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2 minutes | Jan 22, 2022
COVID-19 Update: January 21, 2022
On Thursday, the statewide test positivity rate climbed to a record-breaking 34.1 percent, meaning that one in every three COVID tests came back positive last week. Public health officials’ goal is to keep that positivity rate below 5 percent. Eastern Idaho Public Health District had the highest infection rate this week, coming in at 44.7 percent. In Madison County, the positivity rate exceeded 58 percent. On Tuesday, Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said he believes it’s likely that hospitals may be forced back into crisis standards of care soon due to increasing numbers of healthcare workers out of work due to illness. Hospitalizations also increased this week. The state reports there are at least 33,500 positive tests backlogged in the public health districts. As of Thursday, 4,317 Idahoans had died of COVID-19.
29 minutes | Jan 22, 2022
Season 50 Episode 11: K-12 Wishlist
This week, Ruth Brown is joined by Reps. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, and Sally Toone, D-Gooding, for a discussion on education content standards and the prospect of all-day kindergarten. Then, Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News joins Logan Finney to break down the budgets and the debates.
23 minutes | Jan 20, 2022
Episode: A New Prison for Idaho Women?
For the first time in more than a decade, with the support of the governor, the Idaho Department of Correction is asking lawmakers for funding to build a new prison. On Tuesday, IDOC Director Josh Tewalt pitched his $333 million budget request to the Joint Finance Appropriation Committee, outlining some of the department’s greatest needs. Those requests included $112.4 million for a new 848-bed minimum custody women’s prison at the Idaho Department of Correction complex in Kuna. Logan Finney and Ruth Brown discuss the IDOC budget request and the need for more prison bed space. Then, Rachel Cohen of Boise State Public Radio joins Ruth to discuss a recent report that revealed Idaho has the highest female incarceration rate in the country. Read Ruth Brown's coverage on the blog: https://blog.idahoreports.idahoptv.org/2022/01/18/idaho-department-of-correction-hopes-to-build-new-womens-prison/ Read Rachel Cohen's coverage at Boise State Public Radio: https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/news/2022-01-13/idaho-has-the-highest-female-incarceration-rate-in-the-country Learn more about ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences: https://www.idahoptv.org/shows/specials/resilience/
2 minutes | Jan 15, 2022
COVID-19 Update: January 14, 2022
Currently, public health districts across the state are overwhelmed with positive coronavirus cases, driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. As of Thursday afternoon, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported a backlog of almost 18,000 positive laboratory results that hadn’t yet been processed. That’s in addition to the thousands of positive cases the state officially recorded this week. The statewide test positivity rate broke an all-time record high last week, at 25.7 percent. That rate varies by region, with 27 percent in north Idaho’s Panhandle Health District, 26 percent in Central District Health, and 31 percent in Eastern Idaho Public Health District. No district in the state fell below 18 percent. Hospitalizations are also going up, though not as rapidly. This week, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen warned that hospitals could soon see a return to crisis standards of care, due to a combination of the rise in cases and so many healthcare workers calling in sick.
29 minutes | Jan 15, 2022
Season 50 Episode 10: Talking Taxes
It's the first week back at the statehouse, and lawmakers are already pushing for big income tax cuts. House Speaker Scott Bedke and Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea join Logan Finney to discuss tax policy priorities and the start of the 2022 legislative session. Meanwhile, the omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the state. Read more about HB 436 on the blog: https://blog.idahoreports.idahoptv.org/2022/01/12/tax-relief-bill-introduced-in-house-committee
25 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
Episode: A Slow-Moving Disaster
Logan Finney is joined by Kelcie Moseley-Morris of the Idaho Capital Sun to discuss issues within Idaho's child welfare system, including a shortage of social workers and foster families, and what's being considered to reform the system.
59 minutes | Jan 11, 2022
Special: State of the State Address 2022
Governor Brad Little lays out his priorities for the 2022 legislative session, with focuses on education and infrastructure investments. Melissa Davlin then breaks down the proposals with pundits Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News, Dr. Stephanie DeWitt of Boise State University and Alex Adams of the Division of Financial Management.
