The House and Senate both convened on Wednesday afternoon to end the 122-day legislative session. The Governor had to act by 11:00 am on all the bills that the legislature had passed and sent to his desk. Governor Little signed all the bills that had been delivered to his desk. There was speculation that he may not sign the bills limiting his power. Those bills did not limit the Governor’s ability to manage emergencies in the future.
The only other issue was how to end the session. Usually both the Senate and the House agree to adjourn Sine Die. That is a Latin term meaning “without a date”. This year the House has not wanted to adjourn because they have wanted the ability to call themselves back into session. The House has wanted to be able to appropriate any new money that might come from the Federal government.
The Senate, in their wisdom, voted to adjourn Sine Die at about 11:00 pm Wednesday evening. The House had a vote to adjourn Sine Die and it failed. I voted to adjourn Sine Die. We then voted to recess until December 31st or when the Speaker would call us back into session. The House recessed at 11:30 pm ending the longest session in history. The Senate adjourned and the House is in recess. What happens next? This has never happened before. There is no case law and so a court may decide the fate of the first regular session of the 66th Legislature.
I’m sure that you will continue to read about this session. We struggled with the issue to end the emergencies or limit the Governor’s powers and funding Education. Like most issues, time heals a lot of wounds. The pandemic seems to have run its course. I’m sure this is as a result of several things. First there are thousands of people who have had Covid-19 and recovered and now have some immunity. Secondly, we have thousands of people that have been vaccinated. Regardless of your stance on masks, I’m sure that masks, isolation, and social distancing helped slow the spread. My condolences go out to the hundreds of families that lost members as a result of COVID-19.
I have stated all year I did not want to change statutes to limit the Governor’s ability to manage in times of emergency until we had this crisis behind us. I believe that we should reflect on what worked and what we could have improved upon before we make major changes to statutes that have served Idaho well for over 130 years.
One issue that there will be no additional peridium paid to legislators. I want to thank you for the opportunity that I have had to represent you for the last 13 years. This was the most difficult session that I have experienced. It is good be home and I look forward to visiting with you when our paths cross.