With Medicaid, K-12 budgets still on docket, Idaho legislative session to continue next week

Idaho Senate still has more than 50 bills and 30 appointments to act on

By: - March 24, 2023 11:47 am

Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Republican legislative leaders missed their nonbinding target to wrap up Idaho’s 2023 legislative session on Friday.

The Idaho House of Representatives essentially finished its business Friday and adjourned until Tuesday to allow the Idaho Senate time to address the more than 50 bills and 30 pending gubernatorial appointments that were backed up on its reading calendar. 

Before adjourning for a long weekend, Idaho House Majority Leader Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, called out the Senate for only addressing a couple of bills an hour. Blanksma said the Idaho House won’t have any more work it can do until the Idaho Senate acts on bills and sends them over to the House. 

Additionally, the Senate State Affairs Committee didn’t finish its agenda Friday, and will reconvene next week to consider late-session bills.

GOP legislative leaders had targeted Friday as the deadline to wrap up the session since before it began Jan. 9. The Idaho House and Idaho Senate have been conducting multiple lengthy floor sessions for the past couple of weeks in an attempt to meet the deadline. But with lengthy floor debates breaking out and sporadic periods of going at ease, the Idaho Senate only passed a couple of bills during its morning floor sessions Wednesday and Thursday as the deadline loomed.


Idaho Legislature must still pass most state budget bills before it can adjourn

Friday was the 75th day of the 2023 session. There is no requirement to adjourn the legislative session, which generally runs between 75 and 85 days but can vary in length.

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Despite the late date, the Idaho Legislature has not yet passed most of the 2024 fiscal year state budget — at least in terms of dollars. The state’s largest budgets — the K-12 public schools budgets and the Medicaid budget that has now been rewritten twice — have not been taken up yet. 

Friday, however, started with a lighthearted moment. The Idaho House voted 61-2 to designate the oryctodromeus as the state dinosaur following a brief, playful debate.

The Idaho Senate had previously voted unanimously to designate the oryctodromeus as a new state symbol, so the proposal now goes to Gov. Brad Little for final consideration. The oryctodromeus was discovered in Idaho, and Idaho State Paleontologist L.J. Krumenacker and local elementary school students advocated for legislators to designate the new dinosaur, Boise State Public Radio reported.


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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.