Sunday, May 3, 2009

House Democrats oppose adjournment stunt

The Idaho House adjourned "Sine Die" (without a planned date to meet again) shortly before 9 p.m. on April 29, over the objections of House Democrats, the Senate and Governor Butch Otter.

House Minority Leader John Rusche said "I don't believe it's constitutional," and reminded his colleagues that when the Senate attempted to adjourn without concurrence of the House in 1980, they were not permitted to do so. "The legislature is a team, Senate and House yoked together to do their work and move the state forward," Rusche said. "The legislature is constructed to have a balance of power between the houses and both 'balance' and 'power' are important parts of the phrase."

"We all feel an intense desire to serve the needs of our districts," Rusche added. "One of those needs is to have a government that works. I don't see how this motion promotes that value. Working government requires personal interaction and compromise. I don't see that the unilateral action this motion puts into place serves the value of good, working government."

Democrats held a news conference the following morning to further explain why we believe it's Republican power struggles - even more than the impasse over transportation funding - that have prolonged the legislative session, now the second-longest in state history. See video highlights of it here.

The House will have to be back at work Monday, May 4, because the Senate did not concur with its adjournment. Since Republicans hold 76 percent of the seats in the legislature and the governor's chair, it is primarily up to them to resolve their differences and bring this session to a close.