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Local News 1/19/24

Idaho Gov. Brad Little is asking for almost $6.6 million in the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s fiscal year 2025 budget to continue the state’s response to invasive quagga mussels detected last year in the Snake River near Twin Falls.  Yesterday Idaho Department of Agriculture Director Chanel Tewalt told JFAC the department would use the new funding to pay for two new full time positions, 18 temporary positions, and double water monitoring and sampling activities and increase the number of wash stations.

For the 9th time, Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow introduced the “Add the Words” bill in the Idaho Senate yesterday.  The bill would place the words, “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” in the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Chad Daybell’s attorney John Prior was told he couldn’t withdraw from the murder case yesterday.  The attorney had asked the court for two capitol certified attorneys since Daybell is facing the death penalty.  He also said Daybell is now an indigent, not able to pay his bills.

An Idaho Republican senator wants to remove exceptions in Idaho’s abortion laws that allowed the procedure in cases of incest and rape reported to law enforcement. Republican Sen. Dan Foreman introduced the personal bill, meaning the proposed law did not go through the standard committee process. Those bills rarely become law.

The new Rupert Mayor is looking at several improvements to the city.  It’s been just over a week since Tammy Jones became mayor.  She said the city needs a new fire department and a upgraded wastewater plant.  The mayor hopes to see the projects completed by 2026. 

Intermountain Health will close or sell all Saltzer Health locations this spring after 63 years of serving the treasure valley area. The health group cited financial and economic difficulties for its decision to end operations by March 29.  Saltzer Health has more than 400 employees and serves just under 80,000 patients annually.

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