State Politics

How to be a lawmaker 101: Idaho’s newly elected officials head to boot camp

Boise mayor wants a local option tax; the Legislature doesn’t. Would an initiative work?

Five Treasure Valley mayors speak at a forum by the Idaho Statesman and Boise State Public Radio.
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Five Treasure Valley mayors speak at a forum by the Idaho Statesman and Boise State Public Radio.

Twenty-four newly elected Idaho lawmakers start three days of comprehensive training Monday at the Capitol in preparation for the start of the 2019 legislative session on Jan. 7.

The intensive, all-day 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, house rules and standing committees, decorum and civility guidelines, working with lobbyists and the media, interest conflicts, sunshine laws, and parliamentary procedure.

Nearly one-quarter of the 105-member Legislature will be new.

The freshman group includes 15 Republicans and six Democrats in the House and two Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate. Of the 24 new members, 17 are men and seven are women.

Overall, the Senate comprises 27 Republicans and seven Democrats; the House comprises 56 Republicans and 14 Democrats.

Who will fill one Senate seat is still unknown. A Boise District 15 recount starts Monday to determine whether incumbent Republican Sen. Fred Martin will retain his seat. The initial vote tally had Martin leading his Democratic challenger, Jim Bratnober, by just six votes.

Treasure Valley’s six new lawmakers include:

  • District 11 Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Caldwell, replaces Republican Christy Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress after four terms

  • District 14 Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, replaces Republican Marv Hagedorn, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor after three terms

  • District 15 Democratic Reps. Steve Berch and Jake Ellis, both of Boise, replace six-term Republican Lynn Luker and three-term Republican Patrick McDonald, respectively, after defeating them in the general election
  • District 16 Rep. Rob Mason, D-Boise, replaces Democrat Hy Kloc, who retired after three terms

  • District 18 Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise, replaces Democrat Phylis King, who retired after six terms

Following three days of training, House and Senate caucuses will hold an organizational session on Dec. 6 to select their respective leadership positions and committee chairs.

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