BOISE, Idaho — On Tuesday, House Bill 226 became a hot topic on the House floor of the Idaho State Capitol Building when it was opened to debate. The bill, which would allow Idaho to use about $6 million in federal grants for expanding kindergarten access across the state, failed 34-36.
Some of the House Republicans voted against the bill over concerns of "social justice ideologies" that could be in the curriculum and it "indoctrinating" Idaho's children.
Rep. Charlie Shepherd (R-Pollock) also came under fire for his remarks on mothers' role in early childhood development. He has since apologized, saying, "I stand before you now to admit that I failed miserably" when he spoke on the House floor on Wednesday.
One Democrat in the House voted for the bill once and against it once in hopes that would keep the bill alive for reconsideration.
Rep. John McCrostie (D-Garden City) voted in favor of House Bill 226 the first vote of the bill but switched his vote to no at the last second to avoid having the bill die in a tie since the Speaker of the House isn't allowed to break tied votes.
"The clerk will lock the machine and record the pairs," he explained. "And so what I did by changing my vote at the very last second from yes to no, that put me on the prevailing side."
He said by doing this, he had a little more time to try to gather enough votes to get the bill passed. The last-ditch effort was not successful since no Republicans said they would change their votes.
"Because I was on the prevailing side then what the rules allow is to make a motion to reconsider, which basically puts the same bill back up for a vote," McCostie said.
"If we don't use [the federal funding] it's going back to the feds and some other state is going to get it so if it's going to go to a different state, why not just keep it in Idaho?" he added.
Representatives could get another shot at passing the bill but it has to return as something different since lawmakers are not allowed to reintroduce the same bill twice in the same legislative session.
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