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Absent Idaho Legislators: The Flu, One Broken Hip and Two Resignations

The 2014 Idaho Legislature convenes Monday, Jan. 6, when Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter delivers his State of the State Address at 1 p.m.

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A quick glance across the House and Senate galleries will reveal that a number of legislators will be missing—some due to health problems, others due to resignations.

Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini was hospitalized in mid-November after suffering complications related to the flu. Nonini's family asked for privacy so there have been few updates on his condition. But apparently, Nonini needs more time to heal and has confirmed that he won't be at the Statehouse Monday. Nonini is in Boise but will still be recovering in the opening days of the session, while his wife stands in for him at the State Senate.

"I'm still wearing an IV bag," Nonini told the Coeur d'Alene Press, but declined to elaborate on his condition.

Meanwhile, Post Falls Republican Rep. Frank Henderson says he'll be sending a substitute to the Legislature as he continues to recover from an injury he suffered in December while vacationing in Hawaii. The 91-year-old Henderson said he broke his hip and has asked John Chambers to sit in for him while he continues to recover.

In Boise's District 18, Democratic Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking will be sworn into the State Senate. She's taking over the seat that was vacated by former Sen. Branden Durst, who resigned due to family reasons.

That means District 18 Democratic committee members will be nominating a replacement for Ward-Engelking in the House. Their short list of three candidates will go to Otter, who will choose the replacement.

Meanwhile, in Boise's District 15, the House seat of Republican Rep. Mark Patterson will be open on Monday. But when Patterson chose to resign, he decided that the resignation would not be effective until several hours before Monday's launch of the legislative session.

District 15 Republican committee members are anxious to create a short list of candidates to replace Patterson, but they can't meet until the resignation is effective. They're now expecting to meet next week, on Thursday, Jan. 9, or Friday, Jan. 10.