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News 1/30/24

Some 90 Jerome school district teachers called in a personal day yesterday following the decision of the district not to implement a 4 day school week causing the district to close schools.  The Jerome education association said the teachers actions were not coordinated or endorsed by them.

The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill that would require mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of trafficking fentanyl.  Following more than an hour of debate among representatives, House Bill 406 passed the House floor in a 53-14 vote. It is now headed to the state Senate.

Thomas Creech will remain Idaho’s longest-serving death row prisoner after the state parole board recommended yesterday against his plea to avoid execution with a reduced sentence to life in prison.  The Commission of Pardons and Parole deadlocked in a 3-3 vote, which upholds Creech’s death sentence because a majority did not support his request.

This week, Idaho gas prices defied the national trend, dropping by an average of eight cents while the U.S. average inched higher by three cents.  According to AAA, Idaho’s average price for a gallon of regular is $2.89, which is 31 cents less than a month ago and 56 cents less than a year ago.  Meanwhile, the national average currently sits at $3.11.

Idaho’s state government employee health insurance is set to be managed by Regence BlueShield of Idaho this summer, as Idaho change’s insurers for the first time in nearly two decades.  A final decision on the contract is still pending until a lawsuit is resolved that seeks to uncover how outside analysts compared costs between insurers that wanted the contract. Blue Cross of Idaho, the insurer that held the contract since 2004, sued the state over those and other records concealed.

The unions representing more than 100,000 workers at Albertsons and Kroger stores around the country want the companies to walk away from their plan to merge. The union said the acquisition would result in a dramatic decrease in bargaining power for hundreds of thousands of workers and be felt by customers across the country.

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