By Hollie Conde, CVI's Legislative and Public Lands Coordinator
Recess is nearly over. Next Tuesday, the legislature will reconvene after over two weeks off due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Statehouse. There are still many unanswered questions about how this unusual session will end. How long will it take before they call sine die? What did lawmakers work on over the recess? Will privileged committees introduce new legislation when they reconvene? Will any of Idahoans’ top issues – property tax relief, education, transportation – be addressed this session?
We’ll have to wait and see what happens. This session has been anything but typical, and there’s no telling what will happen next. We can only hope they come back, take care of mandatory business (like passing budgets), and go home as quickly as possible. So much time has been wasted on power struggles, ideological nonsense, and solutions to non-problems that much of the real work remains.
Prior to the recess, we were closely tracking several bills. Two of them — SB1110 and HCR008 — were scheduled to be heard on the House and Senate floors right before the recess. Leadership indicated the reading calendars would stay the same, meaning these will be heard and debated as soon as they reconvene. Several other pieces of legislation that were stuck in committee could remain stuck in committee (a good thing) or could be heard. What makes it onto agendas will still be up to committee chairs. It is certainly possible that chairs will allow new bill introductions, but hopefully with the delay in business, new bills will be limited or non-existent.
We aren’t sure what the end of the legislative session will look like or when they’ll call sine die to go home. There is still a lot of work to do. Budgets need to be set and there are several legislative priorities that have not been addressed such as transportation funding. We can hope lawmakers finish the people’s business quickly and go back to their home districts.