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News >  Idaho

Suit to force treasurer from Statehouse office can continue

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 6, 2019

Associated Press

BOISE – A lawsuit brought by Idaho legislative leaders seeking to force the treasurer out of her first-floor office in the Statehouse can move forward, a judge ruled Friday.

Fourth District Court Judge Nancy Baskin didn’t rule on the merits of the case but said the legislative leaders have standing to sue.

A 2007 law allows the Legislature to decide what is done with the first, third and fourth floors of the building. Legislative leaders want to use the space for offices for House members, who say they have little privacy in their current offices when consulting with constituents.

The judge said the case doesn’t involve the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches and doesn’t require the court to consider a political question.

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke and Republican Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill sued in June after Treasurer Julie Ellsworth refused to move out of her office.

Ellsworth, citing the Idaho Constitution, responded by requesting the lawsuit be dismissed, which the judge rejected.

“Judge Nancy Baskin made it clear in her decision that everything the treasurer claimed in her motion to dismiss was totally without merit,” Bedke said in a statement. “We now hope that she, as treasurer, will reprioritize her use of the treasury and stop interfering with the law.”

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