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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Women shut out of Idaho judge selection

BOISE – It seems that women need not apply to the federal district court bench in Idaho. A secretive selection process that Idaho’s two senators have launched to find a replacement for U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge appears to be ignoring female candidates.

Eye on Boise: Lawmakers want no credit for representative’s editorial

A brouhaha over the child support enforcement bill killed on the final day of this year’s Idaho legislative session is dividing the House GOP. First, Former Rep. Cindy Agidius, communications director of the House Majority Caucus, emailed an editorial by Rep. Lynn Luker “regarding the concerns surrounding” Senate Bill 1067 – the child support enforcement bill.

Eye on Boise: ‘Instant racing’ terminals concern some lawmakers

Idaho legislative leaders say they’re concerned about the slot machine-like “instant racing” terminals that are cropping up around the state, including at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls. The machines were authorized under a 2013 law aimed at allowing pari-mutuel betting on past horse races. “I think the extent of it maybe is a surprise, how fast it’s growing, and exactly what they’re doing,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. “The machines have been upgraded a lot since what we saw.”

Eye on Boise: Legislators hope for resolution on broadband network

State lawmakers are growing concerned about the broadband network that serves high schools across the state, after a judge Nov. 10 voided a $60 million contract for the Idaho Education Network, ruling it was issued illegally. “At the end of the day, this is an important thing,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “We need to get a new contract as quickly as possible and keep the service up and going during the school year. You have school districts that are dependent on this service, they’re in the middle of a term, and … the less disruption the better here, on our way to a new contract that addresses the issues that have been raised.”

Eye on Boise: Politics hinder wildfire funding bill

A year ago, Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, along with Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, gathered at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise to push the federal government to tap disaster funds when firefighting costs balloon above allocated amounts. Their goal is to stop cutting into fire-prevention and forest management programs that could prevent future fires. Their bipartisan legislation had been picking up support in both houses – Idaho GOP Rep. Mike Simpson is among the House sponsors, along with Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon – but paradoxically suffered a setback earlier this year after President Barack Obama not only endorsed it but included it in his budget.

Wood stove maker opposes stricter pollution limits

RATHDRUM – Proposed federal regulations that would require new wood stoves to burn cleaner are under attack from manufacturers, who say the new pollution limits are too strict. “I’m all for clean air,” said Mark Freeman, owner of Kuma Stoves Inc. in Rathdrum. But, “just because you can make a stove that clean, should you?”

Officials seek new funding channel for fighting wildfires

With nearly 1 million acres burned by wildfires across Washington and Oregon, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is stumping for reforms in how the federal government pays for fighting fires. Strapped federal agencies are tapping fire-prevention funds to pay for spiraling suppression costs, thwarting efforts to reduce the severity of future wildfires, said Wyden, D-Ore.

Idaho senators torn on Bowe Bergdahl swap

BOISE – Idaho senators who have pushed for years for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan are in the odd position of objecting to the deal that bought Bergdahl’s freedom and joyfully welcoming his return. “He needed to be released, but not at this price,” Sen. Jim Risch said Thursday, aiming sharp criticism at the Obama administration over the release of five high-ranking Taliban officials held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in exchange for Bergdahl. “The price that was paid was too high. Those five people are people that have a lot of blood on their hands.”