Posts tagged: Lawerence Denney
Former House Speaker Lawerence Denney is the new chairman of the House Resources Committee. “I told Scott that I want to do anything that I can to help him be successful, and if a chairmanship was what he wanted, I'd do that,” Denney said. New Speaker Scott Bedke, who ousted Denney as speaker on Wednesday night, said yesterday that he wanted a “substantive” role for Denney, saying with the high number of freshman lawmakers in the House this year, “I feel very strongly that we don't have the luxury to not use our experienced legislators, including Rep. Denney.”
Denney, shown here talking with new House GOP Caucus Chair John Vander Woude, R-Meridian, said he considers the Resources Committee among the most important in a state like Idaho, but doesn't yet have specific issues he wants to address there. “It's still pretty new for me,” he said.
Denney said, “I think the founding fathers made this process a great process by having this organizational session a month before we started the regular session, to give us all a month to acclimate ourselves.” This year's session will include “some very substantive issues that we need to deal with, and with all the new people, I think it's going to start very slowly … while they're all learning the ropes,” he said.
For now, he said, leaving the House floor to head downstairs, “I've got to get down there and get trained to be a chairman.”
The Idaho House is back in session this morning to continue its organizational session; it just briefly convened before recessing. “We're almost done, trust us - we're almost there,” Majority Leader Mike Moyle told the House. “Stay close,” he said. “We'll recess for a few minutes.”
House GOP leaders are hoping to finalize committee assignments by 11 a.m. or so.
Before the House recessed subject to the call of the chair, House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, stood and said, “I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and my caucus to offer my respects and thanks to the former speaker for the service he gave the House of Representatives.” The House then gave outgoing Speaker Lawerence Denney a standing ovation; he stayed in his seat, emotions playing on his face.
New Speaker Scott Bedke said he hopes to wrap up the business of committee assignments and chairmanships today, but it could go into tomorrow.
Idaho newest state legislators are on the job today, attending the first day of orientation for the record-tying 2013 Legislature's freshman class of 44. As they arrived for an opening lunch, many were greeted in the Capitol basement hallway by Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, who's among three candidates vying for House majority caucus chair. In a large basket, she had energy bars for each new representative, from either party, along with a cheery welcome note saying, “A little something to help you keep your energy up this week.” Here, at right, Perry presents one to new Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d'Alene, telling him, “You're going to need plenty of energy.”
Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, and House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, welcomed the group at a lunch in the Capitol dining room, to kick off an afternoon devoted to sessions on legislative process, staff, the state Capitol and administrative procedures; the orientation continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Hill told the large group, “Can you believe it - you're here? And you have this kind of a responsibility?” He said, “It's really an honor for us to be here. With that honor comes a lot of responsibility as well.” Hill asked the new lawmakers to each introduce themselves. “I feel like the first day of school - excited,” said new Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise. “I even got a new tie.” New Rep. Paul Romrell, R-St. Anthony, said, “As the pro-tem said, just to walk into this place - it gives you chills.”
Denney, who's fighting to keep the speaker's post in a challenge from House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, told the group he wanted to “welcome you all to the goldfish bowl,” saying, “Everything you do here is going to be observed.” Said Denney, “I can tell you that there's a lot of opportunity to do things that really don't bring honor to you.”
Referencing the frequent evening receptions sponsored by lobbyists and interest groups, Denney said there's plenty of opportunity to imbibe too much. “If you drink too much, I'm going to give each and every one of you my cell phone number, because I will come and take you home,” Denney promised. He also advised new lawmakers to use the restroom at every opportunity during sessions, “Because you never can tell when there might be a call of the House, and the doors are locked and you can't get out.”
As Election Day approached, Moscow Republican House candidate Cindy Agidius noticed her campaign account filling with money from prominent GOP lawmakers, from districts hundreds of miles from hers in northcentral Idaho, AP reporter John Miller reports. House Speaker Lawerence Denney of Midvale chipped in $1,000 from an internal GOP account, while Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star gave $500. Cash from Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke of Oakley and Rep. Christy Perry of Nampa also went into her coffers.
“It was always interesting to see where the money came from, especially since I didn't ask for it,” Agidius, who won Nov. 6 by just 123 votes, told the AP. More than a show of support for a partisan colleague in a tight race, however, this election cash infusion for Agidius and dozens of other Republican candidates across Idaho underscores the tense internal House GOP fight now being waged for leadership posts; click below for Miller's full report previewing Wednesday's hotly contested House GOP leadership elections.
The Twin Falls Times-News reports today that House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, has publicly announced his run for Speaker of the House, taking on current Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale. “It's time for a change,” Bedke told the newspaper. Leadership elections will take place at closed-door party caucuses Dec. 5, on the even of the 2013 Legislature's organizational session Dec. 6. Last week, Denney told the Idaho Statesman that he planned to “aggressively” campaign to keep his leadership post. You can read the Times-News' full report here from reporter Melissa Davlin.
