Idaho Lawmakers Near Adjournment Under New Rules
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's House finished its work for the year on Thursday with Senate lawmakers expected to be done soon after.
House members quickly rolled through the few remaining bills, pausing briefly to debate a last-ditch effort made by Democratic members over providing family planning services to low-income women.
The move came just a day after the same chamber halted a separate health care proposal designed to address the state's uninsured population.
"It is time to take up health care in Idaho," said House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding of Boise, the bill's sponsor. "And if we can't do it today, then I would hope we would actually have the tenacity to actually do it next year."
According to Erpelding's measure, Idaho would have pursued a federal permission — known as a waiver — to expand family planning services to women ages 19-44 who currently do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or other health care assistance programs.
The so-called Plan First Idaho was expected to apply to 15,000 women.
However, Republicans members maintained their resistance to addressing the population who currently earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for insurance subsidies. The House GOP rejected Erpelding's motion and continued their work to finish for the year.
Unlike previous year though, lawmakers are using a different process to adjourn. An Idaho Supreme Court ruling from last summer deemed the Statehouse's traditional adjournment practices illegal. While lawmakers used to be able to go home once done passing legislation, now lawmakers are sticking around for another five days to see if Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoes any bill sent to his desk.
State lawmakers had previously left town, leaving little opportunity to overturn a governor's veto.
Otter is not expected to veto any legislation over the next five days.
As of Thursday, the 2018 session has lasted just 74 days. Idaho's Legislature tends to run short in election years so lawmakers can leave to campaign. All 105 state lawmakers are up for re-election this year.