BOISE -- After the 2014 Idaho legislature adjourned on Thursday, most lawmakers will now be getting ready for the May Primary elections. But some campaigning started well before the end of the session with so-called litmus test bills.
Votes for those bills could help conservative incumbents get a leg up on their challengers in the May primaries.
(They are) bills that are designed to ferret out who are the 'real conservatives,' said KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby.
Weatherby said there weren't as many as he expected this session. But, there were a couple. First, he points to the bill that became a law that will allow guns on college campuses.
That was an NRA-backed bill, and that would be an NRA-scored bill. And, that could make a difference in some primary races, particularly for legislators in northern Idaho.
Second, he points to the religious freedom bill, that would've protected religious business owners who refuse to serve gays, lesbians and others. That one didn't get out of the House of Representatives.
There may have been rumblings coming out of, and people may have heard them from Arizona, where there was so much national attention, said Weatherby. Then, there was just a desire to step back. I don't know all the reasons for that, but I suspect we'll see it again.
He adds that he's surprised that a couple litmus tests didn't even show up this session, namely, a Common Cores standards rejection and repeal of the health insurance exchange.
That shows the strength of leadership to put some things on the agenda and other things are excluded.
Now voters have a little more information on the incumbents. But it will be up to voters to do their research on the challengers.
This is going to be one of the most significant Republican primaries we've had, Weatherby said.
There will be some heated races in the Democratic primaries, as well. But because they can't make the agenda in the Statehouse, Weatherby says, they can't really write litmus test bills.
The primaries are coming up on May 20th.