House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, told Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey today that he's planning to “aggressively” campaign for another term as speaker - though popular Assistant majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, also is seeking the post. “The game is on,” Denney said. “We know the players.” The campaigning starts Sunday at the Legislature's North Idaho tour, which runs through Tuesday in Lewiston and Moscow and which nearly all lawmakers are expected to attend; you can read Popkey's full post here.
House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, is poised to do something Idaho hasn't seen in 30 years, reports Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey: Defeat the top leader of a house of Idaho's Legislature. Popkey reports that Bedke is in good position to challenge weakened House Speaker Lawerence Denney, who's served three terms as speaker; such a toppling hasn't happened since 1982, when Jim Risch beat then-Senate President Pro-Tem Reed Budge. Denney has drawn fire for targeting sitting GOP lawmakers in the primary; unsuccessfully attempting to fire his own appointee to the Idaho redistricting commission, former state Rep. Dolores Crow, R-Nampa; and unceremoniously dumping two House committee chairmen on the last day of the 2011 session for insufficient loyalty.
Popkey reports that the well-liked Bedke has contributed to 14 incumbent Republicans and nine newcomers, building good will in his caucus ahead of the Legislature's organizational session Dec. 6; you can read his full column here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's House Speaker says he will not call for an ethics investigation into whether Rep. Tom Loertscher benefited personally from a bill he helped kill during the 2011 Legislature. Speaker Lawerence Denney said Thursday he doesn't believe Loertscher acted inappropriately or gained financially by burying a bill designed to clarify the process of abandoning public roads. Loertscher is a Republican from Iona and is suing in state court to have old roads that provide public access across his ranch declared private. But last week, the Post Register reported that Loertscher took his case to court weeks after using his authority as chairman of the State Affairs Committee to derail a bill that would have required counties to hold public hearings before vacating roads. Idaho law also allows individual House members to request an ethics investigation.
Over the holiday weekend, the Idaho Falls Post Register broke a story about House Speaker Lawerence Denney and House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, sidetracking and killing a bill regarding disputes over county roads, while Loertscher and former state Sen. Stan Hawkins were in the midst of a dispute over county roads in Bonneville County - they filed a lawsuit in April seeking to declare three designated county roads there as private, over the objections of neighbors who no longer would be able to use them. The Post Register is calling for an ethics investigation; you can read their Sunday editorial here and the Friday article here by reporter Emma Breysse.
A GOP lawmaker from North Idaho has filed a new ethics complaint against Rep. Phil Hart, saying Hart’s 1996 theft of state school endowment-owned timber, claims of legislative immunity and tax protesting show he’s violated his oath of office.
Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, calls Hart’s actions a “stain” on the House and says he should be removed from office. “I’m a little frustrated with leadership right now because they haven’t taken action,” said Anderson, a third-term representative who just won a fourth term in the House. “The speaker should have done something a long time ago.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney says he’s made a decision on the unanimous recommendation from a special House Ethics Committee to remove Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, from the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, but he’s not yet ready to announce the decision because he wants to talk with Hart first. With the upcoming North Idaho legislative tour, which starts Sunday, Denney said, “I think we’ll have an opportunity.” Once that occurs, he said, he’ll issue a press release.
Here’s a new item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — House Speaker Lawerence Denney will wait until after Tuesday’s election to announce whether he’ll allow state Rep. Phil Hart to remain on a key tax policy committee. A House ethics committee recommended Hart, a Republican from Athol, be removed from House Revenue and Taxation Committee while he wages a constitutional battle with the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission over hundreds of thousands in income taxes. Denney says he spoke with Hart a week ago, but that an announcement on Hart’s membership on the legislative tax panel would be premature — until the election is past. Hart originally ran unopposed, but Howard Griffiths announced he’d take on the three-term GOP representative, on grounds that Hart is shirking responsibilities that most other residents fulfill. Reached in Athol, Hart told the AP his tax challenges will keep him busy but that he’s not yet ready to announce what he plans to do about his committee membership.
The Idaho House speaker who single-handedly killed legislation this year to require personal financial disclosure from the state’s elected officials now says he won’t do it again. “In the upcoming session, if it comes back, I think we will try to make sure that it gets the full hearing and see where it goes,” said House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale.
The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate unanimously and was drafted in part by Gov. Butch Otter’s office, died this year when Denney held it at his desk and never assigned it to a committee for a hearing. Recently, Idaho was again ranked last in the nation for its financial disclosure requirements for lawmakers. Jon Hanian, spokesman for Otter, said, “We’ve worked on this issue in the past and we’re going to continue to work on it.” Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, “I applaud the speaker for his willingness to make progress on this legislative concept in the upcoming year, and look forward to working with” the House on the measure. You can read my full story here at www.spokesman.com.