The House adjourned in the middle of debate on the informed consent abortion bill, SB 1482, after House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet of Ketchum and the other Democrats walked out in protest of comments made by bill co-sponsor Rep. Bill Sali, R-Kuna.
“It’s kind of an indication of the last days and the hot tempers,” said House Majority Leader Lawerence Denney of Midvale.
Jaquet objected to Sali’s mentioning of studies that link breast cancer to abortion. A breast cancer survivor, Jaquet said she knows that the link has not been proven.
“If it’s not a good study then we should not be using it,” Jaquet said.
House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, R-Burley, put the House at ease and talked with Jaquet, Sali and Denney.
Newcomb said to Sali, “Why stick your finger in people’s eyes?”
The debate continued, and Sali again cited the studies. Jaquet was seen leaving the House chamber, followed by the other members of her party. Procedural rules mandate that both parties be present on the floor if the House is in session, Denney said. The only way to continue the discussion would have been to essentially put the House on lockdown and “arrest” missing lawmakers, Denney said, and he didn’t think that was needed.
“We probably should allow a cooling off period, and we have to come back on Monday anyway,” Denney said.
Jaquet later said she was just getting a tissue.
Newcomb spoke with reporters about Sali, saying “That idiot is just an absolute idiot…He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole frickin’ body, and you can put that in the paper.”
Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said he walked out to support his party.
“We have enough of people twisting the truth in closing debate, but to be called on and do it again,” he said, trailing off.
“I don’t think the system is properly presenting the issue,” said Rep. Mike Mitchell, D-Lewiston.
The Senate and House are both adjourned until Monday.