Politics & Government

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is departing the Trump Administration at the end of the year. He’s one of a handful of cabinet-level officials that’s been with the administration from the start. With Zinke’s departure, a list of possible replacements is floating around, and a pair of Idaho politicians are finalists.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho and Oregon senators introduced a bill to create a permanent source of funding for rural schools. The measure is designed to help counties with a large percentage of federal land.


A Colorado District Judge has ruled it is unconstitutional to detain inmates purely on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Similar cases have been argued throughout our region.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise City Council created a new historic district Tuesday evening. Located on the fringes of downtown, the designation for the area is another step in protecting a stately home many considered threatened in the summer.

Public record requests have played a major role in spurring multiple ethics investigations into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Idaho is one of just five states that doesn’t have an official residence for the governor. In lieu of a house, the state pays the executive a housing stipend. This week, lawmakers voted to pay Brad Little, the incoming Republican governor, more for accommodations.

Senator Jim Risch

The nation honored the life and service of President George H. W. Bush this week as he was laid to rest in Texas. Idaho Senator Jim Risch served as the Idaho chairman of Bush's presidential election campaign and he joins Idaho Matters on Friday to share memories of his friend and impressions of the funeral.

Les Bois Park Instant Horse Racing (3)
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

This week the owners of Les Bois Park, Treasure Valley Racing, announced they were pulling out of their lease on the Garden City horse racing track. With voters saying “no” to electronic betting terminals that could’ve subsidized the facility, the future of the track is uncertain.


The Volstead Act was repealed 85 years ago, allowing Americans from Seattle to Key West to imbibe legally. Idaho Matters looks at the impact of Prohibition in the Gem State and the revelry that followed its repeal.

election day, voting
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Monday morning, Ada County kicks off a recount of ballots cast in the November election. A community college levy and a state legislative race are on the docket.

Rural schools, Idaho County, bus
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Federal lawmakers are pushing to bankroll the Secure Rural Schools Act before Congress gavels out for the year. That money can be a lifeline for districts across our region that are surrounded by untaxable public land.

Idaho Fish and Game

Governor Butch Otter has appointed a replacement Fish and Game commissioner, representing southwest Idaho on the seven-member panel.


Ada County election officials must oversee a recount of the CWI funding levy - the ballot measure failed by 144 votes. Ada County assistant county clerk Phil McGrane discusses the county's unique recount procedure.


Idaho resident and anti-government activist Ammon Bundy is weighing in on the crisis unfolding at the nation’s southern border with Mexico. Bundy, a prominent figure in far-right circles, is offering stiff criticism of President Trump’s rhetoric surrounding the issue.

President Trump has pledged to nominate the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency as it’s next permanent head, a move that some Senate Democrats have promised to oppose.