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Idaho lawmakers considering property tax changes

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers are examining property tax options amid complaints that taxes are going up with rising property values, while also hearing concerns from cities and counties that they're operating on tight budgets.

The Property Tax Working Group took no action Monday following a day of presentations that also included university and state financial experts.

Ultimately, the group aims to make recommendations and perhaps offer legislation to the full Legislature in January.

State officials say home values have increased sharply in recent years, though other factors are also involved in property taxes.

Officials say that just under a third of property taxes go to schools, followed by counties and then cities each using about 26%.

Republican Sen. Kelly Anthon summed up the day's presentations by saying they represented the complexity of the issue the group is facing.


Boise priest defrocked after child pornography conviction

(Information from: Idaho Statesman,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Vatican has defrocked an Idaho priest who was convicted of possessing violent and extreme child pornography last year.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise announced Saturday that W. Thomas Faucher was laicized. The decision means the church has stripped him of the title of priest and banned him from serving as a member of the clergy.

Bishop Peter Christensen said in a prepared statement that the news of Faucher's laicization was anticipated, and yet saddening for the Diocese of Boise.

Prosecutors said they found more than 2,000 photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse on Faucher's computer and phone, including depictions of torture. Prosecutors also said they found evidence of online conversations in which Faucher discussed his desire to rape and kill infants and children. Faucher's attorney claimed some of the evidence was simply Faucher engaging in "role playing."

Faucher was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.



House Speaker Bedke elected VP of state legislatures group

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke of Oakley has been elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The group in a news release Monday says Bedke was elected Oct. 12 at the group's Fall Executive Committee meeting.

The group says Bedke will serve one year as vice president, become president-elect for one year, and then become president in 2021. The presidency alternates every year between Republicans and Democrats.

The National Conference of State Legislatures on its website says it's a bipartisan organization that offers research, technical assistance and other help so states can find solutions to difficult problems and remain strong and independent.


Idaho identifies about 70,000 newly eligible for Medicaid

(Information from: Idaho Press,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State agencies have already identified about 70,000 Idaho residents who now are eligible for Medicaid under the upcoming expansion in January.

The Idaho Press reports that's because the state uses an integrated eligibility system, with one application used for a variety of state benefits like food stamps, mental health programs and the state health insurance exchange.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Division of Medicaid administrator Matt Wimmer says the department is using that data to notify some of the residents who qualify for Medicaid so they can enroll starting Nov. 1. Wimmer says an additional 21,000 or so people who aren't already identified by the state are also expected to enroll in Medicaid, based on actuarial estimates.

Medicaid expansion makes the government-funded health insurance program available to people who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That's just over $17,200 a year for a single person, or about $35,500 for a family of four.



Woman shot, killed by Boise police

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise police say a woman who was shot and killed in her car by officers Sunday morning had a gun and pointed it at law enforcement.

The shooting happened after police responded to a report around 6 a.m. Sunday that a woman was acting suspiciously and knocking on doors.

The police department said in a prepared statement that when the officers arrived, they found the woman sitting in a vehicle, and she pointed a handgun at them when they attempted to make contact.

The police department says the officers shot the woman, who died. No law enforcement officers were injured.

The shooting remains under investigation by a Critical Incident Task Force led by the Meridian Police Department.

The woman's name has not been released.


Report: US public land workers assaulted, threatened on job

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Congressional watchdog agency says federal employees overseeing U.S. public lands were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times over a five-year period.

The Government Accountability Office report highlights simmering tensions between anti-government groups and law enforcement, including the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016 and similar instances in Montana and Nevada.

The Associated Press obtained the report ahead of its public release.

It cataloged incidents ranging from threatening phone calls to the stabbing of a Bureau of Land Management worker outside a federal building. An unspecified number of assaults triggered FBI domestic terrorism investigations.

The attacks are set against a backdrop of declining numbers of law enforcement officers patrolling the nation's vast forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other open spaces.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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