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Unusual Idaho legislative session ends in uncharted ground

Posted at 8:45 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 10:45:45-04

BOISE, Idaho — The longest ever Idaho legislative session has been filled with unusual events and ended in uncharted ground shortly before midnight Wednesday.

The Idaho Senate voted to officially adjourn while the House voted to only recess. Republican Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon says that means the House could potentially call itself back into session this year and force the Senate to return as well.

There are some constitutional questions about the move by the House. Legislators are expected to release a letter from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office explaining where things stand on Thursday.

One of the last actions taken by the house before recess included the adoption of a resolution terminating per diem payments and vouchered expenses during recess unless those expenses are approved by House Speaker Scott Bedke.

This session already set a record as the longest in Idaho's history and despite the race to the finish, lawmakers continued to advance new legislation, including another measure to further restrict Idaho's citizen initiative process. Senate Bill 1150 would require people to be physically present in Idaho at the time they sign an initiative petition with exceptions for military and missionaries.

The measure would prevent campaigners from collecting signatures from Idahoans in front of Ontario's marijuana dispensaries. That bill now heads to Gov. Little's desk.

Another new bill introduced and passed would approve just over $2 million for the purchase and renovation of the Carnegie Library in Boise.

The Republican-dominated Legislature has been in a months-long battle with Republican Gov. Brad Little over balance of power issues involving coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

The session included a two-week break when COVID-19 sickened six House members, and a freshman Republican lawmaker resigned amid rape allegations.

You can find all the news that happened during this Legislative Session by clicking here.