Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Legislature

Putnam photo

2010 Legislative Session Ends

Boise--The Idaho Legislature wrapped up its 2010 cash-strapped session just after 9-pm Monday night. The session lasted 78 days, compared to last year’s 117-day marathon.

On the final day House and Senate Republicans passed a resolution demanding that Congress amend the U.S. Constitution to ban health care mandates. They also passed a bill that federal control over Idaho-made firearms that stay within state borders.

The session ended with accolades for fellow lawmakers the cut across contentious party lines. The Senate honored retiring Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, who is not seeking re-election.

Lawmakers also acknowledgement that the state’s economic troubles — its general fund budget for fiscal year 2011 was slashed by $122 million — the meant many difficult decisions and doubled the workload of legislators.

Dean Cameron, R-Rupert and co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, was presented the Idaho flag that flew above the Senate dome this session. Cameron stressed that he couldn’t have done it without the hard work of his JFAC co-chair, Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, “She’s a fine lady,” Cameron said of Bell. “She’s a classy lady.”

The 78-day session marked the shortest since 2002, that session lasted just 68 days. The night time adjournment kept lawmakers at their desks until well after dark but the House took a dinner break with a make-shift pizza party.

Just after 8 p.m., Rep. Maxine Bell gave a speech on the House floor about a bill that allows Otter to tap into reserves to balance the current fiscal year budget if necessary. The bill passed and the short, contentious, busy legislative session came to an end to handshakes and hugs.

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