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Eye On Boise

Sore over telemedicine abortion case, House members move against Wasden’s budget, but fall short

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, made an unsuccessful motion in the House today to reconsider SB 1158, the Idaho Attorney General’s budget, which had passed the House earlier this morning on a 40-30 vote and headed to the governor’s desk. “I think there’ a couple things that we can fix to clean it up quite quickly,” Giddings told the House. “I think the body should hear it.”

Her motion failed on a narrow, 34-36 vote.

Giddings said afterward that she had some technical concerns about the budget, including funding a new position out of an existing litigation fund, and she thought that could be easily fixed with an additional appropriation for the position. But that wasn’t what was on mind of many of the House members who voted against the budget this morning or supported the reconsideration motion.

Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said he was upset about the telemedicine abortion bill that lawmakers passed two years ago, but then had to repeal this year, pursuant to a settlement, or have a federal court declare it unconstitutional in a precedent-setting ruling. “He absolutely threw in the towel,” Loertscher said of Wasden, “plus did not consider any of the stuff that we talked about in the Legislature, when we went before the court.”

Loertscher said, “On that particular bill, we spent an awful lot of time working with the A.G.’s office trying to make sure we got it right. … It was extremely painful for this body, especially when we thought the Attorney General would have our back in some fashion.”

Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, also cited the telemedicine abortion bill in his debate against the budget bill earlier in the morning.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said his office "aggressively defended the state" in the case; you can read his full statement here.

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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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