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

LETHAL INJECTION-IDAHO

Idaho Supreme Court: State must reveal execution drug source

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court says state prison officials must turn over information about where they got lethal injection drugs used in recent executions. The high court’s ruling Friday was a win for a University of Idaho professor who studies how the public interacts with the death penalty. She filed a public records request with the Idaho Department of Correction in 2017 seeking execution-related records. The department largely denied the request, later arguing in court that releasing information about the source of lethal injection drugs could make it harder for the state to obtain them for future executions. The Idaho Supreme Court said the records were required to be released under the state’s public records law. 

IDAHO UNEMPLOYMENT

Idaho unemployment drops to 5.5%, but COVID-19 cases surge

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State officials say Idaho’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5% as about 5,400 nonfarm workers regained jobs in October. The Idaho Department of Labor said Friday that about 864,000 Idaho residents are employed and that about 50,000 are looking for work as the surging coronavirus pandemic continues hampering the economy. The unemployment rate for October fell from September’s 6.1%. Officials say seven industry sectors saw some job gains, led by leisure and hospitality with an increase of 4.9%. Nonfarm jobs are at about 763,000. Officials say that’s the first time since last spring’s pandemic-related job losses that nonfarm jobs equaled or exceeded levels from the previous year.  

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Idaho doesn’t count jobless on federal unemployment programs

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise State Public Radio reports that Idaho has not included claims from jobless residents on federal unemployment programs in its weekly unemployment reports. The story said that anyone who files a claim for the first time is counted as an initial claim. The radio station reports that Idaho residents who only qualify for federal benefits have not been counted in the state’s weekly report of continued claims. The Idaho Department of Labor said in a statement that other states had the ability to set up a new, separate system to handle unemployment claims for the federal programs, one that Idaho did not partake in. 

IDAHO-POACHING

Hunting in Idaho increases as people seek refuge from virus

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Hunting license sales in Idaho are up as more residents seek a way to safely get out of the house without contracting COVID-19. Wildlife officials say that has led to inexperienced hunters misidentifying and killing moose and a grizzly bear. Officials say poaching has increased in northern Idaho but remained at normal levels in other areas. Department of Fish and Game Enforcement Chief Greg Wooten said the agency has been using fake deer to catch violators around the state. For those who are caught, the penalty can be a loss of hunting privileges. The ban can range from a year to a lifetime if the offense is serious enough. 

FIREARMS CONSPIRACY CHARGE

Prosecutors: Men in gun conspiracy had white supremacy ties

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say four men with connections to white supremacists are accused of illegally making firearms and two of them discussed shooting protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally. A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that the men have been charged in a superseding indictment with conspiring to make, transport and sell firearms and then hide the sales from the federal government. The indictment also says two of the men indicted discussed on social media shooting protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally in Boise, Idaho, in August. Authorities say one of the four men is currently a Marine and two are former Marines.

NUCLEAR TEST REACTOR

Idaho is top pick for Energy Department nuclear test reactor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. government said Idaho is its preferred choice ahead of Tennessee for a test reactor to be built as part of an effort to revamp the nation’s fading nuclear power industry by developing safer fuel and power plants. The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday  in an email to The Associated Press that the site that includes Idaho National Laboratory will be listed as its preferred alternative in a draft environmental impact statement planned for release in December. It would be the first new test reactor built in the U.S. in decades. Some scientists decry the plan, saying such “fast reactors” are less safe than current reactors.

The Associated Press

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