James Dawson


James Dawson serves as a reporter for Boise State Public Radio's award-winning news department. 

Most recently, he covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media since the station first began broadcasting in 2012 as the country's newest NPR affiliate. Those reports spanned two governors, three sessions of the Delaware General Assembly and three consequential elections. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and NPR's newscast division. 

An Idaho native from north of the time zone bridge, James previously served as the public affairs reporter and interim news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime and agriculture.

James is a proud University of Idaho graduate with a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. When he's not in the office, you can find him fly fishing, buffing up on his photography or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Gov. Brad Little issued a stinging rebuke to Republican lawmakers Friday, saying they were playing a “shameful” game that threatens the state’s pandemic recovery by trying to repeal Idaho’s emergency declaration.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, Speaker, House Speaker
James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho legislature is moving swiftly to use $4 million in taxpayer dollars to refresh its depleted legal defense funds as Republican leaders face multiple lawsuits claiming they haven’t done enough to ensure the safety of those with disabilities at the state Capitol during the pandemic.

In part one of this series, we learned about the long history of how so-called “crimes against nature laws” banning anal and oral sex came to be in Idaho and the rest of the United States. 

The ACLU of Idaho is currently suing the state to overturn Idaho’s statute that, in some ways, is still being enforced.

In the final installment of our two-part series, James Dawson reports how society, eventually, softened its views on these laws — though their effects still ripple throughout parts of the country.

A warning for listeners: This story covers sexual topics.


James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The first piece of legislation passed by the House during the 2021 Idaho legislative session would allow lawmakers to call themselves back into session at any point in the year.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Last year, Gov. Brad Little vetoed a bill that would’ve paid money to those wrongfully imprisoned in Idaho. The bill is back, but it might still be in conflict with Little’s office.

Idaho State Historical Society

One of the latest legal challenges facing the state of Idaho is over its continued enforcement, in some respects, of a law deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court nearly 20 years ago. But the largely obsolete legal code has deep roots here – and across the country – that still ripple through society.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

State senators are moving forward with their effort to end Idaho’s emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though Idaho could still lose millions in federal funding if it’s passed.

Frank Schulenburg/wikimedia

An effort to repeal Gov. Brad Little’s limitations on gatherings is headed to the full House for a vote.

Roam Yocham / Boise State Public Radio

A procedural attempt to allow lawmakers with physical disabilities or health conditions to vote remotely during this year’s legislative session has failed.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

One of Idaho’s most prominent voices of the governor’s pandemic response is supporting a new lawsuit against the legislature’s lack of COVID-19 precautions.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

State senators are closely mirroring the actions of the Idaho House, introducing their own set of bills to curb executive authority during a state of emergency.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho House Republicans are wasting no time in trying to fulfill their top priority this legislative session: cutting a governor’s authority during an emergency.

AP Images

Gov. Brad Little used the opening moments of his third state of the state address to condemn the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week that has so far left five people dead.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Those who go to the Idaho Capitol this year will notice more law enforcement officers than in the past as part of a security plan updated in the wake of last August’s special session.

Two Idaho state lawmakers, both Democrats, have filed suit against Republican state House Speaker Scott Bedke, saying he has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by forging ahead with the legislative session — scheduled to begin Monday — without providing them an option to participate remotely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Democratic lawmakers are suing House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley), saying he’s breaking the law by forging ahead with the legislative session without giving them the ability to participate remotely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s congressional delegation condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday as a mob of pro-Trump extremists staged an insurrection while lawmakers debated the electoral college vote.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Democrats on Tuesday unveiled their proposals to tackle steadily rising property taxes across the state as legislators prepare to return to Boise next week.

Idaho arts organizations are celebrating, even as many venue stages across the country have lain dormant since the onset of the coronavirus last March. James Dawson tells us why.

Adobe Stock

The manager of Idaho’s vaccination program says every single one of Idaho’s initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine should be given to patients – not held in reserve.