BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation intended to create transparency in medical bills sent to patients and to rein in predatory medical debt collectors advanced to the Idaho House on Wednesday The House Business Committee approved the bill 15-2 after a five-hour, emotional hearing where lawmakers shared personal stories. The measure would require doctors and medical facilities to provide timely and clear bills for clients. It would also limit how much attorneys can get paid in specific circumstances involving medical debt collection. Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot backed the legislation after a debt collection agency targeted one of his employees, tacking on legal fees that turned a $294 medical bill into more than $5,000.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A man convicted of rape in Idaho and sexual assault in Pennsylvania will get a chance to argue his Idaho attorney was ineffective under a new ruling from the Idaho Supreme Court. Jeffrey Marsalis’ case received widespread media attention in the mid-2000s, when prosecutors portrayed him as a smooth-talker who would pretend to be an astronaut, surgeon or spy to lure women. In the Idaho case, Marsalis was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of raping a coworker while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking. The high court says Marsalis should be given the chance to prove in court if his attorney was ineffective for failing to hire an expert to talk about the blackout defense.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation that would compensate the wrongly convicted is headed to the Senate. The House voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the measure that would pay $60,000 a year for wrongful incarceration and $75,000 per year on death row. Backers say the state needs to take responsibility when an innocent person is incarcerated. Idaho is one of 15 states that doesn't compensate people sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit. Idaho has several notable cases including Christopher Tapp who spent 20 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him of the rape and murder of Angie Dodge.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The parks and recreation department in Idaho has asked residents for donations to combat years of budget cuts for trail maintenance across the state. Officials say multiple federal and state land management agencies have faced budget cuts causing trails to become overgrown, blocked by debris, washed out or impassable. The Idaho Statesman reports that the parks department has plans to debut a voluntary, donation-based initiative in June to secure funds for nonmotorized trails. An agency coordinator says the initiative would use donations to fund trail preservation, mirroring the model used in the state for motorized trails.