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Education Bill Roadblock Stalls Idaho Lawmakers' Spring Break

"It's Easter and the pro tem has asked me to be sensitive to that."


Any plans that Idaho lawmakers had for not returning after Easter ended up a basket of rotten eggs late Wednesday, when the Idaho Senate failed to pass a K-12 public education budget. The proposed spending plan went down by a one-vote margin.

The bill, which had already passed through the Idaho House, now presumably must be sent back to the Legislature's budget-writers: the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, which thought it had wrapped for the year.

During the Senate debate, it became apparent that the proposed education budget was doomed, when some lawmakers pushed back, saying the bill included elements that were similar to the previously rejected Students Come First education laws, including earmarked funds for technology and teacher pay-for-performance.

"This ignores the will of the voters," said Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. John Goedde.

Rupert Republican Sen. Dean Cameron, JFAC co-chair, indicated that the stall will probably add another week to the session, as the budget writers regroup.

When Idaho Falls Republican Sen. Bart Davis, Senate Majority Leader took to the floor Thursday morning, he turned to his colleagues and urged them to "smile through the day."

"It is Easter and the pro tem (Sen. Brent Hill) has asked me to be sensitive to that," said Davis, before announcing the Senate would probably adjourned no later than 11 a.m. on Friday to allow lawmakers ample time to get home for the Easter weekend.