by Andrew Crisp
Unda' the Rotunda was relaxing on a couch outside the House chambers, as they went at ease just now in order to ship some representatives down to the garden level for some more work. Those on the Ways and Means committee boogied down to the Garden Level for a last minute approval of the texting while driving bill that made it through the Senate.
The Capitol resembles a zoo today, with legislators breezing through legislation in order to get out of the building by 3 p.m. Some of them even have flights booked for 6 p.m.
"We're gonna do everything we can to try to get done today," said Rep. Mike Moyle of Star, the House Majority Leader.
Sen. Bart Davis, the Senate Majority Leader, thinks finishing up today is less likely.
"I don't know how to call it right now - I'm hopeful, I'm not optimistic."
Everybody not stuck in the Senate or the House is milling about, trying to keep track of the slurry of bills leaking out of the chambers, voted on and sent off to their fate.
Nick Draper of the Idaho Falls Post Register gave an unofficial tally of the number of bills considered by 11:42 a.m., at 30.
Both chambers have gone at-ease and back in order multiple times, haphazardly wrapping up the state's business, including honoring the pages that have served in the second half of the session. During these suspensions, bills that have been amended, or have been fast-tracked through final committee hearings, get finalized in anticipation of votes from all the members.
We've already seen a party-line vote on raises for elected officials in the Senate State Affairs committee, which met this morning.
The committee also heard a bill, HCR 64, a memorial that calls for another amendment to the Constitution, per Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, through his legal counsel, David Hensley. The proposed amendment calls for "a change to the U.S. Constitution to prevent Congress from passing laws requiring citizens of the United States to participate in any health care program, or penalizing them for declining health care coverage."
This comes after State Affairs voted in favor of a bill that would amend the constitution to reinforce the 10th amendment, and to broaden the commerce clause.
Update: At noon, Sen. Davis broke the bad news—the Leg. will come back Monday. He expressed concerns that they'd been pushing too hard. He was met with applause from the body. Moyle summed up in the House:
"We've got a lot to do in the next little bit and we're gonna keep pushing."