Idaho’s next legislative session still will be cramped in its temporary quarters, but lawmakers have decided to add some relief – in the form of eight flushing porta-potties. Otherwise, the session would have pitted lawmakers, lobbyists, citizens, reporters, visiting schoolchildren, staffers and others in competition for just 19 toilet stalls, less than half the 44 they’re accustomed to at the state Capitol.
Surprisingly, the 19 existing stalls actually meet building code requirements for up to 475 people, though state Rep. Margaret Henbest, D-Boise, said it “doesn’t seem like enough.” Of the 19, only six are designated for women. Four aren’t designated, and the rest are for men. A legislative committee this week voted to add the eight portables, which will go just outside the temporary Statehouse inside a heated, enclosed canopy, at a total cost of about $6,000. The committee weighed a pricier option, a trailer with permanent plumbing, but opted for the portables instead. If they turn out not to get much use, they can be returned with no fuss.
House Majority Caucus Chair Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, said, “I think we’ll adapt pretty easily. … I’ve suggested a couple of times it’s just like going on a camping trip for a couple of years.”