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I am very pleased to report that my dad surprised everyone and recovered from the serious setback he had been suffering, and is now doing much better. After some very well-spent time with him, I’ll be back at work on Tuesday morning. Here’s some of the news that happened while I was gone:

LABRADOR ELECTED STATE GOP CHAIR BY 2 VOTES: Former Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador was chosen as the next Idaho Republican Party state chairman on Saturday on a 111-109 vote of the state central committee at its summer meeting; he edged out former state schools Superintendent Tom Luna. My colleague Nathan Brown of the Post Register has a full report online here.

IDAHO TOPS NATION FOR PRISONERS WHO VIOLATED SUPERVISION: A new report from the Council of State Governments shows that in 2018, 62 percent of Idaho’s prison population consisted of inmates behind bars because they’d violated terms of their probation or parole, the highest rate in the country. Idaho Press reporter Tommy Simmons has a full report here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Sunday’s Idaho Press; it’s on the front page.

OF FIRSTS AND FIRSTS: In my Sunday column this week, I report on a bit of not-so-long-ago Idaho history: How Larry EchoHawk, the Democratic nominee for governor of Idaho in 1994, drew international attention as he was expected to become the first Native American elected governor of any state, but he lost to Republican Phil Batt; EchoHawk had earlier made history when he was the first Native American elected Idaho Attorney General in 1990. After another history-making run, Paulette Jordan’s in 2018. the Idaho Democratic Party is hosting a screening of the documentary “Paulette” at the Egyptian Theatre on July 17, but the notes about the film in the party’s online invitation take things a bit far, declaring Jordan “the first female and first Native American to run for the highest seat in office.” Neither claim is correct; the party has now corrected the invitation. My full column is online here at idahopress.com (subscription required).

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SLEW OF NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT: Numerous new or amended laws passed by the Idaho Legislature this year took effect on Monday, July 1, writes AP reporter Keith Ridler. Among them: Lowering from 21 to 18 the age limit for carrying a concealed handgun within city limits in Idaho without a permit or training; requiring motorists to slow down and move over when approaching tow trucks and maintenance vehicles parked along roadways with lights flashing; and higher fines — doubling to $200 for a first-time offense — for motorists unlawfully passing a loading or unloading school bus. You can read Ridler’s full report here at idahopress.com.

SALMON GROUP LAUNCHES: Idaho Gov. Brad Little told a salmon and steelhead recovery group Friday it should focus on achievable goals that can bolster the state's struggling fish populations, Ridler writes. Little also told the nearly two dozen environmentalists, ranchers, recreationists, power company and state officials at their first meeting that the group’s work will help define the state's position on federal efforts to save salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin; you can read the full report here at idahopress.com.

IDAHO PRESS BOISE DEV SECTION: Saturday’s Idaho Press also brought the latest edition of our new BoiseDev.com section, in cooperation with Don Day’s BoiseDev.com micro-news site on development, growth and business in the greater Boise area. Among Day’s reports in the section this week: The new Water Bear bar opening in downtown Boise; a 1937 apartment complex will be torn down whether or not the city approves new condos in its place; Macy’s will again sell furniture in Boise; and plans for a new Albertson’s at Eagle and Amity roads are moving forward.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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