James Dawson

James Dawson joined Boise State Public Radio as the organization's News Director in 2017. He oversees the station's award-winning news department.
 
Most recently, he covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media since the station first began broadcasting in 2012 as the country's newest NPR affiliate. Those reports spanned two governors, three sessions of the Delaware General Assembly, and three consequential elections. His work has been featured on All Things Considered and NPR's newscast division.
 
An Idaho native from north of the time zone bridge, James previously served as the public affairs reporter and interim news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime, and agriculture.
 
He's a proud University of Idaho graduate with a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. When he's not in the office, you can find James fly fishing, buffing up on his photography or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A COVID-19 outbreak in the Idaho Legislature has sidelined lawmakers for more than two weeks as they try to get infections under control.

House lawmakers recessed Friday until April 6, with the Senate following suit shortly afterward.

"It was not our plan to do this yet," said Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder, a Boise Republican. "We wanted to work and try and have all of our business done by a week from today."

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke said the move was out of "an abundance of caution" and that it was only a pause to "break the cycle" of transmission.

Two Idaho state lawmakers, both Democrats, have filed suit against Republican state House Speaker Scott Bedke, saying he has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by forging ahead with the legislative session — scheduled to begin Monday — without providing them an option to participate remotely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

In Boise, the first day of Idaho's special legislative session erupted into chaos before it began. Dozens of unmasked protesters, some of them armed, shoved their way past state troopers to pack the gallery overlooking the state's House of Representatives.

Two new laws went into effect in Idaho this week that target transgender residents. The enactment comes on the heels of a major U.S. Supreme Court decision in June, which greatly expanded LGBTQ rights.

One of the laws bans transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates while the other bars transgender girls and women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Updated April 6 at 12:49 p.m. ET

The sounds of signature gatherers walking door-to-door in many states would normally be just on the horizon as spring comes into bloom.

As the coronavirus began spreading in Washington state in late February, Linda Larson, a volunteer organizer across the border in Idaho for one effort to get on the ballot, decided to take precautions to protect her group and the public.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This story includes accounts of self-harm.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery to inmate Adree Edmo.

The panel of judges agreed with U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill's ruling in Edmo's favor last December, writing that his findings were "logical and well-supported" and that "responsible prison officials were deliberately indifferent to Edmo's gender dysphoria, in violation of the Eighth Amendment."