill.

April 22, 2011: "Redistricting: 'The Most Pure Form of Political Blood Sport'" Idaho currently has 35 legislative districts, clustered around the state's cities and dispersed over vast swaths of land with some of the nation's lowest population density. During the 2011 redistricting process, the lines of many districts will change. Greg Hahn and guests reminisce about past redistricting fights and look ahead to see how new district lines may shape future legislative races and the careers of incumbent lawmakers.

April 22, 2011: "Web Extra: Redistricting 101: E. Idaho and Treasure Valley" Over the last 10 years, Idaho had the 4th largest percentage of population growth in the U.S., much of it in the Treasure Valley. Boise State University professor Dr. Gary Moncrief, former Speaker Bruce Newcomb, and 2001 Redistricting Commissioner Tom Stuart discuss which districts and lawmakers could be affected by the decade's population growth during this year's redistricting process.

April 22, 2011: "Web Extra: Redistricting 102: N. Idaho and the Magic Valley" Reporter Betsy Russell (Spokesman-Review), former statehouse reporter Ken Miller, and political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby discuss which districts in north Idaho and the Magic Valley have grown and shrunk. They predict which districts and lawmakers will be affected by these population shifts during the 2011 redistricting process.

April 15, 2011: "After the Session (1): Otter: "It was a good legislative session"" A number of Idaho papers and pundits said it was the worst legislative session in history. In his review of the 2011 session, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter begged to disagree. Also: Reporters Steve Crump (Twin Falls Times-News) and Corey Taule (Idaho Falls Post Register) provide a southern and eastern Idaho perspective on an updated "Right to Farm" law, bills affecting wind farms, and guns on campus.

April 8, 2011: "Week 13: 2011 Legislature Says Sine Die" Historic public participation and testimony before committees, wrenching Medicaid cuts, no tax increases, the GOP's new closed primary, and Supt. Tom Luna's far-reaching education reform were the issues with the most significant impact in 2011. Statehouse reporters Betsy Russell, John Miller and Kevin Richert and political analyst Jim Weatherby look back on a legislative session Senate GOP leader Bart Davis characterized as being full of struggle.

April 8, 2011: "Week 13 Web Extra: What Didn't Get Done in the 2011 Session?" Host Greg Hahn and our panel of pundits detail the issues that got voted down or refused a hearing. Tax hikes, or anything smelling like a tax hike (capturing tax from online sales, evaluating exemptions) were off the table. Also: no guns on campus, no major changes to urban renewal, no ban on texting while driving, and no inclusion of gays under anti-discrimination law.

April 1, 2011: "Week 12: A "Slowdown Showdown" at the Idaho Statehouse" As Republicans try to wrap up the session, Democrats begin using procedural moves to slow down the pace and make a statement about GOP unwillingness to consider alternatives to budget cuts. In retaliation, GOP lawmakers vote down bills to help special needs kids and promote adoption. Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill guest.

April 1, 2011: "Week 12 Web Extra: Redistricting, Medical Marijuana and Limericks" Reporter Vickie Holbrook (Idaho Press-Tribune) discusses the growing power of Canyon County after redistricting. In lieu of an ugly tie, Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Russell offers several "lame limericks." Dr. Jim Weatherby comments on a hearing held about medical marijuana and the absence of a hearing on raising the cigarette tax.

April 1, 2011: "Web Extra: Idaho GOP Leaders Say Recession a Wakeup Call" Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill say lawmakers are as conservative as they've ever been, even with new Tea Party members in their ranks. They acknowledge that the urgency to curb government may wane as the economy improves, but the resolve will remain. And they predict the session will likely go another week.

March 25, 2011: "Week 11: Interview with Gov. Otter" Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says K-12 education reform is necessary, he's happy with the direction it's taken so far, and disputes the charge that reform is just a cover for busting the teachers union. In this extensive interview, he also discusses Medicaid budget cuts, his jobs initiative, wolf management, and more.

March 25, 2011: "Week 11 Web Extra: Ed reform, Party-line votes, and Internet filters" Reporter Betsy Russell (Spokesman Review) and political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby discuss bills tweaking provisions of the just-passed education reform legislation, the increase in party-line voting in both houses, and the attempt to mandate internet filtering on library computers.

March 25, 2011: "Web Extra: Otter Says Guns on Campus Idea Needs More Deliberation" Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says that while "right to carry" areas on college campuses could be enlarged, college presidents need to be able to ensure the safety of not just their enrolled students, but also any visitors to their campuses, especially younger K-12 students.

