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Eye On Boise

Wed., Feb. 13, 2013, 10:40 a.m.

House freshmen band together for clout

Here’s a link to my full story at on how 16 Idaho GOP House freshmen have banded together on the health insurance exchange bill, saying if their changes pass, they’ll back Gov. Butch Otter’s state exchange. That’s close to enough votes to put the governor’s controversial measure, SB 1042, over the top in the highly conservative Idaho House; the bill is now pending in the Senate, after clearing a Senate committee last week on an 8-1 vote.

Among the reaction to the freshman reps’ move: House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “We’ll be talking about this bill in our caucus. … I think this is good work from good legislators who are saying … we want to have our voice heard, so we’re going to find a way to make it louder.” Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, said the freshman lawmakers’ move wouldn’t sway his group from its vocal stand against Otter’s bill. “It’s still very, very bad,” Hoffman said. “We’re still opposed.”

Another interesting note: The 16 freshmen said they may weigh in, en masse, on other issues in the Legislature as well.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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