The first payouts from a historic class-action suit against the federal government will be sent to American Indians within the week. The settlement will be split by 500,000 American Indians, including many in the Northwest.
Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell sued the federal government 16 years ago. As treasurer of the Blackfoot Tribe in Montana, she discovered the government had mismanaged individual Indian land held in trust. A settlement was reached in 2009, but a two-year appeals process held up disbursements. Cobell died during that time.
The Republican governor’s office distributed that news late this afternoon in a release that criticizes Obamacare, but says the state must assert its “commitment to self-determination” and fulfill its “responsibility to the rule of law.”
The decision is subject to the Idaho Legislature’s approval.
Idaho has until the end of the week to decide whether or not to build its own health insurance exchange. But some northwest states are already well on their way toward creating such an online marketplace.
Almost half of the legislators in Idaho work in agriculture or business when they’re not making policy in Boise.
Over the last month, StateImpact Idaho has collected basic demographic information on the 2013 Idaho Legislature. Some of the information we gathered came directly from lawmakers. Some of it was gathered from Project Vote Smart, the Idaho Legislature, or Nexis.
Excerpted from the Idaho Statesman's photo caption: "Byron Johnson pitched for Boise High School, once striking out future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. At Harvard, where he earned undergraduate and law degrees, he also made the varsity team."
Sunday we learned that former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson passed away after a battle with cancer.
He was a lawyer and a political mover and shaker. But in his heart, Byron Johnson was a poet. “I think that poetry is a vehicle that I have used to deal with feelings I have that are hard to resolve,” he once said.
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and prominent state legislators have lined up behind the idea of eliminating or scaling back Idaho’s personal property tax. The issue was high on the agenda as local government leaders came together at an Association of Idaho Cities meeting on Friday.
At this time last year, StateImpact Idaho began a series called “Jobless in Idaho.” Through those interviews we met Kelly Barker, a single mom from Meridian who was struggling to find work after losing her job as an office administrator in early 2011.
The Northwest’s declining salmon runs have spurred marathon legal battles and inspired billions in spending to save the iconic species.
But Idaho’s coho salmon were never listed as endangered before they went extinct in 1987. Few people noticed when the fish were gone. But the Nez Perce Indian tribe did. And thanks to its extraordinary efforts, coho are once again returning by the thousands to Idaho waters.
New numbers out this week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show Hispanic students in Idaho making big improvements in reading. The NAEP from The U.S. Department of Education is known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” Its periodic assessments look at how students are doing on standardized tests in various subjects. The most recent report looks at reading vocabulary scores of fourth and eighth graders in 2011.
This week we’ve been following a new lawsuit that alleges Idaho is not meeting its constitutional duty to adequately fund schools. Also this week Governor Butch Otter turned heads when he was asked if the state was living up to the constitution in that area.
“I would say probably not, but we’re doing the best job that we can,” Otter responded.
It’s been more than four months since the last confirmed piece of Japanese tsunami debris washed ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast. Even sightings of suspected disaster debris have tapered way off in recent months. Does that mean we’re just in a lull or past the worst of it?
Here's Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the coast:
After three terms in the speaker’s chair, Representative Lawerence Denney lost the top House spot in the Idaho Legislature Wednesday night. Representative Scott Bedke of Oakley was elected Speaker of the House during a secret vote at a dinner at a Boise country club.
Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey has been following the ongoing rivalry between these two lawmakers. He says several issues led to Denney losing support from his Republican colleagues.
A group of parents filed a lawsuit in October over fees in Idaho schools. They say charging fees for classes like science or art violates the state constitution. But to take on the state to change the education system they needed the right lawyer. They found Robert Huntley.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter spent Wednesday afternoon discussing the coming legislative session at a meeting of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho. Otter told the crowd lawmakers would revisit the education laws voters rejected last month. That’s despite the fact that Propositions 1, 2, and 3 were defeated by wide margins.
“I do believe that we will see parts of Proposition 1, the management plan, proposition 2, the pay for performance, and proposition 3, the high tech,” Otter said. “I think you’ll see parts and pieces of all of those come back at us.”
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is adding his voice to other Republicans on the chance that UN Ambassador Susan Rice could be nominated for U.S. Secretary of State. “I do not believe she would be a good choice.”
We first heard from Russel Joki two months ago when he and a group of parents filed a lawsuit against the state and its school districts. Joki says the genesis of the suit came when he registered his grandson at Meridian High School.
“He was charged fees to take a chemistry class, to take a sports medicine class,” he recalls. “He was charged fees to enroll in art classes.”