A new version of SB 1198, the closed primary bill, has been introduced and sent directly to the full House, on a party-line vote in the House State Affairs Committee. The new version has just one change from the previous one, at the urging of Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa: Rather than specifying that the chairman of a political party would notify the state as to whether that party's primary will be closed or open, it now just says the party will do that. “My concern was the way the language was written and according to testimony, that essentially a party chairman could override … and actually close or open the process unilaterally,” Crane said. The new wording was negotiated with senators, he said.
The move means the original bill, SB 1198, is dead - it'll be held in committee - and the new version replaces it, but it now needs passage in both houses, as lawmakers push toward adjournment this week.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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