March 18, 2011: "Week 10: Nearing the Final Stretch" After ten weeks, lawmakers may have their first glimmer of the session's end-game. Bills are finally moving that could dictate just how deep lawmakers are willing to cut the state's two biggest budgets: health and welfare and public schools. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee maps out the path to Sine Die. Also: Members of the minority party reflect on the session so far and outline future Democratic strategy for dealing with the potential fallout over budget cuts.

March 18, 2011: "Week 10 Web Extra: Abortion, Hunting Restrictions Proposed" Political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby and reporter Betsy Russell (Spokesman-Review) discuss the possibility of guns on college campuses and legislation that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. John Miller (Associated Press) explains new hunting restrictions proposed by Rep. Mike Moyle.

March 18, 2011: "Utility, Residents Urge Slowdown on Wind Energy" Governor Butch Otter has touted Idaho's fast-growing wind energy industry as an economic and environmental boon for Idaho's future. But some Eastern Idaho residents - and Idaho Power officials - are asking the Legislature to say 'slow down.' A NORTHWEST NATURE DESK report by Aaron Kunz.

March 11, 2011: "Week 9: A Day in the Life of a Freshman Legislator" Three freshman legislators reflect on their experiences during their first session at the Capitol. Senator Mitch Toryanski (R-Boise), Senator Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) and Representative Christy Perry (R-Nampa) offer insights about the workload, the information, the pace, and the emotion they've encountered as novice lawmakers so far.

March 11, 2011: "Week 9 Web Extra: Referendum vs. Recall on Ed Reforms" Political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby explains why a referendum on the education reform legislation would be more reasonable than recalling Superintendent Luna. Reporters Betsy Russell (Spokesman-Review) and Kevin Richert (Idaho Statesman) discuss legislation that would allow guns on college campuses.

March 4, 2011: "Week 8: Classroom Pieces of Ed Reform Plan on Hold" Hundreds of Idaho high school students walked out on their classes to protest Supt. Tom Luna's "Students Come First" reforms. While the teacher pay and contracts pieces of Luna's plan continued their march toward final passage in the House, the bill proposing controversial technology, curriculum and staffing changes remains on hold in the Senate. Senate Education chair John Goedde guests.

March 4, 2011: "Week 8 Web Extra: Students Protest School Reform" Reporters Betsy Russell (Spokesman-Review) and Corey Taule (Post Register), along with political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby, discuss how state-wide student protests have affected the progress of Superintendent Tom Luna's schools reform legislation.

February 25, 2011: "Week Seven: War Between Republicans and Public Employees" Key parts of Supt. Tom Luna's school reform package - on teacher pay and bargaining rights - are on their way to becoming law after passing the Senate this week. Host Greg Hahn and guests look at Idaho's moves against teachers' contract rights in the context of larger efforts around the country to undermine public employee unions.

February 18, 2011: "Week Six: JFAC Sets a Low Budget Target" Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee members Sen. Shawn Keough and Rep. Fred Wood explain the committee's budget target, set Friday, which will result in an additional $57 million in cuts beyond those recommended by Gov. Otter. Also: The Idaho Freedom Foundation rallies against new taxes, and emotions run high after vandalism and verbal threats early in the week.

February 18, 2011: "Web Extra: Supt. Luna vs. the Teachers' Union" Reporters Betsy Russell (Spokesman-Review), Jessie Bonner (Associated Press), Clark Corbin (Post Register), and political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby discuss the conflict between Superintendent Luna and the teachers' union, as well as several bills on urban renewal.

February 11, 2011: "Week Five: The Public Weighs In on Ed Reform" This week the Senate Education Committee heard hundreds of people testify on Superintendent Tom Luna's plan to reform public schools. Senators Nicole LeFavour and Russ Fulcher discuss the next steps for education reform. Also, Dr. Stephanie Witt from Boise State University shares the results of Idaho's 20th Annual Public Policy Survey.

February 11, 2011: "Web Extra: Senate Ed Hearings Dissected" Greg Hahn and panelists - Betsy Russell, Dr. Jim Weatherby, and Kevin Richert - chew over the hearings on education reform that drew hundreds from all over the state.

February 4, 2011: "Week Four: A New, Larger Budget Shortfall" Lawmakers have been trying to make sense of this week's newly estimated budget shortfall of $137 million. Sen. Chuck Winder, Rep. Wendy Jaquet and Rep. Scott Bedke guest. Also: ethics charges against Rep. Phil Hart are dismissed.

February 4, 2011: "Web Extra: Liquor Sales and Medicaid Cuts" Dr. David Adler (Univ. of Idaho) and Anne Allen (Idaho Business Review) join Betsy Russell and Dr. Jim Weatherby to discuss privatizing liqour sales as well as proposed cuts to Medicaid.

