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Eye On Boise

Luker bill amendments won’t be taken up this week, as House takes a ‘thoughtful pause’

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said after the House adjourned this morning that amendments to HB 427 won’t be taken up in the House this week. “I think we’re taking a thoughtful pause at this point,” Bedke said. The bill still could come up for amendments, he said. “It could get called back to committee. There could be another bill. There’s a whole bunch of things that could happen.”

Bedke said the decision to hold off today was made by House leadership, in consultation with House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, and Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, the sponsor of the controversial religious freedom expansion bill. Luker, however, said, “I was ready to go.” He said the speaker informed him this morning of the leadership decision to hold off.

Bedke said, “I personally think we have time to address this issue, and I think this issue is a much larger issue than that encompassed in 427. … Obviously, there’s strong emotion on all sides of this issue, and the emotion may be so high that there isn’t a good path forward, but if there is…” He said House Republicans may address the issue in a caucus as soon as tomorrow. Bedke said the delay wasn't because the Lincoln Day ceremonies ran long; it wasn't because new amendments were being prepared; and it wasn't because the gallery was full.

“We’ll have closure to this issue one way or the other,” Bedke said. “I think we need to collect our thoughts. … I’m not offering hope to either side. This is a good, old-fashioned pause.”

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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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