News

Steve Bertel / Local News 6

Idaho’s top health official says he wants to construct new buildings for an embattled mental health facility near Nampa.

Marcia O'Connor / Flickr

The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill Monday to legalize hemp in the state. 

When President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill it became legal to produce hemp in the U.S. But  it’s a little more complicated than that.

 If states want a say in how hemp is grown within their borders, they have to make a plan.  Otherwise, the feds will do it for them.  Colorado and Utah already had some rules on the books. 

TexasEagle / Flickr

A new study finds habitat for waterbirds has been declining due to climate change. Warmer temperatures and less precipitation are leading to a reduction in habitat which, in turn, has resulted in fewer waterbirds in the Great Basin.

The study features work from Oregon State University, UC Merced, the US Geological Survey and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation. Scientists pored over a century of climate data for the Great Basin and compared it to 50 years of bird surveys beggining with the year 1968.

Idaho Power

Idaho Power has a green power initiative that allows people to purchase wind and solar energy for their homes. Now, this week’s Treefort Music Fest is getting in on the program. 

 


Les Bois, historic horse racing
James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The face of a failed voter initiative to reinstate historic horse racing in Idaho is now lobbying in favor of a bill that would make it harder for citizens to propose laws and put them on the ballot.

Brooklyn Riepma / Boise State Public Radio

Liam Neupert is a junior at One Stone school in Boise and helped to coordinate the Idaho Youth Climate Strike Friday morning. For several weeks now, he’s been at the statehouse every Friday, missing school to protest climate change inaction.

 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Legislature is one week closer to going home, but the specific date is still uncertain. Many of the budget bills have passed out of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, known as J-FAC, and through the House and Senate. But some policy bills are slowing down the session.

Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief tells Samantha Wright lawmakers are a little cranky.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

The travails of a bill to restrict sex offender gun rights, which narrowly passed the House Thursday, highlights how reluctant Idaho lawmakers are to vote for any type of firearm restriction.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photos

The size and number of Idaho tax refunds are down this year, due in part to changes in the tax system. 

So far this year, the Idaho Tax Commission has distributed 20,000 fewer tax refunds than the same time in 2018. Around 157,500 refunds have been issued, down more than 11 percent.

The amount of the typical refund has also reduced by more than 17 percent. In 2018, the average refund was about $650. This year it’s $533.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Mountain snowfall in February means Idaho is poised to have plenty of water this spring.

Reservoirs on the Upper Snake River are at 87 percent of capacity. There’s so much water that the Bureau of Reclamation is already making releases from the Palisades Reservoir for flood control.

Farmers in the Magic Valley can expect a banner year in terms of irrigation. With lots of liquid stored in reservoirs and yet-to-melt snow, those in the agriculture sector are heading into spring with higher than normal levels of stored water.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

This week is Sunshine Week. While spring is nearly here, it has nothing to do with the weather. Every year, reporters and government watchdogs mark the week highlighting the importance of transparency and open government.

Nate Hegyi with the Mountain West News Bureau sat down for an interview exploring the history of the event. What started in Florida in 2002 as “Sunshine Sunday” has grown to an entire week featuring panel discussions nationwide about open government and transparency hearings in Congress.

© James Castle Collection and Archive

Idaho’s most famous artist, James Castle, was born profoundly deaf in Garden Valley at the end of the nineteenth century. The self-taught artist spent his life around Boise drawing and creating. His talents garnered a few local exhibits in his twilight years, but the wider art world has only taken serious notice the so-called “outsider artist” in the last two decades. This new consideration has led to a fresh understanding of his work and revealed new depth in it.

via Katie Fite

Dozens of people attended this week’s Boise City Council hearing about a proposed trucking terminal. It would be right next to the 200-unit Blue Valley mobile home park. Neighbors like Betty Davidson expressed concerns about air quality and noise.

 

"I feel this will be a safety issue that will not be good for the kids of our community," Davidson says. "In addition with all these diesel fumes and other pollutants, it won’t be very safe to spend time outdoors."

 

wild horses, nevada, wildlife
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

The Bureau of Land Management is offering people $1,000 if they’ll adopt a wild horse. 

Bureau of Land Management

President Trump’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service. 

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