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Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MST

CENSUS NO SHARING

Idaho won’t share driver’s license info with US Census

(Information from: Idaho Press, )

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that it would be sending requests to states asking them to share driver’s license records, following a Trump administration executive order to expand the use of federal, state and local administrative records.

The U.S. Census Bureau told the Idaho Press Friday that Idaho would not be sharing state driver’s license records with the bureau.

The Associated Press reported in October that at least 13 states had refused to share the driver’s license data.

The Idaho Complete Count Committee met for the first time in July and has met one other time to address how to reach historically hard-to-count groups.

In the July meeting, former state legislator and co-chairwoman of the committee Wendy Jaquet said she is most concerned with an undercount of immigrants and people born outside of the United States.

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BYU IDAHO-MEDICAID

University cites health provider concerns for plan changes

(Information from: Post Register, )

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho university has stopped accepting Medicaid as health insurance coverage for full-time students amid concerns they said they received from local health care providers.

Post Register reported Thursday that Brigham Young University-Idaho officials say students must buy a university-backed health plan, which can be purchased for at least $81 a month for single students and up to $678 a month for a family.

Health officials say they were not in communication with the university before the change and they didn’t express concern about acquiring more Medicaid patients.

Open enrollment for Medicaid expansion began Nov. 1.

State health officials say Madison County has the highest concentration of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees in the state.

University officials didn’t return requests for comment.

Some students argue the university plan is too expensive.

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PLANE CRASH-TWO DEAD

Nevada crash kills 2 after takeoff from airport near Idaho

JACKPOT, Nev. (AP) — Authorities say two people were killed when a light plane crashed and burned after taking off from a small northeastern Nevada airport near the border with Idaho.

Elko County sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Czegledi (SEG’-leh-dee) said Saturday the identities of those killed in the crash late Friday near Jackpot weren’t being released pending confirmation through autopsies.

Czegledi said a witness said the plane took off to the south and then banked hard to the east before losing altitude before crashing.

He said National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials were expected to arrive in the area to investigate the crash.

Jackpot is on U.S. 93 and 41 miles (76 kilometers) south of Twin Falls, Idaho.

SAWTOOTH VALLEY-WATER DIVERSIONS

Forest Service to review water diversions in Sawtooth Valley

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to complete environmental reviews of 20 water diversions in central Idaho that a conservation group says could be harming imperiled salmon.

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday signed off on the agreement between the Forest Service and Idaho Conservation League involving the water diversions in the Sawtooth Valley.

The conservation group says the Forest Service is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to complete consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries about the water diversions.

The Forest Service has three years to complete what are called biological assessments on each of the diversions that mostly supply water to homes in the area.

The diversions are on tributaries or the Salmon River, which is home to federally protected salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

MEDICAID EXPANSION-IDAHO

About 42,000 Idahoans sign up for Medicaid under expansion

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — About 42,000 Idaho residents have signed up for Medicaid under expanded coverage in the first three weeks it has been offered.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare supplied the updated numbers on Friday. The agency estimates that about 91,000 people are eligible to sign up under the expansion.

Voters authorized Medicaid expansion last year with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers.

But lawmakers earlier this year added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Waivers are required when states want to deviate from Medicaid rules. Federal officials have yet to approve any of Idaho’s requested waivers, but enrollment is proceeding with coverage starting Jan. 1.

BC-WA-BEZOS-SPOKANE

Amazon founder gives $5M for homeless families in Spokane

(Information from: The Spokesman-Review, )

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will donate $5 million to help create housing for homeless families in Spokane.

The Spokesman-Review says Bezos will donate the money to Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington. The money comes from the Bezos Day One Families Fund.

Most of it is destined for the planned Gonzaga Family Haven complex in northeast Spokane, which is intended to provide housing and social services for more than 70 families.

The project is a partnership among Catholic Charities, Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Prep High School, which is located next to the planned complex.

Officials say the grant is not enough to fund the entire project, but it will allow better services than originally planned.

Spokane is grappling with major homelessness issues, especially in the downtown core.

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The Associated Press