2 minutes | Jan 8, 2022
COVID-19 Update: January 7, 2022
Treasure Valley hospital officials told reporters on Thursday they’re preparing for another surge driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. Idaho has seen a slight increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as well as an increase in ICU admissions. The state positivity rate has risen to 17 percent, up from 8.6 the previous week. That’s the fastest one-week rise on record in the pandemic. That varies by district, with 19.5 percent in southern Idaho’s public health district 4, and 10.6 in southeastern Idaho. Just before Christmas, the state deactivated crisis standards of care for the Panhandle Health District, the final remaining district that was still operating under crisis standards. The counties with the highest seven day rolling average case rates are Blaine, Teton, Bonneville, Madison and Franklin.
29 minutes | Jan 8, 2022
Season 50 Episode 9: On Your Marks
Gov. Brad Little and legislative leadership give us a preview of what we might see during the first few weeks of the 2022 legislative session. And no surprise: Taxes, education, and transportation are at the top of the list. Then, Senators Lori Den Hartog and Melissa Wintrow join Melissa Davlin to discuss their priorities for the upcoming session.
18 minutes | Jan 5, 2022
Episode: Idaho's Death Row
This week producer Ruth Brown is joined by Rebecca Boone of the Associated Press to discuss the death penalty in Idaho. On Friday, Gov. Brad Little the commutation recommendation issued for Gerald Pizzuto Jr., who has been on death row for more than 35 years for two murders. The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole voted 4-3 to recommend life without parole for Pizzuto, but the governor denied the move. Should the state move forward, this will be the first execution in Idaho in nearly 10 years. The last executions conducted in Idaho were those of Paul Ezra Rhoades in November 2011 and Richard Leavitt in June 2012. The only form of execution allowed in Idaho is death by lethal injection. Read more Idaho Reports death penalty coverage: https://blog.idahoreports.idahoptv.org/category/justice/deathpenalty This podcast’s conversation was recorded the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 4. On Jan. 5, a hearing was scheduled by Idaho District Judge Jay Gaskill in Mr. Pizzuto’s case. Pizzuto’s next court hearing before Judge Gaskill is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 20. As of roughly 10:30 a.m., Jan. 5, a new death warrant has not been issued for Mr. Pizzuto and he remains in IDOC custody.
2 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
Extra: Crisis Standards of Care Deactivated
On Monday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced it has deactivated crisis standards of care for the Panhandle Health District, meaning the entire state is no longer operating under crisis standards of care. You can visit the Idaho Reports blog at idahoptv.org/idahoreports for more details. While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly Friday news roundups delivered straight to your inbox. We’re off the air until January to celebrate the holidays. You can stream our TV episodes any time on our website, or download the PBS app. Thanks again for listening, and have a happy and safe holiday season. Idaho Reports returns on Friday, January 7th to preview the 2022 legislative session.
2 minutes | Dec 18, 2021
COVID-19 Update: December 17, 2021
The state has recorded 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in long term care facilities, meaning that roughly one in every four documented COVID deaths in Idaho has occurred in assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. Because of high vaccination rates in older Idahoans, the mortality rate in these facilities has decreased by half since last year, when vaccines weren’t available. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare stresses the need for boosters in adults of all ages. The test positivity rate has dropped slightly to 6.5 percent, from 7.3 percent last week. That varies by region, ranging from 11.1 percent in East Idaho Public Health District to 5.3 percent in Central District Health. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions have plateaued statewide, though are still higher than public health officials would like to see. The Panhandle Health District remains under crisis standards of care.
29 minutes | Dec 18, 2021
Season 50 Episode 8: Change on the Horizon
This week on Idaho Reports, Ruth Brown speaks with Deputy Attorney General Brett DeLange and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare substance abuse program manager Rosie Andueza about what recent nationwide opioid settlements mean for Idaho. Then, University of Idaho McClure Center director Dr. Katherine Himes tells Logan Finney about a new report on climate change and the state's economy.
23 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
Episode: Clash at North Idaho College
Logan Finney is joined by Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News to discuss recent issues facing North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. The school is facing an accreditation review in January following local complaints against members of the NIC Board of Trustees. Finney and Richert review the clash between rival trustee factions, the Idaho State Board of Education weighing in, and what it could all mean for students if the school loses its accreditation.
