Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MDT

By The Associated Press | Updated - Mar. 18, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 18, 2020 at 3:20 a.m.



WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUITS-IDAHO

Bill limiting Idaho whistleblower lawsuits heads to governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Whistleblower lawsuits against Idaho would be limited to $370,000 in non-economic damages under legislation heading to the governor. The Senate on Wednesday voted 31-1 to approve the measure that has no limit for economic damages. The measure follows a whistleblower lawsuit the State Police settled in 2019 for $1.29 million. In that case, a whistleblower claimed police retaliated against him because he testified against another officer in a court hearing. Backers of the legislation say the limits on non-economic damages protect Idaho taxpayers. Opponents say the limit is too low and won't dissuade bad supervisors from retaliating.

WRONGFUL CONVICTION-COMPENSATION

Bill to compensate wrongly convicted heads to Idaho governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation that would compensate the wrongly convicted is headed to the governor's desk. The House voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the amended measure from the Senate 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.

IDAHO-CROP-DUSTING BILL

Crop-dusting bill heads to Idaho governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation sought by pesticide-spraying crop dusters that underwent significant amending to put in protections for people on the ground is heading to the governor's desk. The House unanimously approved the amended version on Wednesday. The legislation follows an incident last year where about 20 farmworkers in southwestern Idaho said they became sick after a crop duster sprayed pesticide on a field right next to them. Crop-dusting groups say that current state law is unclear and onerous. The amended legislation approved by the Senate earlier Wednesday keeps language that would hold crop-dusters responsible for carelessly spraying pesticides, and bars the use of ineffective or inappropriate pesticides.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IDAHO

Idaho adopts stricter guidelines to limit coronavirus spread

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is adopting stricter guidelines for social interactions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but is not enacting mandatory measures for now. Republican Gov. Brad Little on Wednesday announced that the state was adopting federal guidelines recommending against holding gatherings of more than 10 people. The guidelines also advise using drive-thru or pickup options at restaurants. Little is also recommending against unnecessary travel and shopping. State health officials say 11 people have tested positive for the virus in counties scattered in five counties across the southern half of the state. Little says mandatory measures could eventually be put in place depending on the extent of the outbreak.

WOLF DEPREDATION-IDAHO

Idaho board gets $400,000 to kill problem wolves

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation sending just under $400,000 to a state board to use to kill problem wolves in Idaho is heading to the governor. The Senate voted 26-4 on Wednesday to approve the budget bill that taps money in the state's general fund to kill wolves that prey on livestock or wildlife. The state's Wolf Depredation Control Board has agreements with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to kill wolves. Fish and Game killed 17 wolves in northern Idaho last month that the agency says were killing elk. The bill passed the House 56-12 on Tuesday.

ABORTION-IDAHO

Bill outlawing abortion if Roe is reversed goes to governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation making abortion a crime in Idaho should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure is heading to the governor's desk. The House on Wednesday voted 49-18 to approve the measure that includes exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. Under the measure, the criminal punishment would be a felony and apply to the person performing the abortion, not the woman. Doctors could have their licenses suspended or revoked. Opponents say the measure takes away women's rights and doesn't include provisions for the health of the woman. A reversal of Roe would mean abortion policy would revert to the states.

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