January 28, 2011: "Week Three: Higher Ed Presidents Make Their Case" Idaho's university presidents were in Boise this week to talk to a Legislature that has been making higher education less and less of a priority. Also: the public speaks to JFAC about the Health and Welfare budget; the governor announces that Idaho's budget deficit may be five times larger than originally predicted; and GOP members of the House State Affairs Committee voted to print a bill that would nullify federal health reform.

January 21, 2011: "Week Two: Looming Medicaid Cuts" House Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche and Health and Welfare chairs Rep. Janice McGeachin and Sen. Patti Anne Lodge discuss major cuts facing the Medicaid budget. Journalists Betsy Russell and Kevin Richert and commentators Jim Weatherby and David Adler chew over education reform and the appointment of Sen. Robert Geddes as the new chair of the Tax Commission.

January 14, 2011: "Week One: The Governor's Budget Magic" Gov. Otter revealed his FY 2012 budget, and lawmakers collectively exhaled as the expected fiscal bloodbath was hard to find. Budget chairs Rep. Maxine Bell and Sen. Dean Cameron, reporters Betsy Russell and Dan Popkey, and commentators Dr. Jim Weatherby and Marc Johnson look back at the opening week of the 2011 legislative session.

January 14, 2011: "Web Extra: Supt. Luna Proposes Radical Ed Changes" Reporters Dan Popkey and Betsy Russell, and commentators Dr. Jim Weatherby and Marc Johnson analyze Superintendent Luna's education reform proposals.

January 9, 2012: 2012 State of the State/State of the Budget: Even though there are surplus funds in the state's coffers for the first time in four years, there's little growth in Gov. Otter's proposed budget - nor much desire for future growth. In his annual address to lawmakers, Gov. Butch Otter lays out his plans for the coming year - with an emphasis on education, jobs and the economy. Afterwards, Idaho budget chief Wayne Hammon, and journalists Kevin Richert (Idaho Statesman) and Vickie Holbrook (Idaho Press-Tribune) analyze the Governor's speech. Read the text (PDF).

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Prior State of the State Addresses

2011 State of the State/State of the Budget (January 10, 2011): In his annual address to state lawmakers, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter continued to urge fiscal restraint and no new taxes, admonished the federal government for a rash of ills, from wolf management to health care reform, and called for individuals, families and communities to solve problems in place of government programs. Read the text (PDF).

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2010 State of the State/State of the Budget (January 11, 2010): In his annual address to state lawmakers, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter reiterated his belief in limited government and urged lawmakers to cut state spending by $40 million to balance Idaho's budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. For the first time, public education faces a mid-year funding cut. Otter is also recommending the removal of the Dept. of Parks & Recreation share of the state's general fund and gradually eliminating other departments by 2014, including: the Human Rights Commission, Developmental Disabilities Council, Digital Learning Academy, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council, Hispanic Commission, Independent Living Council and Idaho Public Television. Read the text (PDF).

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2009 State of the State/State of the Budget (January 12, 2009): Gov. Otter asked the Legislature to approve cuts in nearly every sector of state government. His suggested holdbacks range from 5% for public education and 7.5% for Health & Welfare to nearly 56% for Parks and Recreation. The governor also laid out his plans for generating transportation revenue, including increases in the fuel tax rate, rental car excise taxes, and vehicle registration fees. Read the text (PDF).

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2008 State of the State/State of the Budget (January 7, 2008): Invoking former President Reagan's vision of a "Creative Society," Gov. Butch Otter's blueprint for state government emphasized a variety of education, prevention, and rehabilitation initiatives designed to help individuals make the most of their creative potential and their lives. He also expressed support for local option taxing authority to help pay for roads and bridges, while saying nothing about Supt. Tom Luna's merit-based pay proposal for teachers. Read the text.

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2007 State of the State/State of the Budget (January 8, 2007): Governor Otter delivered a modest but upbeat State of the State and State of the Budget speech to the Legislature Monday. After noting the still-booming Idaho economy, he cautioned, "I am recommending that we neither significantly expand existing programs nor add any major new initiatives that would require a continuing revenue flow."

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Prior Inauguration

Gov. Otter's 2011 Inauguration (January 7, 2011): On a brisk January afternoon, Idaho's constitutional officers — Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Controller Donna Jones, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and Treasurer Ron Crane — took their respective oaths of office on the steps of the state Capitol building. Following the oaths, Gov. Otter gave a short inaugural address.

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Gov. Otter's 2007 Inauguration (January 5, 2007)

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