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Legislative Session in Recess: How it got here

Idaho Statehouse
Posted at 7:35 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 21:42:30-04

BOISE, Idaho — The longest legislative session has come to an end — sort of.

Wednesday just before midnight the Senate motioned to adjourn sine die, meaning until next year's legislative session, but the House motioned to recess until no later than December 31.

What does the Idaho Constitution say?

Section 9. POWERS OF EACH HOUSE. Each house when assembled shall choose its own officers; judge of the election, qualifications and returns of its own members, determine its own rules of proceeding, and sit upon its own adjournments; but neither house shall, without the concurrence of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which it may be sitting.

Section 10. QUORUM, ADJOURNMENTS AND ORGANIZATION. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as such house may provide. A quorum being in attendance, if either house fail to effect an organization within the first four days thereafter, the members of the house so failing shall be entitled to no compensation from the end of the said four days until an organization shall have been effected.

"The constitution of Idaho in the section related to the legislature does not use the word recess it uses the word adjourned in section 10 of article three it talks about adjourning from day to day which is equivalent to a recess it also in section 9 says that neither house may adjourn, meaning recess or terminate both without the concurrence of the other for more than 3 days," said David Leroy, former Idaho Attorney General.

Idaho's Attorney General's office sent a letter to House and Senate leadership reading in part:

"Based upon the House's lack of concurrence, the Senate's adjournment sine die may be of limited legal effect. When the House returns, if it does not adjourn sine die, then the Senate will likely have three days in which to return."

So what now?

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are seen as in recess subject to the call of the Speaker of the House Scott Bedke.

“It is important to remember that no one is looking to create a full-time legislature, but we must make sure we can fulfill our constitutional responsibilities should the unforeseen occur again,” said Bedke.

If the House does not go back into session by December 31 the session will end until Jan. 10, 2022 when the next regular legislative session is scheduled to begin.