Lawmakers aim to end session by next Friday
Lawmakers at the Idaho Statehouse say they want to get done with their work and out of the building by Good Friday. But, the biggest hurdle left to clear is the constitutional requirement of balancing the budget. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Lawmakers at the Idaho Statehouse say they want to get done with their work and out of the building by Good Friday. But, the biggest hurdle left to clear is the constitutional requirement of balancing the budget.
"We do have a number of appropriation bills that are still at the house,” says Senate Pro Tempore Brent Hill (R-Rexburg). “Some are still in the senate. They have to trade places and pass both bodies. And so, those are the things we're concentrating on the most right now."
Sen. Hill is only half the equation. On the other side of the building, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke is working with House members to clear up any loose ends in their chamber as well.
"If we want to be done by next Friday, we've got to buckle down and get it done,” Rep. Bedke (R-Oakley) says. “But, I don't see any major obstacles at this point that should keep us from that goal."
Sen. Hill says, while there will be a lot of bills that didn't pass or even get heard by the end of the session, it's all part of how the state government should work.
"(We want) to be able to have the time to deliberate, to look at it, to get input from the public, and if we're rushing through it here at the end, we often can make mistakes," Hill says.
Hill says the only way lawmakers could hear all of the bills would be to have a year-round legislature... He says that’s something he doesn't think Idahoans would like very much.
"(They want us) to be able to go home, live by the same laws that everybody else has to, get ourselves grounded again, and then come back in a new year and look at those things that are really important," he says.
Bedke says, for most lawmakers, there’s no shortage of work to do once they return home.
"I have a lot to do back home, and so the quicker we get out of session, the sooner I'll be able to start addressing some of those things," he says.
As for issues to come in the next week: The Senate and House are scheduled to tackle education issues still left on the agenda, and both sides plan on trying to pass a partial personal property tax repeal.