Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 6, 2014 at 1:30 a.m.



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SHERIFFS GUNS ON CAMPUS

Idaho Sheriffs' Association backs campus gun bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Sheriffs' Association is throwing their support behind a bill that would allow people to carry concealed firearms on college campuses.

A "vast majority" of 38 Idaho sheriffs who responded to a poll backed the legislation, according to Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman.

Zollman said at a Wednesday press conference he thinks allowing guns on campus in the hands of law-abiding citizens will allow them to protect themselves.

But multiple police chiefs and the heads of all eight public universities say they don't want to see firearms being toted into classrooms and across the quad.

More than 200 demonstrators rallied on the Capitol steps last week in opposition to the bill.

It passed the Senate 25-10 in February, and is set for House floor debate Thursday.

LAWMAKER REPLACEMENT

Idaho bill on lawmaker replacements hits snag

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Senators say they want changes to a bill on how Idaho legislators pick their emergency replacements.

Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini's plan puts the onus on lawmakers to make sure their substitutes are eligible to serve in the Legislature.

The bill comes after Republican Rep. Frank Henderson of Post Falls mistakenly appointed a replacement who lived outside his district to serve in January as the 91-year-old lawmaker recovered from a broken hip.

Leaders didn't discover the substitute wasn't eligible until weeks into the session.

Nonini says that's a situation his bill would help prevent.

Majority Leader Sen. Bart Davis suggested dumping a section of the bill leaving appointment of a substitute up to the legislator rather than the governor.

After amendment, the bill will head to the Senate floor.

ID-XGR-SPECIAL SESSION VETO

Bid to override governor's vetoes bound for Senate

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers backed a proposed amendment that could let the Legislature override a governor's veto almost immediately.

Under Dalton Gardens Republican Sen. Steve Vick's proposal, the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem must agree a rejected bill deserves a second look in order to compel the governor to call a special session.

Currently, the Legislature can't override a veto if it comes after the session has been adjourned.

Some legislators say the change could upset the balance of power and lacks the hurdles to taking down a veto other states put in place.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to send the amendment forward.

It needs a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House to get on a ballot next general election.

JUVENILE CORRECTIONS-WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUIT

Hearing held in Idaho juvenile corrections lawsuit

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge says he'll decide soon whether a whistleblower lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections should go to trial.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill told attorneys during a hearing Wednesday that he is already working on his ruling and expects to issue it soon.

A group of current and former Juvenile Corrections employees filed the lawsuit last year alleging that some staffers at a Nampa detention facility sexually abused incarcerated youths, and that agency leaders knew about the abuse but didn't act to stop it. The group also contends the department is rife with cronyism and wastes taxpayer money.

During Wednesday's hearing, the agency's attorney Phillip Collaer told Winmill the case should be thrown out because the employees don't qualify for protections under the whistleblower law.

MICRON-ANTITRUST

Federal court approves $311 million settlement

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Idaho and other states have obtained court approval of a $311 million settlement involving Boise-based Micron Technology and other computer chip makers.

The court approval announced Tuesday means consumers can start filing claims to recoup the money they overpaid as a result of chip makers engaging in unlawful anti-competitive practices to inflate prices.

The approval involves the settlement of a lawsuit Idaho and 34 other states brought against 12 makers of dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM.

Samsung agreed to pay $113 million, with the next highest amount being Micron at $66.7 million. Micron settled in 2007.

DRAM is a common form of memory chip used in computers, printers, digital music players and other products.

A Micron spokesman on Wednesday said the company had no comment.

CHOBANI EXPANSION

Chobani expanding plant in south-central Idaho

(Information in the following story is from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com)

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Twin Falls officials in south-central Idaho have approved a $3.5 million expansion of a Greek yogurt plant operated by Chobani.

The Times-News reports in a story on Wednesday that the addition to the $450 million plant will add to its packaging and filling rooms on the east side.

Company officials say the plant reached a production milestone in December, producing more than 1 million cases of yogurt a week. The company says there's room for additional expansion.

Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya on Friday asked Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to veto a bill that jails for up to a year people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho's agricultural facilities.

Ulukaya says the law conflicts with the company's views and values.

But Otter signed the bill later that day.

HOUSE VANDALIZED

Inside of southwest Idaho home vandalized

(Information in the following story is from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/)

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) — Police in the southwestern Idaho city of Caldwell are investigating after vandals broke into a home and did thousands of dollars in damage.

Chris Naillon tells KTVB-TV that he and his family went to church Sunday morning and returned to find the inside of the house ruined

Naillon says he and his wife and their seven children moved into the home last summer to take care of his mom, who is fighting cancer.

He says the home sustained so much damage it can't be lived in until repairs are made.

He says the vandals broke faucets off sinks. They also broke toilets, water heaters and washers and dryers.

Naillon estimates the damage at up to $70,000.

He says the vandals likely know him or his family.

HOSPITAL LAWSUIT

St. Luke's fighting judge's antitrust ruling

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Boise-area hospital and Idaho's largest independent physicians' practice are seeking to reverse a federal judge's ruling that their joining forces violated federal antitrust laws.

St. Luke's Health System and Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group on Tuesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Boise to stay the court ruling pending an appeal.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in January ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

They argued the buyout was an illegal market grab giving St. Luke's an unfair advantage. St. Luke's says its acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group will improve patient care.

St. Luke's in its court filing asks that its purchase of Saltzer Medical Group remain in place pending an appeal of Winmill's ruling.

WOLVES KILLED-COST

Idaho Fish and Game pays $30,000 to kill 23 wolves

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho wildlife officials say it cost $30,000 to kill 23 wolves last month in northern Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game announced earlier this week the money is coming from licenses the agency sells.

The agency last month said USDA Wildlife Service agents killed the wolves using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border to improve elk survival in the area.

It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years. Forty-eight wolves have been killed in all.

The state's predator management plan calls for killing wolves when Idaho Fish and Game determines they are causing conflicts with people or domestic animals, or that they are a significant factor in declining numbers of elk or deer.

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