BOISE -- The first regular session of the 65th Idaho Legislative Session adjourned sine die on April 11th.
It was the 95th legislative day, tying it for the third longest session in Idaho legislative history.
"If it seems like a long session, it's because it has been a long session," Sen. Steve Vick (R-Dalton Garden) said on the Senate floor.
Also on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder pointed to several legislative accomplishments, including funding for schools (starting teacher pay, the career ladder); requiring workers compensation to cover post-traumatic stress for first responders; consumer protection for those using solar energy; funding for water and other natural resources projects; and funding for Medicaid expansion.
“We did accomplish a lot of good things,” Winder said.
Democrats agreed there were accomplishments, but also frustration, such as the controversy over legislation adding work and other requirements to the Medicaid expansion initiative passed by voters.
“It’s important that we celebrate our positive achievements of the session, House Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel said. “But we also must reflect on the less positive aspects of this session in the hopes that the public can be better served in the future. I cannot remember a session that did more damage to the faith of people in their government, or that was so consistently marked by the Republican Majority’s total disregard for the will of the people of Idaho.”
Before lawmakers wrapped up their work, Sen. Vick also shared some facts about this year's session.
The Senate introduced 108 bills prior to the bill introduction deadline. After the deadline, 106 bills were introduced in the Senate.
Vick said that the 214 bills introduced in the Senate this year are about midday of what the Senate has introduced historically. The most ever was 236; the least was 175. Odd years have seen more bills introduced than even-numbered years. In the House, 133 bills were introduced before the deadline, and 174 after the deadline passed, he said.
While the session may well be remembered for its length and its acrimony, there was at least one other moment of history, as well.
Idaho’s first female lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, spoke to the Senate before adjournment.
"I want to express to you how much I appreciate the kindness and the respect that you all have shown to me and helped me in this new learning process,” McGeachin said. “It truly has been an honor and a privilege to preside over this body."
McGeachin also included a limerick:
“There once was a girl with a gavel
All this girl wanted to do was travel
With this in mind
This girl thought it was time
To bang the sine die gavel.”