Politics & Government

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Idaho Sends First Group Of Inmates To Colorado

Aug 21, 2012
Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Correction flew 130 prisoners to Colorado Tuesday morning in an effort to relieve crowding as Idaho’s inmate population goes up.

“We know how hard this is on the inmates’ families but the fact is we’re running out of room,” Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke says in a press release.

Idaho Republicans Hail The Romney, Ryan Ticket

Aug 13, 2012

Some of Idaho’s top Republicans are hailing Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for his Vice Presidential running mate. The announcement came Saturday. Later that day Idaho Senator Jim Risch stated his support.

The selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores Governor Romney's commitment to pull our country back from the edge of the fiscal cliff," Risch writes. "I strongly endorse Governor Romney's choice of Congressman Ryan and I look forward to victory in November.”

Congressman Raul Labrador also issued a statement of support.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In Salem, Oregon a former Army staff sergeant named Jarrid Starks has run out of the medications that keep him stable. He has severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental and physical wounds of war. But he’s currently not eligible for veterans’ health benefits that would include prescription refills. That’s because Starks was kicked out of the Army for bad behavior. He’s far from alone. 

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

More than 236,000 Idahoans are currently enrolled in Medicaid.  That’s the federal-state funded health care program for low-income adults and children.  If the state chooses to expand eligibility in Idaho to 138 percent of poverty, 100,000 people could join the rolls.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The head of Idaho’s Department of Juvenile Corrections this week issued a statement saying young people who serve time at the state’s detention facility in Nampa are safe.  Sharon Harrigfeld  felt compelled to say that after 13 employees named her in a lawsuit that details alleged problems at the center.  Allegations range from unsafe working conditions, to sex between juveniles, and even impr

IDJC Chief Releases Statement On Worker Lawsuit

Jul 31, 2012

The director of Idaho’s Department of Juvenile Corrections has released a statement on the recent lawsuit filed by 13 employees of a detention facility in Nampa. 

The employees are suing the state, as well as department director Sharon Harrigfeld and the superintendent of the Nampa facility, Betty Grimm.  The workers have accused administrators of ignoring their requests to make the center safer.  Employees say sexual assaults have been ignored, juveniles have too much contraband, staff members are inept, and that the higher-ups have played golf on state time. 

Katy Moelller / Idaho Statesman

A billboard in Caldwell, Idaho is getting attention all over the country. It shows a photo of Colorado shooter James Holmes with the words “Kills 12 in movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out.” Next to Holme's picture, is one of President Barack Obama. With his photo - the words “Kills thousands with his foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”

Thirteen employees of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections are now suing the state over conditions at a juvenile detention center in Nampa. 

Seven employees filed the initial lawsuit against the state last week.  A revised lawsuit filed Wednesday added six more plaintiffs.

Sandy Clemons

A lawsuit in north Idaho over anonymous comments posted in an online forum attracted national attention. Now, the commenter at the center of that dispute has unmasked herself. The case reveals a rift within the north Idaho Republican Party.

Both Presidential Campaigns Bound For Idaho

Jul 23, 2012

The Obama campaign holds a fundraiser in Idaho early next month.  And so will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Democrats will send Vice President Joe Biden to Ketchum on August 2nd.  He’ll hold a $250-per person fundraiser.  The campaign says anyone donating between $10,000 and $50,000 will be named a dinner co-host.  Biden’s appearance was first reported by The Spokesman Review.

Idaho’s Second District Candidates Take In Big Money

Jul 17, 2012

New numbers are out for campaign fundraising in Idaho’s congressional races. The candidates have reported what they’ve taken in as of the end of June.

In the First District, incumbent Republican Raul Labrador has raised almost 15 times as much as his Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris. That’s $551,568 compared to $37,388.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has created two groups to study Idaho’s health care options under the federal Affordable Care Act.

As some Republican governor’s across the U.S. are rejecting key components of President Obama’s health care law, Gov. Otter has said Idaho’s best bet is to carefully examine expanding Medicaid and creating a health insurance exchange.

Idaho Could Save Money By Expanding Medicaid

Jul 13, 2012
Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter

Courtesy Will Cavanauagh

Last week, Boise resident Will Cavanaugh, 77, found an email in his inbox.  It was from left-leaning political action group MoveOn.org.  Would he like to write a petition about anything?  “Sure,” he thought.  Healthcare was on his mind, given the recent Supreme Court ruling.  “How about the Medicaid expansion?”

Idaho’s never-lived-in governor’s mansion will cost the state about $180,000 to maintain from now until next July.

The state has justified that cost by saying the mansion is frequently used by government departments and the first family.  So, we wanted to know just how often it’s used, and how much rent it brings in on a yearly basis.