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Eye On Boise

Re-vote passes Election Day liquor bill

Sen. Lee Heinrich, who had voted on the prevailing side – against the bill – served notice that he’d ask for reconsideration of HB 348a, the bill to end Idaho’s longstanding ban on Election Day liquor sales (though the state has long allowed beer and wine sales despite polls being open). Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, who had given a stirring debate against the bill focusing on the sanctity of Election Day and the role of elections in a free society, then moved to have the reconsideration vote occur immediately. That prompted the Senate to go at ease, and there was much head-scratching and consulting of rule books before determining how to proceed. By that time, both Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, and Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, were back in the chamber – both weren’t there for the earlier tied vote that killed the bill.

Because of parliamentary rules, Hill was obliged to vote for his motion – to reconsider – but then changed his vote to no. Still, it passed 20-14. Then, in the new reconsideration vote on the bill, it passed, 18-16. Schroeder and Stennett voted in favor; Heinrich stuck with his earlier vote against. In fact, no senator changed his or her vote, but the two who had been missing in the first vote put the bill over the top. In his final debate, bill sponsor Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, said he agreed with Hill about the sanctity of elections. But, he said, “There’s also celebration – and celebration can be a political celebration, it can be an athletic celebration, it can be a religious celebration. It’s just how we individually choose to do that.” The bill, having received final passage, now goes to the governor. Click below to see who voted which way.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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