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Unusual Idaho legislative session ends in uncharted ground

The Idaho Senate voted to officially adjourn while the House voted to only recess.

BOISE, Idaho — The longest ever Idaho legislative session has been filled with unusual events and ended in uncharted ground shortly before midnight Wednesday. 

The Idaho Senate voted to officially adjourn while the House voted to only recess.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon says that means the House could potentially call itself back into session this year and force the Senate to return as well. 

The Republican-dominated Legislature has been in a months-long battle with Republican Gov. Brad Little over balance of power issues involving coronavirus pandemic restrictions. 

The session included a two-week break when COVID-19 sickened six House members, and a freshman Republican lawmaker resigned amid rape allegations. 

Governor Brad Little said no one should aspire to be the longest session in state history like the legislature did this year.

"This is Idaho, not Washington, D.C. Our citizens expect legislators to get in, do the work of the people, and leave expeditiously," the Republican governor said in a statement. "That is what the Idaho Constitution intended. I appreciate the Idaho Senate for upholding the spirit of the Idaho Constitution and voting to adjourn."

He added that having the legislature not have a definite sine die date, or scheduled end to the session, could "create major dysfunction in state government, namely with the implementation of administrative rules."

While not a necessarily interesting topic, the governor said, administrative rules shape how the state government functions and it "cost time and money" for Little's administration to ensure the government continues operating as needed.

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