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Eye On Boise

In odd moment, House attempts adjournment

Here's the sign a House delegation left on a Senate office door on Wednesday night:
Here's the sign a House delegation left on a Senate office door on Wednesday night: "See ya later, gone home - Sincerely, Best wishes, The House" (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

In one of the strangest moments yet in this year's most unusual legislative session, the House finished its calendar and attempted to adjourn sine die, which means without a day to come back. But when the House sent its formal delegation to the Senate to inform it that the House was adjourning, no one was there - it was nearly 9 at night. "There wasn't anyone around other than the security," Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, reported back to the House. "We were told that they have left the building. Oh, Mr. Speaker, we did leave a note on the door."

The note, taped to the door of a Senate office, said, "See ya later, gone home - Sincerely, Best wishes, The House." Then, when the House GOP leadership placed the motion to adjourn sine die, Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, rose and debated against it. "I do not support this motion and this action by the House majority," Rusche said. "First, I don't believe it's constitutional." A 1980 Idaho Attorney General's opinion found that one house can't adjourn sine die without the other's concurrence, and in such cases, must come back in session in three days, he noted. "We cannot be adjourned sine die except in the regular legal manner," Rusche declared. House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, responded that the constitution allows "three days - that's not three hours or three minutes," and therefore, "This motion is fitting and proper at this time. Our business is finished." A loudly divided voice vote then approved the motion to adjourn.



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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