After the most extended legislative session in state history, the Idaho Senate adjourned for the year. The 122-day session featured sparing, a covid spring break, vetoes, a failure to override the vetoes, and finally, the Senate said goodbye for the year. The year marked a victory for Conservative legislators who succeeded in waking up the state universities.

Higher Ed Felt the Pain

In past sessions, higher ed was given a pass. Still, thanks to Ed Humphrys, who championed the elimination of Critical Race Theory taught in Idaho Schools, higher ed has to adjust its attitude. In addition, their budget was cut by two million dollars. The cuts and debate in the legislature sent a message that intolerance towards Conservative students will no longer be tolerated.

Something better than Nothing?

Property tax relief was passed but not to the extent that most Idahoans were hoping for this session. The Homeowners exemption was raised from $100,000 to 125,000. Experts agree that this rise will not compensate homeowners for the expected increase in property taxes that most are receiving now.  Ada County property taxes are expected to rise by a record 25% reports Channel 7.

Once again, the once promised repeal of the state repressive grocery tax failed to gain traction during this session. The lack of dissolution will continue to frustrate voters who were pledged to eliminate the tax during the last two campaign seasons.

Stage 4?

Governor Little did sign bills that will allow the legislature greater involvement in future 'emergencies.' The state announced this week that Idaho is now in Stage 4. Without legislative pressure, when will the governor declare the current state of emergency over?

Governor Little issued his thoughts on the session via press release:

 “This was a truly historic legislative session in many ways – some good, and some not as good. I have spent my time as Governor listening to the people about their expectations of state government and how we can deliver on what’s really important to them. Fully funding schools, addressing the impacts of unprecedented growth by investing in our roads, and supporting individuals, families, and businesses through responsible tax policies top the list. I believe the people of Idaho vote for their elected officials with the expectation they will prioritize the issues that impact their day-to-day lives. I was able to secure legislative support for historic tax cuts, historic investments in transportation and other critical infrastructure, and a financially solvent state budget.

 

“This is the longest legislative session in Idaho history. That’s not something anyone should aspire to happen. This is Idaho, not Washington, D.C. Our citizens expect legislators to get in, do the work of the people, and leave expeditiously. That is what the Idaho Constitution intended. I appreciate the Idaho Senate for upholding the spirit of the Idaho Constitution and voting to adjourn.

 

“An unknown end-of-session date and important work left undone create major dysfunction in state government, namely with the implementation of administrative rules. I know that’s not an exciting topic, but it comes down to the nuts and bolts of state government and our ability to provide service to Idahoans. My executive administration and I will find ways to make state government function and move forward – as we have before – but it will cost time and money.

 

“I recently received a note from a mayor whose grandpa, Jack Murphy, served as Idaho Lieutenant Governor for eight years until 1975. When he left the Senate chambers for the last time, he said, ‘There can be no personal victory or triumph for those who serve here. There can be no individual defeat… The only victor when we are wise – is Idaho. The only victim if we are unwise – is her People.’

 

“The people of Idaho have a lot to celebrate for what we accomplished for them this session, but in other ways we can do much, much better.”

Campaign Season Begins

Now that the session is over, we will begin to see many folks run for a higher office. Will we see a match-up featuring the lieutenant governor vs. the governor in next year's primary? Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Humphrys joins Kevin Miller Friday morning to discuss his challenge to Governor Little.

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