The House has just announced its new committee assignments and chairmanships, and the new GOP leadership team decided to keep Democrats at just two seats on the House portion of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee – the same number that Democrats held last year before they picked up six House seats.
“I think we’ve been totally fair with them,” Denney said, noting that overall, Democratic seats on committees match their representation in the chamber. “Certainly you can argue that JFAC is more important,” he said. “It’s my decision. … I don’t look at it as retribution, I think it’s fair. I think what we gave them is fair.”
Democrats strongly disagreed. “This is a breach of trust,” House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet told the House. “We won our seats, you won your seats. … It is political. It is mean-spirited.” Rep. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said the move effectively disenfranchises tens of thousands of Idahoans who went to the polls and elected Democrats this year, increasing their numbers in the House.
Democrats then stood and walked out of the House chamber en masse, as Republicans stayed seated.
House Assistant Minority Leader George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, said, “If this continues, it’s going to be a very tough session and a very contentious one, and I’m very disappointed that they chose to go this route. I guess it’s a reflection of the political agenda of the new leadership.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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