The Idaho Senate came back into session today, and after some pointed words aimed at Gov. Butch Otter over a message he sent lawmakers on a school budget bill, recessed until 3:30 this afternoon, just like the House. Both parties will caucus at 1 p.m.
Recessing until 3:30, Winder said, “just keeps our options open on any actions that might come up from the 2nd floor, or any things that the House might do.”
Winder said afterward that he doesn’t know if the Senate would consider an override vote on Gov. Butch Otter’s veto of HB 501, which the House is now considering. “That I don’t know,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re going to have our caucuses.”
He said, “We need to come back at 3:30 and just reassess.”
In addition to the issue of HB 501, Winder said lawmakers are concerned that the governor has objections to HB 658a, the anti-trespassing bill that was heavily amended in the Senate before winning final passage and heading to the governor’s desk. “What’s being discussed, is if you could actually identify the things he does not like, you may be able to get the bill redrafted and get it taken care of, and do it in a timely manner,” Winder said, since lawmakers still are in session. “But part of the discussion is … how important is that,” he said. And whether it’s worth hanging around for another day,” or perhaps more.
For now, Winder told the Senate, “We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen this afternoon, but I think we can all plan on being around here ‘til at least 5:30 tomorrow afternoon. The situation is fluid, what the House may or may not do. They’ve already got one vetoed bill.”
On the education budget bill that Otter allowed to become law without his signature – complaining that it was structured in a manner that didn’t allow him to exercise his line-item veto over an $11 million increase in discretionary funds for school districts – Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa, asked for unanimous consent to waive the full reading of the governor’s message, and simply file it. “It’s my understanding that we’ve budgeted in this manner for the last 45 years,” Agenbroad said. “Thank you, Mr. President.” No one objected.