2 minutes | Dec 11, 2021
COVID-19 Update: December 10, 2021
December 10, 2021, Weekly Idaho Coronavirus Update | #IdahoCOVID19 Central District Health has announced it has detected the state’s first case of the highly transmissible omicron variant. The health district detected the case in an Ada County resident who recently traveled out of the state. The patient is older than 50, is fully vaccinated, and has experienced mild symptoms. Currently, all adults are eligible to get booster shots, which are recommended to slow the spread and severity of both the Delta and Omicron variants. On Wednesday, Idaho surpassed 4,000 recorded deaths due to COVID-19. The state hit 3,000 deaths on Sept. 28, meaning the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recorded 1,000 additional COVID deaths in just 72 days. In comparison, it took 263 days for Idaho to hit its first 1,000 deaths. Statewide, the test positivity rate rose slightly to 7.1 percent, from 6.9 percent. This comes after weeks of falling rates, and may be due at least in part to Thanksgiving gatherings in late November. The positivity rate continues to vary by region, with 11.8 percent in East Idaho Public Health District, and 5.6 in Central District Health. Hospitalizations have stayed roughly steady, and statewide ICU admissions are dropping slightly. The Panhandle Health District remains under crisis standards of care.
29 minutes | Dec 11, 2021
Season 50 Episode 7: The Needle in the Haystack
This week, Idaho surpassed 4,000 recorded deaths due to COVID-19. Producer Ruth Brown sits down with Rep. Brent Crane to discuss changes to House ethics rules after a contentious year at the Idaho Legislature. Then, Idaho Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever joins Melissa Davlin to discuss the discovery of chronic wasting disease in Idaho, and how it may affect hunting policy in the coming years.
21 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
Episode: Ethics and House Policy
After two high profile hearings in 2021, the Idaho Legislature's Committee on Ethics and House Policy met this week to discuss possible changes to their role and processes under House Rule 45. On Wednesday, Ruth Brown talked more in-depth about those details with committee member Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa. Read more on the blog: https://blog.idahoreports.idahoptv.org/2021/12/07/ethics-committee-weighs-changes-to-hearing-policy-transparency/
2 minutes | Dec 4, 2021
COVID-19 Update: December 3, 2021
Cases and hospitalizations continue to fall throughout most of the state. While epidemiologists nationwide are watching for signs of the omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading in the United States, as of Friday afternoon, no cases of the highly transmissible variant had been reported in Idaho. Statewide, the test positivity rate is at 7 percent. That varies by region, with 5.4 percent in Public Health District Four, and 10 percent in the Panhandle Health District. Currently, the Panhandle Health District is the only part of the state still under crisis standards of care. The five counties with the highest seven day moving average case rates are Benewah, Lincoln, Lewis, Franklin, and Shoshone. Nearly 20,000 Idaho children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 57 percent of Idahoans ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated. Currently, all adults are eligible to get booster shots, which are recommended to slow the spread and severity of both the Delta and Omicron variants.
29 minutes | Dec 4, 2021
Season 50 Episode 6: Shortages and Surpluses
Idaho’s on track to hit a $1.6 billion surplus, and there are a lot of eyes on that money. This week, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra joins Melissa Davlin to discuss staff shortages and her 2022 legislative priorities. Then, Miguel Legarreta, president of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, talks about his organization’s 2021 conference and what we might see from the upcoming legislative session.
14 minutes | Dec 3, 2021
Episode: Everybody Hates Property Taxes
Lawmakers and lobbyists regard the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho conference, held each year at the beginning of December, as the unofficial start of the legislative season. Logan Finney attended the conference for Idaho Reports and sat down with Ruth Brown to break down the discussions around Idaho tax policy and what we might expect in the 2022 legislative session. Read more on the blog about Gov. Little's look ahead to 2022: https://blog.idahoreports.idahoptv.org/2021/12/01/little-gives-brief-glimpse-at-2022-priorities-at-wednesday-speech/
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