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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

House adjourns, Bayer apologizes

The House has adjourned for the day, but first, Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, apologized to the House for the distribution earlier today, just before the House was to vote on HB 346, his last-minute bill to lift the charter school cap, of bright yellow fleece scarves with a "National School Choice Week" logo on them. That prompted objections and a vote to table the bill - a move that halts its progress unless it's withdrawn from the table by a two-thirds vote - on ethics grounds.
Bayer called the incident a "series of unfortunate events," and said, "I want to be the first to admit I understand and respect the vote on the motion to table in regard to that bill. ... I respect the implications of that vote." Bayer said he gives "total benefit of the doubt to those involved regarding their intentions," and said he's long had concerns about materials being distributed to lawmakers. "It was a misjudgment," he said.

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, the House minority leader, said every member of the House received one of the fleecy scarves shortly before the bill was to be debated, and "it was distasteful." He said, "Most of my caucus called me to say, 'What is this? What are they trying to do?' That's why I went forward with it." Rusche said House rules require anything distributed to include an identification of which legislator is distributing it and what bill it affects. "There were no identifying characteristics, other than the logo we saw on the scarf," he said.

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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