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Idaho legislature adjourns for the year

File photo of the Idaho Capitol Building in Boise
File photo of the Idaho Capitol Building in Boise

The Idaho House and Senate re-convened in Boise Thursday to see whether lawmakers could muster the support necessary to override six vetoes issued by Gov. Brad Little. Only a few hours later, the chambers ended their business for the year with all six vetoes intact.

The Senate tried to override Little’s veto on Senate Bill 1381, which would have banned employers from imposing coronavirus vaccination requirements for one year. Little called the measure governmental overreach into the private sector. The chamber fell three votes short of the required majority.

Without taking a formal vote, the House decided not to challenge Little’s veto of House Bill 782, which would have changed the makeup of Idaho’s judicial council.

Lawmakers opted not to take on four other vetoed measures, which included bills that would have changed the state’s public school funding formula, expanded eligibility for bonuses intended for teachers, and updated property tax assessments for self-storage facilities. The final measure, the budget plan for the state’s Office of Information Technology Services, was sent back to a finance committee after Little objected to its cybersecurity provisions.

House and Senate leaders had planned to wrap up business last Friday, March 25. Instead, they paused their work after hammering out eleventh-hour agreements on pending budget matters and made plans to return today.

Shortly after the chambers adjourned Thursday afternoon, Gov. Brad Little, who is running for re-election this year, took a victory lap in the form of a statement touting legislative support for his 2022 agenda.

“In all my years, I have never seen a more successful legislative session that produced so many positive results for the people we serve,” Little wrote. “We achieved what I never thought we could – ‘the trifecta’ – which is record tax relief, record education investments, and record transportation investments in one year.”

Little wasn’t the only figure turning from the business of the legislative session to focus on campaigning. House Speaker Scott Bedke issued a similar statement highlighting his run to become Idaho’s next lieutenant governor.

The legislature was in session for 81 days this year. It took up no new bills in its final day.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.