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Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter delivers his State of the State address inside the house chambers at the state Capitol building, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger) ORG XMIT: IDOK101 (Otto Kitsinger / AP)

Eye on Boise: Otter welcomes debate over competing tax-cut bills

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 17, 2018, 4:14 p.m.

Two alternative tax-cut plans – competing with Gov. Butch Otter’s big income tax-cut proposal, which already has passed the House – were introduced in the Idaho Legislature last week, and Otter says he’s fine with that.

Rep. Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello

Idaho lawmakers agree to hear new statewide conflict-of-interest disclosure bill

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 16, 2018, 10:38 p.m.

New statewide conflict-of-interest disclosure legislation – which would require filings for all Idaho candidates and officeholders, disclosing their occupation and employer and other potential conflicts of interest, but not income – was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee on Friday with just two “no” votes.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter speaks to the Idaho Press Club in Boise on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

Murray, Otter in war of words over Idaho’s health insurance move

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 15, 2018, 7:44 p.m.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday criticized Idaho’s decision to allow the sale of health insurance plans that don’t comply with Obamacare rules as “illegal Idaho junk plans,” prompting Idaho Gov. Butch Otter to retort that Washington has sanctuary cities and recreational marijuana – also bucking federal rules.

Testimony favors new Idaho science standards

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 14, 2018, 9:55 p.m.

Testimony was 100 percent in favor of proposed new school science standards at an Idaho Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, after a House panel voted earlier to remove large portions of the new standards.
Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney grins as he responds to questions from members of the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, about campaign finance reform legislation proposed unanimously by an interim legislative committee. At left is Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst; at right is Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

Campaign finance reform bill introduced, over two North Idaho reps’ objections

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 13, 2018, 8:12 p.m.

Over the objections of two North Idaho lawmakers, campaign finance reform legislation was introduced in the Idaho Legislature on Tuesday, requiring more frequent and more detailed reporting by candidates and political action committees, to be posted online in a single, searchable database.
Rep. Eric Redman, R-Athol (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

Idaho House narrowly approves restoring non-emergency Medicaid dental benefits

A divided Idaho House narrowly passed legislation Monday to restore non-emergency dental coverage to more than 30,000 Idaho Medicaid recipients who’ve only had coverage for emergency extractions since 2011 – resulting in a jump in serious complications that have been costing the state’s Medicaid program far more.
Roger Christensen, Bonneville County commissioner and chairman of the state's Catastrophic Health Care Fund Board, describes a sharp upturn in caseloads and costs to state lawmakers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

Idaho’s catastrophic health care program sees jump in cases

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 8, 2018, 9:42 p.m.

Caseloads for Idaho’s Catastrophic Health Care Fund have taken a sharp upturn this year, and they’re expected to continue to rise as more Idahoans are priced out of health insurance or decide not to purchase it as the federal government lifts its individual mandate.
Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, listens as Idaho state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, right, addresses the House Education Committee about school science standards on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

Idaho lawmakers call for axing parts of new school science standards

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 7, 2018, 9:32 p.m.

An Idaho House committee voted 12-4 on Wednesday to strip out large sections of the state’s proposed new school science standards, including standards for teaching kids about renewable and nonrenewable energy resources and their impacts on the environment – including air pollution.