Eye On Boise

Senate panel kills House-only bills

The Senate Finance Committee meets Monday to kill 14 bills introduced by its House counterpart, the House Appropriations Committee, without going through the usual joint budget committee process. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
The Senate Finance Committee meets Monday to kill 14 bills introduced by its House counterpart, the House Appropriations Committee, without going through the usual joint budget committee process. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

The Senate Finance Committee has voted unanimously to kill 14 budget bills that were written by the House Appropriations Committee, then passed by the House, without going through the usual joint budget committee process. Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, cited two laws and several formal rules of the joint committee that the process violated. "I felt they were outside the statute," he said. "As imperfect as the joint committee might be, it's still one of the best systems in the nation." In Idaho, budget bills are written by the joint committee, which is half House members, half senators, and then they go to both houses for approval. Other states use other systems; in Washington, for example, each house writes its own budget, and then a conference committee hashes out the final deal behind closed doors.

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, said he thinks Idaho's joint budget committee system needs to be honored. "It's an efficient and effective process for developing budgets and approving budgets," Hammond said. If the House-only appropriation bills were to stand, he said, "I think it'd be a disservice to all the citizens of Idaho."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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