Special Session Authorization May Be Headed To Idaho State Ballot

Apr 20, 2021

The Idaho House approved a resolution Tuesday to ask voters whether the legislature should be allowed to call itself into special session.
Credit Idaho Public TV screenshot

Voters in Idaho may get the chance to decide whether state legislators may call themselves into special, non-scheduled sessions. The change requires an amendment to the state constitution.

Idaho legislators were frustrated last year when they felt they should have returned to Boise to deal with pandemic-related issues. But the state’s constitution doesn’t allow the legislature to call itself back for a ‘special’ or ‘extraordinary’ session. Only the governor can do that. Eventually, he did call lawmakers back in August, but, to their chagrin, he dictated the issues they would discuss.

Jason Monks: “This is the only way we can have some assurance that we’ll be able to be part of the process. If we don’t have this in place, I think we’re forcing ourselves to be here longer," said the measure's floor sponsor, Rep. Jason Monks [R-Meridian].

The resolution approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives allows the legislature to call itself back when 60% of legislators from each chamber submit written requests to convene. They must also specify which issues they want to consider.

The House approved the bill Tuesday, 54-to-15. The Senate has already approved it by more than the required two-to-one margin, since it’s a proposed constitutional amendment. The measure wouldn’t go before voters until November 2022.