2020 Legislature

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The state of Idaho argues a new law banning transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates does not violate a federal court order that barred a similar state policy in 2018.

In 2016, following a contentious Presidential campaign season, City Club of Boise partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to organize a series of events exploring civility in our public discourse. The goal of this project, to paraphrase City Club founder Dottie Stimpson, was to "get people to start talking" to each other, and to chart a course for communicating outside of traditional partisan lines.

Now, nearly four years later, we appear to be at another test of civility. The 2020 Presidential election and a global pandemic of historic proportions are once again challenging elected leaders and citizens to talk to each other-- not at each other.

The 2020 legislature in Idaho was certainly overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  What were the outcomes?  What issues were left unadressed?  Four respected pundits weighed in on the session, some hot-button issues and even shared a couple of limericks for levity.  The discussion took place via Zoom meeting to respect social distancing and attendees asked questions via chat and e-mail.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio


A lawsuit was filed Wednesday that challenges Idaho’s recently passed law banning women and girls who are transgender, and many women and girls who are intersex, from participating in sports. 

AP Images

Gov. Brad Little (R) has signed two controversial bills that roll back transgender rights and which have prompted threats of lawsuits.

Samantha Wright/BSPR

Governor Brad Little (R) has until Tuesday night to sign or veto 15 outstanding bills from the 2020 legislative session.


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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio


In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in Idaho, the state legislature adjourned last week after a turbulent session. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho legislature has officially gone home after an acrimonious session that was marked by controversial social issues. But lawmakers’ exit from Boise leaves the governor free use of his veto stamp, if he chooses.


Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Between the coronavirus and the Idaho State Legislature, this week has been one of the most news-heavy the state has seen in a while. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

As the Idaho legislature continues to meet, it is doing so with fewer and fewer of its members sitting behind their desks due to concerns over spreading the coronavirus.


James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials are discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people and telling them not to dine-in at bars and restaurants, one day after the federal government issued these guidelines.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

In the waning days of the 2020 Idaho legislative session, state senators are rolling the dice on a bill that would ban transgender people from changing their birth certificates, something that's almost certainly to be challenged in court.

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

Shortly after issuing a statement saying they were taking “proactive steps” to halt the spread of coronavirus, House Republicans promoted an end of the session party in downtown Boise.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Senate has backed a bill that would forbid transgender girls and women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.


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Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A bill that would have forced school districts to let staff members carry concealed weapons died in committee Friday. Another measure expanding concealed carry rights awaits a Senate vote.

Brynn Anderson / AP Images


UPDATE: March 13, 4:45 p.m. Since this segment aired, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced the first case of COVID-19 in Idaho. Click here to learn more

Between Coronavirus and the Idaho Legislature, there's lots to discuss on this week's Reporter Roundtable. Listen to hear reporter Don Day from BoiseDev, Scott McIntosh and Cynthia Sewell from the Idaho Statesman along with James Dawson and Frankie Barnhill of Boise State Public Radio to break down this week in news. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho senators gave their approval to a bill that bars the state from using affirmative action in its hiring decisions.

Gov. Brad Little and leaders in the Idaho House and Senate have made contingency plans for a hasty end to the legislative session should someone in the Statehouse get the new coronavirus. Little said Thursday that aggregating lawmakers from all 44 of Idaho's counties as well as drawing in visitors is not the best scenario. Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke said budget bills are being expedited because they need to be passed before the Legislature can adjourn. He's considering having lawmakers work on Saturday.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Transgender Idahoans have come under fire at the state capitol this year, and in particular, transgender athletes. The House has approved a bill banning transgender girls and women from competing on teams with which they identify. It’s currently awaiting action in the Senate.


James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

A state Senate committee has given a green light to a bill that would block transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

A bill that would overhaul the way medical debt collectors operate in Idaho is headed to the governor’s desk. State senators Monday signed off on the proposal 32-1.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

State Senate Republicans severely limited testimony Monday on a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing on sex segregated sports teams.

reporter roundtable

This week's Reporter Roundtable has a little bit of everything from the week's news: abortion funding at the state legislature, possible restrictions for transgender athletes in Idaho, state officials preparing for coronavirus spread and the arraingment of an Eastern Idaho woman in connection to the disappearance of her children. 


In January, Idaho Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) introduced a bill that would have allowed more sexual assault survivors in Idaho to get protection orders against their assailants. But that bill is dead after lobbying from the National Rifle Association.



James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho House lawmakers have signed off on a bill blocking most public money going to clinics that provide abortions.