A proposed constitutional amendment, to enshrine in the Idaho Constitution the Legislature’s ability to review all state agency rules, drew enthusiastic, bipartisan support in the House today. Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, who proposed the amendment, said the Legislature currently can do that – uniquely among states – because of a court decision. “We’re making sure that we put this into the Constitution so that we do have this ability into the future,” Loertscher told the House.
Rep. Cindy Agidius, R-Moscow, said, “As a freshman legislator, I think this was the most interesting thing that we were introduced to last year. ... We really can make a difference in the lives of our constituents. … It really is the grassroots of lawmaking.” Idaho lawmakers spend roughly the first three weeks of each year’s legislative session reviewing agency rules, which they can accept or reject; that allows them to ensure that the rules match the intent of the legislation that prompted them. Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, said, “It’s too bad that Washington, D.C. does not follow the same path.”
The House voted 67-0 in favor of HJR 2, easily exceeding the required two-thirds margin. The constitutional amendment still needs two-thirds approval in the Senate and a majority vote of the people at the next general election to take effect.