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MISSING KIDS-DEADLINE

Mom fails to meet deadline to bring missing kids to Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The mom of two children missing since September failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to bring the kids to authorities in Idaho on Thursday. That clears the way for a judge to potentially hold Lori Vallow in contempt of court, a move that would allow prosecutors to seek her extradition from Hawaii to Idaho. Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan haven't been seen since late September, and police in Rexburg, Idaho, have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee's lives are in danger.” JJ's grandmother says she's disheartened but still hopes to find her grandson.

SENATOR RETIRES

Long-serving Idaho state senator won't seek re-election

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill says he won't seek re-election. Hill announced his decision Thursday. Hill has served in the Idaho Senate for 19 years, more than half of that as Senate president pro tempore. He served under four governors. The retired accountant from Rexburg says he plans to more fully enjoy spending time with his wife and 20 grandchildren. Hill's term ends in November. He says serving in the Senate has been an incredible experience he will always treasure.

BILLIONAIRE ACTIVIST

Billionaire touts bill to limit medical debt attorney fees

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot is asking state lawmakers to back a measure to help people facing medical debt. The founder of wellness shopping club Melaleuca says the legislation is needed to protect families from unethical debt collectors. The measure would require doctors and medical facilities to provide timely and clear payment bills for their clients. It would also limit how much attorneys can get paid in specific circumstances involving medical debt collection. VanderSloot says he got involved after a debt collection company tried to collect thousands of dollars in legal and collection fees for an unpaid $294 medical bill for one of his employees.

INCREASING STATE SUICIDE RATE

Report: Idaho recorded its worst suicide rate in 2018

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A report has revealed that Idaho saw its worst suicide rate in 2018. Boise State Public Radio said Tuesday that the state Department of Health and Welfare confirmed 418 people died by suicide in 2018, a rate of 23.8 for every 100,000 people. The agency said th rate for teens, young adults, Native Americans and older people in the state increased considerably between 2014 and 2018. Health officials say Idaho had the fifth-highest suicide rate in the country in 2017. Health officials say the department has considered multiple initiatives to combat the increase, including streamlining intervention efforts.

BOND ELECTIONS-RESTRICTIONS

Legislation to limit rerunning bond votes heads to Senate

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Bond elections that fail won't be allowed before voters again for a minimum of 11 months under legislation that passed the House. The House voted 48-21 Thursday to send the measure to the Senate. Backers say taxing districts should only get one shot a year at asking voters to approve bonds. They contend that repeatedly bringing back bond votes wears down voters until they finally approve. Opponents say taxing districts typically communicate with voters to find out why a bond failed and make changes before trying again. They contend that taxing districts can fine-tune bond votes to more accurately align with what voters want.

SPORTS BETTING

Push to allow online sports betting in Washington state

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A owner of a company that owns 19 private gambling rooms across Washington state on Thursday spoke in support of a bill that would authorize sports betting, including on mobile devices.Eric Persson, owner of Maverick Gaming, says people in Washington are already illegally betting on sports with bookies and off-shore companies.The hearing before the state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee involved a bill that would authorize Indian casinos, private card rooms and horse racing tracks to offer sports betting, both on-site and via mobile devices.It is competing with other bills that would limit sports betting to Indian casinos only, and only from within those casinos.None of the bills have been voted on yet.

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

The Associated Press

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