Idaho appeals ruling in transgender inmate surgery case. Gov. Brad Little announced today that the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) has appealed a U.S. District Court ruling that orders the State of Idaho to provide gender reassignment surgery to an inmate.

On Dec. 13, 2018, Judge B. Lynn Winmill gave IDOC six months to provide gender reassignment surgery for Adree Edmo, an IDOC inmate who was born male but identifies as a woman. 

“The hard working taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a prisoner’s gender reassignment surgery when individual insurance plans won’t even cover it,” Little said. “We cannot divert critical public dollars away from our focus on keeping the public safe and rehabilitating offenders.” 

If the procedure is performed it would be the first time an inmate has undergone gender reassignment surgery while in the department’s custody. It would be only the second time in the nation. Edmo is incarcerated at Idaho State Correctional Center, a 2,166-bed men’s prison south of Boise. Edmo is serving a sentence of three to 10 years for sexual abuse of a child under 16 in Bannock County. The sentence will be satisfied on July 3, 2021.

The chairman of the Board of Correction, Dr. David McClusky, a licensed general surgeon with more than 35 years of experience, said the court confused its opinion with medical consensus in this case. “If Ms. Edmo had a broken arm, we’d all agree it should be treated,” Dr. McClusky says. “But disagreement among medical professionals in this case does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.” 

“We take seriously our responsibility to provide adequate care to those in our custody,” IDOC Director Josh Tewalt said. “But prison is not where you go to get unwarranted surgery. We’re confident subsequent rulings will agree.”

Speaker Bedke addresses Boise River concerns. House Speaker Scott Bedke kicked off the legislative session by introducing legislation addressing the water concerns on the Boise River Basin, known as Basin 63. The Ways and Means Committee agreed to introduce what will now become House Bill 1 (HB 1). 

This first piece of legislation addresses water storage and fill of the Boise River Reservoir System after a flood release. Specifics include how the Idaho Department of Water Resources will account for stored water following the release for flood control and if that water is released, how will those with water rights be satisfied. 

“HB1 is good public policy that addresses the serious concerns of water users in the Boise River Basin, but even more specifically it outlines the role of the Idaho Department of Water Resources director in authorizing water rights for new water storage. This issue has been discussed and litigated extensively, HB1 is part of a comprehensive solution,” said Speaker Bedke. “Water, water rights and water storage are incredibly sensitive and challenging issues, so ensuring we are proactive in protecting Idaho’s storage rights is vital.” HB 1 will now head to the House Resources and Conservation Committee for a full hearing. 

Idaho House & Senate Democrats name communications director. The Idaho State House and Senate Democrats named Hailie Johnson-Waskow as the caucus’ new Communications Director. Previously, she was Digital Communications Director for the Idaho Democratic Legislative Committee as well as Social Media Director for House Democratic Leader Mat Erpelding. Johnson-Waskow is an Idaho native who grew up in Nampa before moving to Boise to attend school. She holds degrees in Economics and Political Science from Boise State University. Johnson-Waskow replaces Jeremy J. Gugino who has served as a full-time volunteer for the House and Senate Democrats since January 2017. He will remain on staff as a deputy. Johnson-Waskow can be reached at her cell phone: (208) 401-8279 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.