Writings and observations

It was supposed to be a short one

Nope, there really wasn’t an excuse for this session of the Idaho Legislture going on this long. It was supposed to have been either a short one, or one of moderate length. Instead, presently at 89 days in length, it has become the third longest session in state history.

Idaho StatehouseIf it lasts until next Thursday, and at the rate they’re going it might, it will tie for second-longest in state history.

The longer ones? Well, the longest-ever was in 2003, when lawmakers and Governor Dirk Kempthorne engaged in a standoff over a proposed tax increase. (Kempthorne won.) The length for that one was at least understandable.

And much more so the second-place session, the record-holder until then. That was the first legislative session in Idaho state history, at which the core of Idaho state law had to be passed. You can see why that might take more than a week or two.

This current session is running long in part because certain lawmakers simply refuse to let an issue go. Aquifer recharge, in the case of House Speaker Bruce Newcomb – it got a vote and failed, but it’s coming around again. Abortion, in the case of Representative Bill Sali. And several others.

In sessions past legislative leaders usually would step in at a point like this and say something on the order of, “The vote’s been taken. You lost. Bring it back next year if you want, but this session has to end.” No one seems to be doing that this year.

And if the hot emotions in the last couple of days on the floor – notably the House floor – were an indication, things may not get much better on Monday.

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