Now that it’s all said and done, here are the numbers on this year’s legislative session: In 78 days, there were 816 pieces of legislation drafted, 620 of which were introduced, and 359 passed. Every one of those became law; there were no vetoes, though Gov. Butch Otter withheld his signature from five of them, he still allowed them to become law.
Compared to past sessions, this year set records for the lowest number of bills drafted and introduced in the past decade - perhaps in part because legislative leaders warned in advance that anything that cost money likely wouldn’t be considered - but, oddly, the number that became law is actually higher than last year’s figure of 344. Last year, lawmakers were in session for 117 days, the second-longest session in Idaho history. This year’s 78-day session was the third-shortest in the past decade, eclipsed only by the 69-day session in 2004 and a 68-day session in 2002. Both those years yielded more new laws: 389 in ‘04, and 370 in ‘02.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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