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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho lawmakers approve state STEM center

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers have agreed to set up a STEM Action Center, a new state office under Gov. Butch Otter that would coordinate efforts from schools and industry to promote science, technology, engineering and math in the state. The legislation, sponsored by Coeur d’Alene Sen. Bob Nonini and House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, has passed overwhelmingly in both houses. Thursday, legislative budget writers agreed to allocate $537,000 and two full-time staffers to the new center next year.

Seven Idaho senators skip Hindu prayer

BOISE – Seven Idaho senators remained outside the state Senate chamber Tuesday morning as guest chaplain Rajan Zed delivered the chamber’s first Hindu invocation, then took their seats immediately after it was done. Three said their absences were unrelated to the prayer – they were just running late from other meetings. But three said they stayed away on purpose, and a fourth questioned why a Christian prayer wasn’t offered as well.

Instant racing ban passes Idaho Senate

BOISE – An effort to outlaw slot machine-like betting terminals being used in Post Falls and elsewhere cleared the Idaho Senate on Tuesday. The move followed emotional debate over the future of Idaho’s horse racing industry and the honesty of the machines’ proponents.

Tempers flare as repeal of ‘instant racing’ law passes to Idaho Senate

BOISE – With feelings running high over “instant racing” in Idaho, two 80-somethings nearly came to blows in a Statehouse hallway Wednesday after a Senate committee voted to repeal the law authorizing the gambling machines. And moments after the vote North Idaho senator Bob Nonini released a letter calling for an investigation into whether the Coeur d’Alene Tribe is using illegal gambling machines in its reservation casino – the biggest employer in Nonini’s district. The tribe had pushed for repeal of the law.

Shawn Vestal: Lawmakers’ fear, as seen in salamander saga, has real effects

It’s all well and good for those of us here on earth to make fun of Idaho’s lawmakers for their rejection of an eighth-grader’s request to declare the Idaho giant salamander as the state amphibian. After all, they’re probably saving that official designation – as the Gem State’s most distinctive form of cold-blooded, tiny-brained vertebrates – for themselves.

Idaho state senator wants ISP to conduct instant racing investigation

A state senator from Coeur d’Alene says he thinks the Idaho State Police is the right agency to investigate the legality of slot-like machines known as instant horse racing terminals at the Greyhound Park and Event Center, not the Post Falls Police Department. Republican Sen. Bob Nonini shared his opinion with Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh over the weekend and on Monday acknowledged he had questioned the choice of investigating agency.

In latest example of GOP split, Idaho governor backs challengers to five incumbents

BOISE – Republican legislators rejecting their party’s incumbent governor for Tuesday’s primary election now face a powerful obstacle in their re-election bids. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has endorsed candidates in 22 legislative primary races – including five challengers to current GOP incumbents, four of them from North Idaho.

Rifts in North Idaho GOP seen in primaries

Republicans in North Idaho have splintered into bitterly divided factions, and some say the cracks have to close if the region’s dominant party aims to make progress on education and job creation. “We need everybody to get together,” said Patrick Whalen, a Republican who is running against state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, in the May 20 primary. “I don’t think we can continually split the party and succeed.”

Huckleberries: Nonini-Whalen campaign trail hits nasty patch

That Facebook post by state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, didn’t stay up long – you know, the one in which he blasted opponent Pat Whalen for picking on Nonini’s wife, Cathyanne. It read: “My opponent took a cheap shot at my wife (Thursday night) at the NIC Candidate Forum – what type of person attacks a wife? Not a reputable or credible person.” At the forum, Whalen raised the fact that he had received a DUI in 2006, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press. That was a shocker. So was his subsequent comment that Cathyanne Nonini was trying to use the old DUI conviction to get Whalen dumped as chairman of the Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County.

Eye on Boise: Backup legislators set to substitute

When the Idaho Legislature convenes on Monday, it’ll have two unaccustomed faces in its midst: substitutes designated by North Idaho lawmakers to fill in for them short-term due to health concerns. Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, has designated his wife, Cathyanne Nonini, to substitute for him through Jan. 15. Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has designated North Idaho businessman John Chambers, a semi-retired executive at Ground Force Manufacturing, to fill in for him for up to two weeks.