Gov. Butch Otter has signed major legislation into law to impose party registration in Idaho and close the state's primary elections if parties choose to exclude anyone other than those registered as party members; he quietly signed HB 351 into law yesterday. Also, the same day, Otter quietly signed SB 1202 into law, making a $100,000 payment to the Idaho Republican Party for its legal fees in its successful lawsuit against the state that overturned the state's current primary election law as unconstitutional, because it kept the GOP from closing its primary.
Also, on Monday, Otter quietly signed all three “trailer bills,” bills that trail after and amend others, to amend the three already-signed education reform bills, SB 1108 on teacher contracts, SB 1110 on teacher merit pay, and SB 1184 on technology, by adding emergency clauses. The emergency clauses ensure that even if voter referenda qualify for the ballot in a bid to overturn those laws in the November 2012 general election, they aren't blocked from taking effect between now and then.
At 10:30 this morning, Otter will give his take on the legislative session in a press conference; it will be streamed live on the Internet, and you can watch here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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