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Posts published in “Day: April 27, 2009”

When and what, but not if

They've adjourned in Olympia, right on the razor edge of completing business. Had seemed highly questionable whether they'd be able to push through a budget in time for Sunday adjournment, but they did. The speed and determination near the end was a little impressive.

Does the legislature need to return in a special session? Evidently the views on that are mixed, among legislators notably. But the governor's quote was that she plans to meet with leaders β€œto determine when the Legislature will reconvene.”

When, not if.

Sounds of silence

This isn't a suggestion you'll often see in this space, but nevertheless: The executive and legislative branches in Idaho, if they want to adjourn the legislative session any time remotely soon, need to go behind closed doors and say and do practically nothing publicly.

The problem all sides now have is that they violated the first rule of negotiation: They have have given themselves no room for maneuver or compromise. The one advantage all sides - Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, the Idaho Senate and the Idaho House - have had, is that they are governed by natural political allies. They have no particular need or desire to damage the other side. The disadvantage is that their respective bottom lines have become so clear that there's no longer any way (so far as we can see) that anyone can win, without someone taking a big fall. The positions have become so hardened that circumstances have become erratic - "bizarre," Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, and he's right.

Meetings of legislators among themselves and with the governor may be the best hope for finding some way for the loser in this conflict to save as much face as possible. Imagine the governor and his sharpest critics in the legislature locked in a room for eight hours; you'd have to guess they'd come up with something.

But every public statement, every public vote or veto, draws the canyon all the deeper. This session of the Legislature, which has completed nearly all its business, is on track to become the longest ever, as of next week.