It’s all about the politics. Health concerns have been raised as a result of state politics, namely the lack of adequate mental health care in Idaho. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are looking to move Idaho’s presidential primary back from May to August, to give redistricting commissioners ANOTHER chance to draw up the redistricting map in a way that is deemed actually legal. U.S. lawmakers are in a pickle of their own, still trying to figure out what to do with the SOPA and PIPA online piracy bills, which pretty much everybody on the internet hates.
- A new health study will be conducted in Fort Hall to investigate whether or not FMC pollution has caused health problems for people there. It will look specifically at whether or not the pollution has caused an increase of cancer, asthma, early death or any other type of rare disease. Members of the Sho-Ban tribe certainly believe it has, claiming many of their children have ended up with respiratory problems and asthma. The investigatory group, Exponent Inc., is made up of doctors, statisticians and epidemiologists. While some will be hotly awaiting the results, don’t hold your breath—remember, we’re dealing with scientists and researchers here. Exponent said results will take quite a bit of time. [LN8]
- An Idaho state official is concerned about mental health care after seeing a huge increase in the number of patients admitted to mental health hospitals in the last five years. At the same time, state funding for mental health care in Idaho, already one of the lowest in the nation, has dropped drastically. State Hospital North in Orofino saw a 50 percent increase in admission but an 11 percent decrease in funding. State Hospital South in eastern Idaho saw a 90 percent increase in admission with a 22 percent decrease in funding. As a result, the hospitals have started keeping patients for shorter periods of time before turning them over to community organizations. [KPVI]
- Idaho’s election officials just can’t catch a break. After an Idaho Supreme Court ruled against the proposed redistricting plan, saying it needlessly split up far too many counties, state lawmakers have decided to introduce a bill to move the Idaho presidential primary from May to August. The state had hoped to have an early primary to attract presidential candidates to the state, but now that there are only four Republican hopefuls (let’s be real, only two who still stand any chance), it’s not that big of a deal anymore. So while the redistricting commissioners go back to the drawing board AGAIN, The House State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill to move the primary. If passed, the new Idaho primary date would be Aug. 7. [IDR]
- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has postponed a scheduled procedural vote on the controversial Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA, to try to strike a compromise between entertainment executives and silicon valley executives. PIPA goes hand-in-hand with the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which saw a loss of some main sponsors itself this week. The two bills aim to crack down especially hard on websites that host copyrighted content without permission, and caused a 24-hour blackout of several popular websites, including Wikipedia, on Wednesday. According to Bloomberg, Google has already collected 7 million signatures on an online petition against the bills. [PO]