Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jul. 30, 2020 at 3:20 a.m.



RACIAL INJUSTICE-PORTLAND

US agents in Portland to pull back, but tensions remain

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Trump administration and Oregon leaders declared victory after it was announced that U.S. agents guarding a federal courthouse during violent demonstrations in Portland will pull back, but it wasn’t clear the agreement will reduce tensions that have led to more than two months of protests. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin leaving the city’s downtown area on Thursday. But Trump administration officials said some would remain in the building and the entire contingent would stay in the city on standby.

PHOSPHATE MINE-IDAHO

US officials OK eastern Idaho phosphate mine expansion

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S land managers have approved a final plan for expanding an open-pit phosphate mine in southeastern Idaho proposed by the J.R. Simplot Company. The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday approved the project that's expected to keep about 600 workers employed for another three years at Simplot's existing Smokey Canyon Mine and Don Plant processing facility in Pocatello. Phosphate mining is a major business in southeastern Idaho, where phosphate ore is turned into fertilizer needed by farmers to grow food. But the area also has more than a dozen federal Superfund sites requiring cleanup from past phosphate mining.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-IDAHO

Idaho groups seek liability shield during virus pandemic.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Organizations that advocate for schools, counties, county sheriffs and businesses say they want lawmakers called back into session to create a liability shield for protection against COVID-19-related lawsuits. The Judiciary and Rules Working Group on Tuesday took no action but plans to meet again later this week to consider legislation to be sent to Republican Gov. Brad Little. Little is the only one with the authority to call a special session. Speakers told the working group that compelling children to go to school who then get the coronavirus could leave districts open to lawsuits. Some lawmakers say a liability shield would remove incentives for businesses and government to take precautions.

TRANSGENDER INMATE-SURGERY

Idaho inmate becomes 2nd in US to receive gender surgery

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho inmate has become the second incarcerated person in the nation to undergo gender confirmation surgery while in prison following a legal dispute that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Idaho Press reports 32-year-old Adree Edmo filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the state of Idaho and the Idaho Department of Correction’s health care provider Corizon Health. It claimed they violated her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment by not providing the surgery. Edmo's attorney confirms the procedure took place July 10. Edmo is scheduled to complete a prison sentence in 2021 for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.

WOLF KILLED

Washington kills 1 member of wolf pack preying on cattle

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has killed one of the three members of an endangered wolf pack in the northeastern corner of the state. Officials hope that will reduce the pack’s attacks on cattle. The adult, non-breeding female member of the so-called Wedge wolf pack that repeatedly preyed on cattle in northeastern Stevens County was killed on Monday. The killing came four days after conservation groups petitioned Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee to order the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to draft new rules limiting when state officials can kill wolves over conflicts with livestock.

AP-US-RACIAL-INJUSTICE-PROTEST-BANS

Federal court to review 'protest bans' in Portland arrests

U.S. court officials in Oregon are reviewing bans on future protesting that were placed on some people arrested during demonstrations in Portland after some raised concerns that the prohibitions violated the First Amendment. Brian Crist, chief pretrial services officer for the U.S. District Court in Portland, says the court is reviewing every case to look at the wording of release conditions. The protest bans, first reported by ProPublica, were included in at least a dozen cases — most of them involving misdemeanor charges of failing to obey a lawful order. Defendants had to agree to stop attending protests, rallies and public gatherings in order to be released from jail.

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