Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

By The Associated Press | Updated - Mar. 19, 2020 at 11:20 a.m. | Posted - Mar. 19, 2020 at 3:20 a.m.



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.

BOISE RAPE-SENTENCE

California man gets life sentence in Boise rape case

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A California man has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison in connection with a Boise rape six years ago. Fifty-eight-year-old Reginald Burley was found guilty of one count of felony rape by a jury in January. Prosecutors said Burley attacked a woman at her Boise home in 2014, but the victim was able to escape after the attack and notify police. On Tuesday, Idaho District Judge Patrick Miller sentenced Burley to life in prison but said he would be eligible for parole after serving at least 30 years.

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.

LIBRARY WORK ENVIRONMENT-LAWSUIT

Ex-library director files lawsuit against city of Lewiston

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A former library director has sued the city of Lewiston over her termination two years ago. She alleges sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and other charges. The Library Board of Trustees fired Alexa Eccles in September 2018 after reportedly receiving increasing complaints about dwindling services and a high employee turnover rate. The Lewiston Tribune reported that the lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court. Lewiston City Attorney Jana Gomez says the city unsuccessfully attempted to settle the case and has yet to respond to the lawsuit. Eccles said in the lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by a city councilor. The councilor says the claim was investigated and discredited.

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.

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