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Thursday, July 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Execution secrecy bill stalls, acting chairman says it’s ‘not ready for prime time’

Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, says as acting chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he’s decided not to grant a hearing to SB 1005, the bill from the state Department of Correction to add additional secrecy around state execution procedures. “I talked to a number of people, and many people, including myself, had some concerns about the breadth and scope of the legislation,” Hagedorn told Eye on Boise this afternoon. “Even the department came in and said, ‘Yeah, we do maybe need to re-look at that.’ I think it’s just not ready for prime time.”

The bill sought to make secret the names of anyone involved with an execution and the source of lethal drugs used, along with “any information where the disclosure of such information could jeopardize the department's ability to carry out an execution.” It was introduced on Jan. 21 at the request of the department.

“It was good to get it out there and to get some people talking about it and to get the concerns laid on the table,” Hagedorn said. “And now we’ll take that, and maybe they’ll come back next year with something a little more amenable.”

Hagedorn is the vice-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the chair, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, has been out since the start of the session due to illness. She initially thought she’d just be gone a week, but then named a substitute when it turned out she needed more time. “She’s been very ill, had a couple surgeries,” Hagedorn said. “We’re just hoping and praying she’s going to recover and get back to us.” Hagedorn said he’s been in touch with Lodge a couple of times by text. “She needs to focus on healing, and we’ll take care of day-to-day business,” he said. “She has told me she has all faith and confidence in me, so I’m going to continue doing what I do until she comes and smacks me.”

Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said he visited Lodge on Saturday and she was at home and doing well. "She's just recovering," he said. "I expect probably about a week from today she should be back."

Hagedorn's decision was first reported Monday by idahoreporter.com. Hagedorn said once Lodge returns, she could decide to hold a hearing on SB 1005 if she wanted to. “She has every right to do so,” he said.




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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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