ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here
Archive

Eye On Boise

House panel introduces rule change to boot leaders who get DUIs

A deeply divided House State Affairs Committee voted this morning to introduce legislation proposed by Rep. Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise, to amend House rules to say that any member of leadership who is convicted of a DUI or drug offense would lose his or her leadership post. “It basically says if you're a member of leadership in your current term, if you're found guilty of a DUI or a drug offense, you're not eligible to complete that current leadership term,” Ellsworth told the committee. “I believe that it creates a standard, it puts it in place so that issues don't come into play when a situation arises. I like the idea of a standard.”

Earlier this session, the Senate Republican Caucus voted to keep its Majority Caucus Chairman, Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, in his leadership post despite his DUI conviction last spring. The proposed new House rule wouldn't apply to the Senate; just to the House.

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, asked, “Why are we just focusing on DUIs? Why not assault and batteries, misdemeanor reckless driving - there's a whole lot of other things that could be included in here too.” Ellsworth said she'd be open to amendments to expand the rule change. Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, said, “I'm wondering what's the motivation… for bringing this forward.” Ellsworth responded, “There's certainly a debate currently in the bluilding, but I think the significant thing, as I sat back and listened to things that happened in the news, I realized that the lack of standards creates a situation where you have to evaluate personalities. I just don't want that. … I believe a standard in this area is appropriate for a leadership position.”

Anderson noted that the Legislature currently is looking into overall ethics issues, and Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls, said, “It appears to be sort of the flavor of the month, and I wonder what will spawn from this rule change. Does it then become those who consume alcohol cannot serve in leadership posts? I have some concerns. I just wonder how much as a body we want to reduce the size of the tent, and in this case, I think we're kind of putting a bouncer at the door of the tent. I think this thing does need reworked based on the comments that I've heard.”

Simpson offered a substitute motion to return the proposal to its sponsor, but it failed on a close, 8-10 vote. The committee then agreed on a divided voice vote to introduce the measure. Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, said, “I want to thank Rep. Ellsworth for bringing this forward. I think it's going to insure the integrity of our institution.”
  


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

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

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Eye On Boise.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here