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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho redistricting commission adopts new plan

BOISE – After just two days of deliberations, Idaho’s citizen redistricting commission adopted a new legislative district plan late Friday – one that doesn’t land North Idaho Sens. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, in the same district. The earlier plan, which was overturned by the Idaho Supreme Court for dividing too many counties between districts, would have forced the two to face off if they both wanted to remain in office. Broadsword announced earlier that she’d retire from the Senate rather than seek a fifth term next year by running against Keough, a close ally and eight-term senator.

Court won’t hear redistricting appeal

BOISE – The Idaho Supreme Court stepped in Wednesday and halted two top GOP leaders’ power play over redistricting that was threatening to delay the state’s primary election. The court ruled that House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko didn’t make their case to get the court to order Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to declare two vacancies on the state’s citizen redistricting commission and allow them to appoint new commissioners.

Idaho high court overturns redistricting, may delay primary

BOISE – Idaho’s Supreme Court overturned the state’s new legislative redistricting plan Wednesday, ordering a citizen commission back to work and throwing into doubt the state’s schedule for its May primary election. This morning, a House committee will consider legislation to push the May primary back to August; the bill is sponsored by state Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee.

Hart lawyer says state law trumps feds’ lawsuit

BOISE – Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart has cited his status as a state legislator numerous times in seeking delays in his court fights over paying state and federal income taxes he owes, pointing to the state constitution’s clause protecting lawmakers from civil actions during sessions. Now he’s using it as an argument for dismissing a federal lawsuit to foreclose on his Athol home for back federal taxes. In Hart’s reply to the federal lawsuit, in which the Department of Justice is seeking to foreclose on the home to pay off more than a half-million dollars in back taxes, interest and penalties, his attorney charged that the IRS claim is “barred” because a “notice of deficiency” was sent to Hart while the Legislature was in session.

Another challenge to Idaho’s new districts filed

Seven northern Idaho counties have filed their challenge to Idaho’s new legislative redistricting plan. The challenge criticizes the bipartisan citizen panel that wrote the plan this year and calls for the previous panel, which failed to agree on a plan by its deadline, to return. However, any effort to bring back the first panel will be complicated by the fact that its co-chairman, former state Rep. Allen Andersen, of Pocatello, died last month.

Lawsuit challenges Idaho’s new legislative map

BOISE – Seven northern Idaho counties are planning a lawsuit to challenge Idaho’s new legislative redistricting plan, which already faces one legal challenge. “These northern counties want to make sure that their interests are represented, and their interests may diverge somewhat from the Twin Falls petition,” said Eagle, Idaho, attorney Christ Troupis.

Redistricting alters game in some political circles

BOISE – Idaho legislators or candidates who don’t like their new districts have just two weeks to move if they want to run elsewhere. That’s just one of the many ripples sent across Idaho politics by the state’s new legislative redistricting plan, from ending the Senate career of a four-term North Idaho lawmaker to prompting a game of political musical chairs in districts from St. Maries to Idaho Falls.

Idaho redistricting panel wraps up task

BOISE – Idaho’s bipartisan citizen redistricting commission approved new congressional district lines on Monday, wrapping up its task in less than three weeks and proving the commission process can work. “I am amazed that three Democrats and three Republicans can get along this well, and we have,” said GOP Co-chairwoman Dolores Crow, a former longtime state lawmaker from Nampa.

Eye on Boise: Redistricting whirlwind continues

BOISE – Idaho’s new citizen redistricting commission crisscrossed the state last week, holding hearings in Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Boise, all in the course of three days. “We’ve gotten some good ideas … and there are things we’ll look at,” GOP Co-Chairwoman Dolores Crow said at the close of the Boise hearing Friday. The six-member bipartisan panel will start its deliberations on Tuesday, and has scheduled all-day meetings through the rest of the month.

Eye on Boise: New redistricting panel to visit CdA

BOISE – Idaho’s new citizen redistricting commission is coming to town – the commission has scheduled a public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Coeur d’Alene City Hall. It’s one of three the new panel is holding around the state as it starts Round 2 of Idaho’s redistricting process, after an earlier bipartisan commission failed to reach agreement on new congressional and legislative district lines by its Sept. 6 deadline. That panel reached an unofficial agreement on Sept. 23.

Redistricting map by old panel invalid

BOISE – A last-ditch attempt by Idaho’s former redistricting commissioners to propose new legislative and congressional districts – nearly three weeks after their deadline – has no legal effect, state officials declared Monday, other than as a recommendation to a new commission that will convene on Wednesday. Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said he views the former commissioners’ unanimous agreement as a “positive development,” and the agenda for the new commissioners’ first meeting on Wednesday morning will be amended to include a presentation on it from the former commissioners. Still, he said, “There’s not a valid plan unless a legally constituted commission adopts the plan. ... That will be up to the new commission.”

Eye on Boise: Zions offices would complete Boise core

BOISE – It’s big news for Boise that Zions Bank is planning new headquarters at the corner of Eighth and Main streets downtown. That’s the site of the infamous Boise hole, where the historic Eastman Building stood until it burned to the ground in 1987, just as it was poised for renovation. Now, a 15-story office tower is proposed for the site, including two floors of retail and restaurants with a second-story plaza and balcony along Eighth; three floors of parking that connect to the Eastman parking garage next door; and an onsite health club.

Redistricting in Idaho historically sore subject

BOISE – Recent calls by majority Republicans in Idaho to put lawmakers back in charge of drawing new legislative districts overlook the angst, delays, multiple court battles and “poisoned” legislative sessions that resulted back then. “It consumed the legislative activity and agenda completely,” said Pam Ahrens, a former Republican state representative who served during both the 1980s and 1990s reapportionments and chaired the legislative redistricting committee in 1991-’92. “I saw the best and worst of people.”

Idaho must pick new redistricting panel

BOISE – Idaho has to appoint an entirely new redistricting commission and start the process over after the first commission blew its deadline, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa announced Monday. The reason: A 2009 law the Legislature enacted that made several changes to the redistricting commission process, including banning past commissioners from serving again, turns out to apply in this case.

Eye on Boise: Statesman editor takes helm of ‘Idaho Reports’

BOISE – Idaho Public Television announced that Greg Hahn has been hired as the new producer and host of “Idaho Reports,” the weekly program that reports on happenings in the state Legislature during its winter sessions. Hahn, who most recently was news editor for the Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise, filled in as moderator on the program last year after former host Thanh Tan left for a job with the Texas Tribune.

GOP, Ysursa ask for court review of redistricting

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has asked the Idaho Supreme Court to intervene after the state’s six-member redistricting panel failed to agree on new election maps by Tuesday’s deadline.

Panel fails to draw districts by deadline

BOISE – Idaho’s bipartisan citizen redistricting commission failed Tuesday to agree on new legislative and congressional districts by its constitutionally set deadline, forcing the issue into the courts. “I think the citizens of the state are going to be disgusted that we cannot get to a solution here when we’re down to just a handful of areas,” GOP Commissioner Lorna Finman, of Rathdrum, pleaded as the clock ticked away Tuesday. “We are so close on this map. … There needed to be a little give and take.”