There were 11 House members absent in that last vote, concurring on the cigarette tax amendments. House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, just explained that: “Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for members of the body that are down on the first floor negotiating the GARVEE issue.”
Negotiations between the governor and the House in the standoff over Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s highway bonding legislation started before 9 this morning, and have been going for nearly two hours at this point. Denney requested that the House be set at ease until the negotiators return – presumably with a deal.
House Speaker Bruce Newcomb said if the House negotiators aren’t done by noon, the House will take a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. “So just stick around close, and keep your ears and eyes open, because we’ll need a quorum when we begin again,” he told lawmakers.