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Republican leaders still working to adjourn Idaho legislative session Friday

Speaker of the House Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, at the statehouse in Boise, Idaho on November 15, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
Otto Kitsinger
Speaker of the House Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, at the statehouse in Boise, Idaho on November 15, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

GOP leaders expect a motion to adjourn for the year, not another recess like 2021

Legislators are still working toward adjourning the 2022 legislative session on Friday, top two Republican leaders in the Idaho House of Representatives confirmed Monday.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, told the Idaho Capital Sun on Monday afternoon they think the session will wrap up this week.

“I want to be done Friday,” Moyle said in an interview Monday afternoon.

Bedke said he believes the Idaho House of Representatives will adjourn for the year “sine die,” instead of calling for an extended recess like in 2021. Adjourning sine die is the Latin phrase legislators use — sometimes with great excitement — to signify they are adjourning without setting a date to return.

“I am assuming that we will adjourn sine die,” Bedke said in an interview Monday afternoon. “I don’t think these members want to go home having voted to not sine die. I think that sends the wrong message to our citizens that we are supporting a full-time Legislature, and I think that is absolutely counter to what most feel here.”

Bedke said the Legislature still needs to approve funding for an expanded K-3 literacy initiative program under House Bill 790. Bedke said he would still like to see an inflationary credit to the state’s grocery tax credit happen before the end of the year.

Moyle doesn’t see any major roadblocks as yet.

“I think it’s still doable,” Moyle said in an interview. “The issue will be: do people want to stick around and see what the governor does? (But) I think the governor wants us out of here. He’ll do his thing, veto or whatever, and then we can be done.”

Once bills reach the governor’s desk while the Idaho Legislature is in session, he has five days (not counting Sundays) to sign them, veto them or allow them to become law.

Moyle said the House and Little have had a good relationship this year.

“The governor’s been good to work with this year on this stuff, and he’s usually given us a headshake on most of it,” Moyle said. “We’re working well together. We will know more as we get closer.”

On Monday, the Idaho House of Representatives and Idaho Senate each conducted two floor sessions, where they passed several budget bills and the House passed public school budgets, which were some of the largest remaining pieces of legislative business to be finished.

“We did (make) real progress today,” Bedke said.

Even with legislative leaders working toward adjourning, there can always be speed bumps or unexpected delays.

Once on Monday afternoon, Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, objected to the tradition of skipping reading bills on the House floor, just as she did on several days over the past two weeks. Each objection forces the House clerk to read a bill aloud, which slows down the process with the finish line in sight.

Friday’s self-imposed deadline is not binding, but it has been a goal since day one.

Friday would be the 75th day of the session, which gaveled in back on Jan. 10.

The 2021 legislative session was the longest in state history and didn’t adjourn until Nov. 17, 311 days after it began.

Last year’s session ran so long because the Idaho House of Representatives voted down a motion to adjourn for the year on May 12 when the Idaho Senate adjourned. Instead, the Idaho House voted to go on an extended recess before the Idaho Legislature returned to session Nov. 15.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.