North Idaho Republican Heather Scott faces a possible formal reprimand from House leadership and her caucus for telling another female lawmaker in a public outburst last month that women rise to leadership posts in the Legislature only through sexual favors.
Scott, R-Blanchard, made the remark to Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, at the legislative reorganization meeting Dec. 1. Boyle had just learned of her appointment to chair the House Agriculture Committee.
According to witnesses, Scott, upon hearing of Boyle’s appointment, angrily commented that female lawmakers obtain ranking committee appointments and other leadership positions only if they “spread their legs.”
The incident resurfaced this week as the Legislature convened its 2017 session. The comment, made in the House lounge, stunned Boyle and other lawmakers who heard it, according to witnesses.
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Scott allegedly repeated the comment later in the House chambers. She has denied making the remark but faces a possible reprimand for violating rules against representatives disparaging the body or its members.
Several witnesses confirmed the incident but none would comment publicly because of its sensitive nature. House Speaker Scott Bedke and other Republican House leaders also declined comment, as did Scott and Boyle.
Scott did tell the Statesman: “I don’t think you’ve got it right.”
The conservative lawmaker and tea party activist, who won her second House term in November representing Idaho’s northernmost district, has stirred controversy before. She displayed the Confederate battle flag at a community parade in 2015 and visited the occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon last year.
She also recently launched a website to promote legislative priorities that include positions such as repealing the state health insurance exchange, banning abortion at six weeks, declaring Idaho a “sovereign state” and amending the state’s “Castle Doctrine” to expand self-defense claims for homeowners who shoot intruders.