Here is the latest Idaho news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. MDT

By The Associated Press | Updated - Mar. 20, 2020 at 9:40 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 20, 2020 at 1:40 a.m.



SHOSHONE, Idaho (AP) — Project managers in Idaho have announced plans to build a wind farm in the Magic Valley that could break ground in 2022. The Times-News reported that the final cost and size for the Lava Ridge Wind Project is unknown, but managers estimate spending about $1 billion for a farm that could produce up to 1,000 megawatts. A Magic Valley Energy project manager says the project is in its early stages and specifics aren't year worked out. He says 20 full-time employees would operate and maintain Lava Ridge. Magic Valley Energy doesn't yet have a buyer lined up for the electricity but could send it out of state.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho House ended its legislative session after balancing fears of spreading the coronavirus with potential vetoes of several bills they will now be powerless to override. The House voted 32-28 Friday to end the session a day after the Senate went home. One bill that could be vetoed bans transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates. The other bans transgender women from competing in women’s sports. Republican Gov. Brad Little has until next week to make a decision. Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke says that if not for the virus, the House would have remained in session to override vetoes.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Associated Press analysis of data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid shows Idaho has about 2,280 hospital beds statewide, and fewer than half of them are empty and available to take new patients on any given day. But officials with the Idaho Hospital Association say their count is far higher with roughly 2,800 acute care beds — including 555 intensive care beds — reported in Idaho this year. Either number means there may not be nearly enough beds for coronavirus patients if even the most conservative estimates from state epidemiologists and infectious disease experts are accurate.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation banning texting while driving but allowing hands-free uses such as talking or using the navigation function of an electronic mobile device is headed to the governor. The Senate voted 24-7 Thursday to approve the legislation backers say will save lives. Opponents say individuals should be left to decide how they want to use such devices while driving. The legislation permits one-touch operations of devices for such things as answering or ending a call. There's also an exception in the legislation for agriculture workers when using mobile devices while driving. Emergency responders are also exempt as are individuals making an emergency call.

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