Idaho Legislature

Lawmakers in session on the Senate floor at the Idaho State Capitol Nov. 17. Senators later voted to adjourn sine die.

A dramatic and tense reconvened Idaho legislative session came to an abrupt end Wednesday, when a Senate committee killed three House-passed bills after a nearly-four-hour hearing, and both houses called it quits for the year.

Out of the 36 bills or resolutions introduced over the course of three days, just one passed: A non-binding memorial to Congress expressing the Legislature’s disapproval of the Biden Administration’s proposed COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

"The best outcome we could hope for was that we adjourned without passing any of them," said House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise. "All in all, I guess that was a success. It cost a lot of money, wasted some time, but at least minimal damage was done."

Lawmakers reconvened this week to address GOP concerns over Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine proposals, and to allow the House to finalize its business for the year, since it only recessed, rather than adjourning, last May. That included approving an Ethics Committee recommendation to censure an unrepentant Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, for “conduct unbecoming” a member of the House, after she publicized the identity of an alleged rape victim.

“Obviously, we had to come back and close the books,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. As for the vaccine proposals, he said, “We have a starting point for Jan. 10. This issue’s not going to go away, short-term.”

Jan. 10 is the date that the Legislature will convene for its regular 2022 session.

You can read our full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Thursday's Idaho Press.

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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