Marc Johnson has an interesting look today at the legislative substitute rule – which is unique to Idaho – that allows lawmakers to name temporary replacements to fill in for them; two are doing so now, with Sen. Bob Nonini’s wife, Cathyanne, filling in for him in the Senate, and North Idaho businessman John Chambers filling in for Rep. Frank Henderson, both temporary moves due to health-related issues.
“No other state has such a provision,” Johnson writes at his “Johnson Post” blog. “Several states, Washington and for example, have guidelines for how a legislator can be replaced when military service is involved, but no other state allows a legislator on their own motion to designate a replacement. In the 2013 session in Oregon, for example, a very senior state senator was seriously injured in an automobile accident and missed weeks of the session as a result. Her seat, as would be in the case in the U.S. Congress, just sat empty. That is not how it works in Idaho.”
Then Johnson, who served as chief of staff to Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, shares a story about a 1994 incident in which a legislative substitute played a key role in a legislative outcome – and later in a politician’s career. You can read his full post here.