Two Senate committee meetings that had been scheduled for 1:30 today have been canceled, the Commerce Committee meeting and the Transportation Committee meeting. Both had started to assemble in House committee hearing rooms because their regular Senate meeting rooms were blocked by an “Add the Word” protesters blockade, but the chairmen were trapped in their office suites by the blockade. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said, “The meetings will be rescheduled.”
A fairly large crowd had assembled for the Commerce meeting, which had two high-interest bills, one regarding limiting payday loans and one regarding workers compensation for firefighters, up for hearings this afternoon. Winder announced to the crowd that the meeting would be rescheduled, and that “people that had traveled long distances to testify could either return or they could submit their testimony in writing,” he said; he had been in touch with the committee chairman to confirm that.
No arrests have occurred as of yet. “Our policy is not to be confrontational with them,” Winder said of the protesters, who are holding photos of two gay teens from Pocatello who committed suicide, one last week and one in 2011.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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