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Lawmakers recess until Thursday, but end of the session is near

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 28, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — Just before midnight on Friday, lawmakers voted to recess until Thursday. It was a long night of waiting inside the statehouse while a dispute over library funding postponed plans to formally adjourn sine die.

Democratic lawmakers wanted to adjourn for the year, but the Republican majority voted that down, giving themselves a cushion for any possible vetoes from Gov. Brad Little.

“It's not like we’re going to take up any business in these five days. We’ll come back take up any vetoes that there may or may not be at that point and then go from there,” Speaker of the House Scott Bedke (R)-Oakley said. “There was obviously a little bit of a hang-up with one of the bills right there at the end and we of course went late because we had to reintroduce another bill, but all's well that ends well, right?”

After shooting down the budget for the Idaho Commission for Libraries, lawmakers had to return to the drawing board. The GOP majority conferred in a caucus meeting, then lawmakers rushed to JFAC to re-draft

“We saw legislators explicitly attack those librarians, attack Idaho citizens for exercising their constitutional right to petition the government for redress. A core first amendment right, and demand that they be punished through their budget and then we saw that budget gutted nearly, $4 million taken out of the Commission for Libraries budget that was only $11 million to begin with,” House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D) Boise said.

“There was a lot of money in there that came from the wrong source having to do with broadband and so you saw that money taken out and then that made some people… they wanted the money in and so they voted against it the next time. Some were using that as a vehicle with regard to the obscene material in libraries,” Bedke said.

Both bodies passed the $7.7 million budget for the commission for libraries late Friday.

“This Idaho House GOP caucus now veers toward command-and-control regulation of everything from the bedroom to the boardroom and they seek vengeance upon anyone that seeks to interfere with that power,” Rubel said.

As far as formally adjourning for the year, Bedke is confident Thursday will officially mark the end of the session.

“There's always the Nate v. Denney lawsuit of 2017 that will dictate how the session comes to an end. We finished all of the business on the 25th and then the five days tolls. In this case we’ll come back Thursday,” Bedke said.