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Eye On Boise

Budget crunch precludes any new interim committees for second year

For the second year in a row, the Idaho Legislature will have no new interim committees this summer  due to the state's budget crunch. Interim committees are the panels lawmakers form to study issues in-depth, take testimony, hold hearings and develop proposed legislation in advance of the legislative session. “Not that there aren't some issues that need to be discussed, but they're not vital at this point and can be deferred until the budget looks better,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg.

The Legislature will continue its two existing, multi-year interim committees, the Natural Resources Interim Committee, which this year likely will look at cottage-site and state lands issues, among others, and the Energy, Environment & Technology Committee, which has been focusing on energy issues. It also still has a Health Care Task Force. Interim committees typically include lawmakers from both houses and both parties, to lay the groundwork for major legislation in ways that can't be done during Idaho's typical three-month legislative session.

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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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