There were three votes on HB 84, the bill to make it easier to form community college districts in Idaho – a key initiative of new Gov. Butch Otter. The measure would’ve lowered the supermajority to form a new district from two-thirds to 60 percent if the vote took place in a general election. In the House Rev & Tax Committee this morning, the first vote on the bill came on an amended substitute motion from Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, to send the bill to the full House without recommendation – after it appeared likely that a motion to send it with a recommendation that it “do pass” wasn’t going to fly. “I think the full House deserves the opportunity to debate it,” Jaquet told the committee. “There’s a lot hanging on this.” That caused Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, to grumble, “We should just do away with the whole committee system and do it all out on the floor. … This is what we make the big bucks for.” Jaquet’s motion failed, 7-11.
Then, the committee voted on a substitute motion from Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, to hold the bill in committee. Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, speaking in favor of Barrett’s motion, said, “If there’s a two-thirds majority for the other elections, why not have a two-thirds majority in this election to protect the taxpayers of the state?” He even proposed striking the 60 percent clause from the bill, though sponsor Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, said that would “gut” the bill and committee chairman Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, said that was the substance of the bill. Barrett’s motion failed on a tied, 9-9 vote, with Lake and Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, voting “no” though they had opposed the previous motion.
Then, the committee voted on the original motion, Smith’s motion to pass the bill. Lake voted in favor, but Wood voted against, and the motion failed, 8-10. “The bill’s dead,” Lake said.