In brief: Closed-primary bill goes to Otter’s desk
BOISE – Idaho Republicans’ bid to close their primary election to all but registered party members got back on track Wednesday, hurtling through both the House and Senate.
Early in the morning, a new version of the bill was introduced with just one small change, specifying that the party, not its chairman, would declare whether each primary election would be open to non-members.
The new bill, HB 351, then passed the House on a 51-16 vote and the Senate on a party-line, 28-7 vote at 6 p.m. It now heads to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk.
The measure would force Idahoans to declare their party affiliation for the first time in state history.
More partnerships recognized under law
OLYMPIA – Domestic partnerships from other states will be recognized in Washington, and same-sex couples who are married in other states will have the rights of domestic partners under a bill signed Tuesday.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed House Bill 1649, which supporters said merely extends the domestic partnership rights voters have already approved. Opponents said it was a step toward gay marriage. The law takes effect this summer.
Fugitive is returned to Montana prison
BUTTE – A man who was shot and injured by an Idaho State Police officer in February has been returned to the Montana State Prison and could face charges for walking away from a Helena prerelease center in October.
Mark Maykopet had been charged with battery, eluding a police officer and being a fugitive after a traffic stop in North Idaho that led to the shooting death of Maykopet’s common-law wife, 40-year-old Christie Little, of Butte.
Kootenai County officials told the Montana Standard on Monday that the Idaho charges against Maykopet were dropped because more time was needed to investigate the Feb. 7 shooting. The charges could be refiled. A prison spokeswoman said Maykopet was returned March 28.
With K-9’s assistance, police arrest three
A Spokane police dog helped his handler arrest three burglary suspects late Monday, his fourth catch in three days.
Arlyanne M. Ellicott, 21, fought with K-9 Maximus before Officer Paul Gorman arrested her on suspicion of burglary in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street, police said Wednesday.
Gorman and Officer Michael Russo were responding to a report of a burglary in progress at 11:13 p.m. Ellicott fled the home and tried to scale a 6-foot fence before Maximus caught up with her, police said.
The dog found suspect Bryant T. Graham, 38, hiding in the basement, then on a second trip found Harry D. Lashbrook, 47, hiding in the attic.
Ellicott, Graham and Lashbrook were booked into the Spokane County Jail on charges of residential burglary and first-degree malicious mischief, where they remain on $10,000 bond.
On Saturday, Maximus tracked a domestic violence suspect for two blocks, leading to the man’s arrest.