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Eye On Boise

Big news out of federal court in Idaho today: Ag-gag law unconstitutional; state must pay $223K more in gay marriage case

Big news out of the federal courts in Idaho today: A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional Idaho’s “ag-gag” law, which outlawed surreptitious videotaping at agricultural operations, as a violation of the First Amendment. It’s the first court ruling on an “ag-gag” law; eight states have passed them. Idaho lawmakers acted after an animal rights group filmed cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy.

You can read the full ruling here from U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, and a full story here at

Also today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ordered the state of Idaho to pay an additional quarter-million dollars in attorney fees and costs to the four couples who successfully sued to overturn Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couples’ attorneys had sought $304,206 in fees and costs on appeal; the state objected, and the court lowered the amount to $223,191. That’s on top of the $401,662 the state already had to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys for the U.S. District Court portion of the case, before Idaho appealed it unsuccessfully to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and the $55,000 the state spent on outside attorneys in the district court portion of the case hired by Gov. Butch Otter. You can read the judge’s ruling here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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