Idaho Capitol a.m. branches 2-2-21

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Today, Presidents’ Day, is a state holiday, but the Legislature doesn’t take holidays when it’s in session, so they’re going full-speed today. This morning, the Senate State Affairs Committee already has introduced two new bills from Senate President Pro-Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, one of them altering the current law that required large cities in Idaho to elect their city councils by geographic district to reflect that census data won’t be available this spring as expected; and the other to add “sideboards” to the proposed constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to call itself into special session, by requiring 60% of the House and Senate to specify the topics to be addressed in advance. Now, that panel has moved into a public hearing on SB 1085, a “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban bill; you can watch live here.

Meanwhile, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is holding a budget hearing this morning on Idaho’s seven public health districts, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, and two other agencies, the Office of Species Conservation and the Office of Energy & Mineral Resources. You can watch live here. “It’s certainly been a challenging year for local health districts,” JFAC Co-Chair Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, told District 7 Director Geri Rackow. “We appreciate the good work that you are doing and have done.”

Numerous other legislative committees are meeting this morning and this afternoon and have substantial agendas, you can find those online here.

The Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. today; the House at 11 a.m.

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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