- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Latest on Idaho’s State of the State (all times local):

4:21 p.m.

Idaho’s Democratic lawmakers praised Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for his focus on education in annual State of the State address Monday, but criticized the overall lack of attention to early childhood funding and providing health care to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans without insurance coverage.

The Idaho Legislature is controlled overwhelmingly by Republicans, but does include a handful of Democrats inside both chambers.

House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding said he was disappointed legislative leaders are already estimating adjourning March 24 instead of focusing on the needs of Idahoans.


1: 45 p.m.

Astronaut and teacher Barbara Morgan is the first recipient of Idaho’s highest civilian honor.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced Morgan’s achievement after his annual State of the State address on Monday.

Morgan was an elementary teacher in McCall before joining NASA’s Teacher in Space program. She later trained as a NASA mission specialist and flew on the Endeavor space shuttle in 2007.

The Idaho Medal of Achievement was created in 2015.

The award is given to individuals, living or dead, who are nominated by the public to a five-member commission and then approved by Otter..

Hecla Mining Co. provided the silver for six medals. Each medal features a relief carving of the Idaho Capitol and the official state seat


1:20 p.m.

Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter says his top priority is education during the 2017 legislative session.

However, the Republican governor also wants to expand Idaho’s medical residency positions throughout the state.

Idaho’s first medical school is currently being developed on Idaho State University’s Meridian campus. With it, organizers say the need for more residencies in Idaho is crucial. That’s because typically medical students participate in clinical clerkships or rotations during their third and fourth years of school, and then seek residencies once they graduate.

Otter recommends spending $2.4 million to add 25 new residency seats.

There are currently about 120 residencies available in Idaho


1:15 p.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s first announcement during his annual State of the State speech was revealing that Dick Armstrong, the head of the state’s Department of Health and Welfare, will be retiring later this year.

Armstrong has overseen the Health and Welfare agency since 2006.

Otter says Armstrong will leave “big shoes to fill” when he steps down in June.

Before laying out his legislative priorities to state lawmakers, Otter also welcomed newly-elected Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody.

Brody was elected to the state’s highest court in November and was sworn in to the post earlier this month.


10:50 a.m.

Idaho Republican Reps. Heather Scott and Ron Nate have launched a new website highlighting their far-right legislative priorities and criticizing the Legislature’s current leadership.

Scott, of Blanchard, and Nate, of Rexburg, announced their new website right before the Idaho Legislature is about to start the 2017 session on Monday afternoon.

Their legislative priorities include expanding gun rights, limiting abortion access and lowering taxes.

Other proposals include repealing state-issued marriage licenses and removing daylight savings. However, similar efforts to do so have failed to take hold in the Statehouse in the past.


10:25 a.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is expected to give his eleventh “State of the State” address on Monday afternoon.

The speech kicks off the start of the 2017 legislative session, with state lawmakers, members of the judiciary and other leaders gathering in the Statehouse to hear Otter’s remarks.

The governor typically uses the speech to outline his budget and policy priorities for the session. State lawmakers will then spend the next few months in Boise working to balance the state budget and pass legislation.

The speech begins at 1 p.m. MST.

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