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Man who died in shootout with Boise police identified
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Boise-area man who died in a shootout with officers after allegedly threatening people at a popular hiking and biking trail has been identified.
The Ada County Coroner’s Office said Monday that 42-year-old Benjamin Christian Barnes was hit twice by bullets and died of a gunshot wound to the chest.
Police said Barnes threatened trail users in the Hulls Gulch area Saturday morning, fatally shooting a dog before exchanging gunfire with Boise police officers. Barnes died at the scene. No officers were injured.
Garden City Police Chief Rick Allen says Barnes was a transient who had been banned from sleeping or camping on the Greenbelt or adjoining properties.
The identities of the officers involved in the incident have not been released.
Meridian police are leading the investigation.
Idaho Senate panel introduces fetal tissue research bill
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new proposal would make it easier for research centers and universities in Idaho to continue using fetal tissue for some research projects.
Last year, the Idaho Legislature made it illegal to buy, sell or donate fetal tissue — even though no such practice existed in the state at the time. However, the ban has since caused confusion among Idaho’s scientific community who use such materials in certain research efforts.
Sen. Cliff Bayer, a Republican from Meridian, introduced legislation Monday that would clarify that ban by allowing centers and universities to not only continue their research projects if they were started before July 1, 2016 — the date the ban went into effect — but also explicitly allows officials to continue using the fetal tissue materials used in the projects.
The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced the proposal Monday. It must now pass a full hearing.
XGR-ATTORNEY GENERAL OPPOSITION
AG’s budget narrowly clears Idaho House
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho House lawmakers used Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s budget plan for fiscal year 2018 to highlight their displeasure with the chief legal officer’s recent agreement to repeal two anti-abortion laws.
House members voted 40-30 on the attorney general’s budget Monday, a narrow vote in a Legislature that typically displays overwhelming support for funding proposals once they are set by budget writers.
However, GOP lawmakers have expressed a growing disapproval against Wasden’s office this legislative session. Particularly after Wasden announced he had reached a settlement with Planned Parenthood over a legal dispute banning women from receiving abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.
Critics argue that Wasden did not properly defend the Legislature’s desire to limit this type of abortion service.
Wasden’s settlement prevented the ban from being deemed unconstitutional and unenforceable by a federal judge.
Faith-healing bill advances to Idaho Senate
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation that would tweak Idaho’s laws allowing families to cite religious reasons for medical decisions without fear of being charged with neglect or abuse is headed to the Idaho Senate.
The proposal would amend only Idaho’s civil laws to make it easier for judges to get involved in faith-healing cases. The bill does not change the state’s religious exemption regarding criminal charges, which is considered the most contentious part of the religious waiver.
Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis says there is currently not enough support in the Idaho Legislature to make a more aggressive change.
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 on the proposal on Monday.
Focus on the exemption has exploded recently Idaho as more attention has been placed on the deaths of children among members of the Followers of Christ — based in southwestern Idaho — from treatable conditions, including pneumonia and food poisoning.
$10M Medicaid gap bill dies in Idaho Senate
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Senate has killed a $10 million plan to provide basic health services to the state’s neediest population.
The proposal would have provided primary care to an estimated 15,000 chronically ill Idahoans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to qualify for health insurance premium subsidies.
A similar proposal died earlier this year in the House after failing to secure enough support. That then prompted Sen. Marv Hagedorn, a Republican from Meridian, to introduce a nearly identical bill to the Senate. Hagedorn’s plan would have been funded from the state’s Joint Millennium Fund — the state’s share of a multibillion-dollar class-action tobacco settlement — rather than use state tax dollars.
However, the Senate voted 13-22 Monday to kill the proposal after multiple members argued they couldn’t support the proposal.
Montana Legislature set to pass anti-Sharia law bill
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Legislature is poised to pass a bill to ban Sharia and other foreign laws from being used in courtrooms in the state.
The state House endorsed the measure 56-44 on Monday. It must pass a final vote before it goes to Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
The bill does not mention Sharia law, which is used in some parts of the Islamic world, but says that state judges may not apply foreign laws in their courtrooms.
Opponents say the bill targets Muslims, and the only reason Sharia law is not mentioned is because similar legislation in other states that specifically sought Sharia law bans have been ruled unconstitutional.
Republican Rep. Brad Tschida of Missoula says the bill is only meant to uphold the state and U.S. constitutions, and to call it xenophobic is insulting.
This story has been corrected to show Monday’s vote was 56-44.