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LOCKER ROOM ASSAULT-JUDGE

Complaint filed against judge in locker room assault case

(Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com)

DIETRICH, Idaho (AP) — The panel that disciplines judges in Idaho says it will investigate a complaint filed against the judge who sentenced a teen to probation for sexually assaulting a high school football teammate.

The Times-News reports that the Idaho Judicial Council received a verified complaint against Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker earlier this month. Stoker has been criticized by some who believe a sentence for John R.K. Howard was too lenient and that the judge failed to recognize the racial implications of the case.

Howard, who is white, was one of three defendants charged with assaulting a disabled black teen in the locker room of southern Idaho high school in 2015.

Caldwell teacher Monica Ryan, who started an online petition calling for Stoker’s removal from the bench, filed the complaint.

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BROADBAND SETTLEMENT

Otter: $3.4 million broadband settlement reached

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and legislative leaders say they have reached a settlement with the vendors involved in a lengthy lawsuit over a failed public school broadband program.

Last year, the Idaho Supreme Court agreed that a $60 million state broadband contract was illegal, which resulted in lawsuits from the vendors and state arguing over who owed each other money.

Otter’s office announced a $3.4 million settlement on Thursday. In return, Education Networks of America and CentruryLink have agreed to drop their federal lawsuits. The vendors had argued the state owed them millions of dollars in back payments and damages.

The settlement funds will come out of a little-known account called the Legislative Legal Defense Fund. Legislative leaders put $8 million the fund last year in anticipation of a possible broadband settlement.

XGR-TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

Idaho panel introduces new transportation funding bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Surplus general funds would continue to be funneled to transportation projects in Idaho for another five years under a newly introduced plan.

Rep. Joe Palmer, chairman of the House Transportation and Defense Committee, pitched his so-called surplus eliminator proposal to the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Idaho has been funneling a portion of the state’s excess funds to state roads and bridges since 2015, but that system is set to expire this year.

Idaho uses fuels taxes, registration fees and other sources to pay for its state and local roads and bridges. However, that system has not been enough to help cover the costs of maintenance and construction, leaving state with an annual $262 million transportation deficit.

A surplus eliminator does not create a permanent or significant source of transportation funds because there is no guarantee that the state will have a budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year.

WOMAN KILLED

Police find N. Idaho man dead following woman’s murder

(Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com)

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Police say a 61-year-old man suspected in the shooting death of a woman in a northern Idaho hospital parking lot has been found dead.

The Spokesman-Review reports someone spotted Steven Denson’s vehicle Thursday afternoon along Highway 53 north of Post Falls.

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dennis Stinebaugh says he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police say 37-year-old Kelly A. Pease’s body with a gunshot wound to the head was found Wednesday afternoon in a car parked at Kootenai Health.

She was a nursing student at North Idaho College and had five children.

Denson was wanted for murder in the case. He was also accused of assaulting Pease earlier this year and had been arrested in February for violating a no-contact order.

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XGR-BODY CAMERAS

Idaho panel spikes latest body camera retention bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho legislative leaders have killed the latest attempt to regulate how long police departments retain body camera footage.

In Idaho, individual law enforcement agencies decide whether or not they want to implement body-worn cameras because there is no statewide policy on the practice. This has sparked debate over the best guidelines on retention.

Teresa Baker, with the Idaho Association of Counties, has floated several proposals this legislative session to lawmakers, arguing that the costs of storing police video footage can be crippling for some local jurisdictions. However, the House Ways and Means Committee — made up of the House’s top leaders — spiked the new proposal on Thursday after objecting that the timelines suggested in the bill were too strict.

XGR-CYTOMEGALOVIRUS AWARENESS

Bill to raise awareness of birth defect-causing virus

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation to increase awareness about a virus that is one of the leading causes of birth defects and a threat to patients with impaired immune systems is headed to the governor’s desk.

The Idaho House voted 59-10 on Thursday to allocate $15,000 to distribute information to schools, child care providers and other programs on how to prevent the virus and the potential birth defects it causes. That cleared the proposal to send it to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his signature.

Supporters say the goal is to increase education about the virus to prevent the infection of babies in utero.