BOSIE, Idaho – The Idaho House is in “uncharted territory” after the Senate chose to sine die late Wednesday evening. Both chambers played tug of war on whether to recess or adjourn until 11:00 PM after the Senate eventually chose to sine die due to concerns of becoming a full-time legislature. According to Senate Majority Leader, Kelly Anthon, R-Burley.
“…we are not here in Boise year-round. Even if there can be a procedural loophole around that, there’s not a desire for that in the Idaho Senate Republicans.”
Members of the House, after they came back yesterday afternoon, worked to pass legislation that would allow them to recess until a later date in the year. The first was HCR23, a concurrent resolution that would allow them no later than September 2021 and receive no per-diem during recess. Concurrent Resolutions need approval from both chambers in order to be effective. This Concurrent Resolution made it through the House but didn’t receive a committee hearing in the Senate. When the House realized that HCR23 may not receive a hearing, they introduced a House Resolution, HR04 allowing them to recess till no later than December 31, 2021, with no per-diem. House Resolutions only need approval from the House.
In a press conference this morning with House Leadership, Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley spoke to the reason the House felt the need to go into recess, rather than adjourning.
“We kept our foot in the door in case of the unforeseen this summer.”
When asked if they knew when they were going to be called back into session, Bedke commented that he was not sure what future events will be coming, therefore, they don’t have a set time they plan to return back to Bosie. He went on to explain that the call to return wouldn’t be unilateral. He felt it is important they come back only if they need to and that the decision to come back would need to be mutual between both chambers.
“We do not want to become a full-time legislature. We don’t want to overstep our responsibility. But we do have Constitutional responsibilities that we need to fulfill.”
Members of the House feel it is important to stay in session because of the funds still coming into the State from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). There is also the uncertainty of what decisions will be implemented by the Biden administration over the next year.
Because the House chose to recess, they can potentially call the Senate back to Bosie with a simple vote according to Majority Leader, Kelly Anthon, R-Burley. Once the House is back in session, a majority vote could force the Senate to return to the State House. However, a legal opinion is in the works and the Constitutional implications are unclear. According to Speaker Bedke, the House is in uncharted territory and is not sure of all the logistics of how this will play out later this year.