CRT Bill vote protest

Student protesters fill the gallery during debate in the Senate chambers of the Idaho State Capitol on a bill involving the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in Idaho Schools, Monday, April 26, 2021.

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A review conducted by the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden found that a bill designed to prevent a partial state government shutdown could be found constitutional, but Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane wrote that it could still be a close question as to whether House Bill 376 is in conflict with the Idaho Constitution, Idaho Capital Sun reporter Clark Corbin writes, which could hold up the state budget and block spending authority.

“If a court were to find H 376 unconstitutional, and the Idaho Legislature does not adjourn sine die by May 2, 2021, some 200 bills, including appropriations bills to fund parts of the state government, would not take effect on July 1, 2021,” Kane wrote in a legislative review issued Thursday that the Idaho Capital Sun obtained.

The July 1 date is important, Corbin writes. That’s the first day of the state’s new fiscal year, and it’s also the date that new laws, including the state budget, take effect.

If the budget and spending authority are not in place, the state may not be able to make payroll beginning June 12, the Idaho Capital Sun reported Thursday.

That could lead to a partial shutdown of state government that could affect everything from Idaho State Police, to courts and corrections personnel, to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare employees helping lead the state’s COVID-19 testing and vaccine rollout operations, Idaho Division of Financial Management Administrator Alex Adams said.

Altogether, there are more than 20,000 state employees across the state’s different agencies and departments, and all of them could potentially be affected if the budget is not in place for payroll.

You can read Corbin's full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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