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Senate leadership issues statement on move to convene legislature on September 15

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 11:13 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —- Idaho Senate Leadership has determined the call by a small group of House members to convene the Idaho Legislature on September 15, 2021, is not allowed by House Resolution 004 (HR004) and is therefore unofficial and illegitimate. The Idaho State Senate finished its legislative business last May and adjourned Sine Die with the intent of not convening until the next legislative session beginning in January 2022.

The House of Representatives took a nontraditional approach at the conclusion of the session in May and voted to recess (not adjourn) and reconvene only at the call of the Speaker. HR004 passed by the House allows only the Speaker to call the House back, therefore, no other House member or group of House members can issue a call to convene the legislature. Many who voted in favor of this House Resolution are now the ones calling to meet this week in violation of the very Resolution they voted to approve.

Last week, the Speaker of the House released a letter stating he would coordinate with the Senate Pro Tem to convene the Legislature if there was “a narrow piece of legislation that enjoyed the unequivocal support of at least 36 members of the House and the unequivocal support of at least 18 members of the Senate.” We would add that any legislation would also have to have some support from the Governor as it would take his signature to become law. We also agree with the Speaker’s assessment that, “anything less would be an unacceptable waste of taxpayer money.”

We must be patient with, and respect, the constitutional process to let our system of government work within the bounds of the Idaho Constitution and HR004. Anything less would be a detriment to our State and set a dangerous precedent for future legislatures.

The Idaho Senate Majority Caucus is led by President Pro Tempore, Senator Chuck Winder who serves District 20; Majority Leader, Senator Kelly Anthon representing District 27; Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Abby Lee serving District 9; and, Majority Caucus Chair, Senator Mark Harris, representing District 32.

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