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Viewpoint: Previewing the 2023 legislative session

BSU political science professor discusses the politics, procedures, power brokers and possible big issues this session
Credit: KTVB

BOISE, Idaho — A new year means a new legislative session for Idaho's 105 representatives and senators. The first session of the 67th Idaho Legislature starts Monday January 9 with Governor Brad Little's State of the State Address. His inauguration for his second term was Friday January 6 on the State Capitol steps.

When lawmakers convene for the 2023 legislative session the Republicans will once again hold a super majority in both chambers. Here's how it breaks down. The State Legislature's website shows Republicans hold 28 seats in the Senate. The Democrats hold only 7. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 59 to 11. There has also been a lot of turnover in the legislature because of redistricting and retirements. There will be 40 new legislators among the 105 total.

Boise State University Professor of Political Science Dr. Stephanie Witt described the possible impact of having 40 brand new lawmakers in the legislature.

"Sometimes when there is a big block of new legislators they band together and insist on change, or try to disrupt the system a little bit," Dr. Witt said. "Typically and traditionally new legislators are at the bottom of the seniority list. So they would have to wait a few years before they're really commanding a lot of attention and a lot of new legislation. But you never know. If they come in and they really want to make a big impact, this is something we see more in Congress where we've had a couple of times where a large cohort of new people come in. So, I'm not sure that the 40 new ones are all of a type, but if they're not anxious to wait their time in seniority, we may see them make an impact right away."

On this Viewpoint Dr. Witt also discusses the political make-up of the two chambers of the legislature, the leadership roles and some of the potential big issues this session, including property tax reform, abortion and public education funding.

Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock Idaho's NewsChannel 7.

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