Big changes coming to 2013 Legislature

Credit: KTVB

The Idaho Capitol will reopen to the public this Saturday. A rededication ceremony is set for noon on the south steps.

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on April 1, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 8:10 AM

BOISE -- With the 2012 Idaho legislative session in the books, people are already looking to next year where we're sure to see several new faces at the Capitol.

"Idaho usually always sends us good replacements," said Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.

The assistant majority leader knows there will be plenty of replacements in the Idaho Legislature in 2013. Nine Democratic and Republican senators are retiring, along with another 16 representatives. Also, 10 House members will try to switch to the Senate.

"When you have that much turnover, things are going to look differently," said Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston. "Policies and procedures may change."

Change may also come to the makeup of the statehouse. Analysts have said that moderate Republicans could be replaced by hardline Republicans, meaning the Statehouse could shift further to the right ideologically.

But they also say the GOP, which already held an 85-20 advantage, could pick up some seats too.

"We've got both a primary and a general election ahead of us," said Majority Leader Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls. "We'll see after that what we have."

But Republicans themselves aren't counting their chickens until they're hatched.

"My prediction is, I'm going to go out and work very,very hard for every Republican candidate," said Gov. Butch Otter.

Democrats aren't sure how the elections will shake out in the Statehouse either. But they say after controversial women's health bills were championed by the GOP that their party could be the one picking up seats.

"Over the last three weeks the number of people that have e-mailed and said, 'Let me know how I can help,' that I've never heard from before, that I know aren't Democrats, has been significant," Rusche said.

Rusche also talked about how the Republicans' primary, closed for the first time ever this year, will present some opportunity and challenges to Democrats and moderate Republicans. Analysts say these upcoming primaries will be some of the most important Idaho has ever seen. They happen on May 15.

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