State Politics

Idaho’s newest lawmakers start their orientation

Orientation begins for new legislators

Idaho's newest crop of lawmakers started a three-day immersion into the state legislative process on Monday.
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Idaho's newest crop of lawmakers started a three-day immersion into the state legislative process on Monday.

Eighteen freshly minted Idaho lawmakers, along with a smattering of returning legislators perhaps seeking a refresher, began three days of orientation for new officeholders Monday in preparation for the 2017 session.

The intensive sessions cover all aspects of the legislative routine including administrative nuts and bolts, bill-drafting and the legislative process, budgeting and appropriations, state codes and session laws, the Legislative Services Office and other resources for lawmakers, house rules and standing committees, decorum and civility guidelines, working with lobbyists and the media, interest conflicts, sunshine laws, and parliamentary procedure.

Three of the new crop hail from Southwest Idaho: District 11 Rep. Scott Syme, R-Wilder, replaces Gayle Batt, who stepped down after three terms; District 13 Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa, follows Curt McKenzie, who ran unsuccessfully for Supreme Court after seven terms; and District 14 Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, follows her husband, Reed, who stepped down after three terms.

What are their expectations on getting up to speed in the Legislature?

“I think it will be like drinking from a firehose, quite honestly,” DeMordaunt joked before Monday’s session. “I do kind of know what this looks like, but I also know I’m the newbie.”

Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, officially welcomed the new crop by sharing his own sense of reverence for the business conducted under the Capitol dome.

“I love walking the halls late at night, just before you go home and hardly anybody’s there, and thinking about the things that have taken place within these walls,” Hill said. “Whether you add to that spirit or detract from that spirit, is going to depend on your attitude, how you want to work with your colleagues.”

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, delayed from attending with ranch business at home, offered a short admonishment to the newcomers, delivered via his assistant, MaryLou Monitor: “Pay very close attention.”

The group of 14 representatives and four senators includes Mark Nye of Pocatello, moving up from the House to the Senate. District 6 Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, returns to the seat she won in 2012 but lost in 2014.

Republicans picked up three House seats and one Senate seat in this month’s elections to broaden their supermajorities in both houses. The next session of the House will have 59 Republicans and 11 Democrats. The Senate will have 29 Republicans and six Democrats.

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @IDSBillD

New Idaho lawmakers

18 new lawmakers include one moving from House to Senate

Dist.

House /

Senate

Legislator

Succeeds

Party

change

4

House

Paul Amador, R-Coeur d’Alene

Kathleen Sims

No

5

Senate

Dan Foreman, R-Moscow

Dan Schmidt

(R) gain

6

House

Thyra K. Stevenson, R-Lewison

Dan Rudolph

(R) gain

6

House

Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston

John Rusche

(R) gain

7

Senate

Carl Crabtree, R-Grangeville

Sheryl Nuxoll

No

7

House

Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird

Shannon McMillan

No

8

House

Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley

Merrill Beyeler

No

11

House

Scott Syme, R-Wilder

Gayle Batt

No

13

Senate

Jeff C. Agenbroad, R-Nampa

Curt McKenzie

No

14

House

Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle

Reed DeMordaunt

No

23

House

Christy Zito, R-Hammett

Rich Wills

No

23

House

Megan C. Blanksma, R-Hammett

Pete Nielsen

No

26

House

Sally Toone, D-Gooding

Donna Pence

No

28

House

Randy Armstrong, R-Inkom

Ken Andrus

No

29

Senate

Mark Nye, D-Pocatello

Roy Lacey

No

29

House

Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello

Mark Nye

(R) gain

33

House

Bryan N. Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls

Linden Bateman

No

35

House

Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony

Paul Romrell

No

House membership: 59 Republican, 11 Democrat

Senate membership: 29 Republican, 6 Democrat

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