Did Democrats boycott lunch with ISBA?

Senate Democrats “boycotted” a legislative luncheon with the Idaho School Boards Association this afternoon, to protest a series of controversial collective bargaining bills.

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Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise

Or so says one of the Democrats, Branden Durst of Boise. But Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett says Durst may have misspoken.

Durst sent out the following message on Twitter Tuesday afternoon: “The ID Senate Democratic Caucus boycotted todays luncheon with the ID School Boards Assoc. as a sign of solidarity with voters and teachers.”

The ISBA is pushing seven labor bills, including several that contain components of Proposition 1, rejected by voters in November. The Idaho Education Association opposes several of the bills.

But did the Senate’s seven Democrats stage a concerted boycott?

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Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum

“It was not a consensus of the caucus,” Stennett, D-Ketchum, said Tuesday. “I would not have called it a complete caucus boycott.”

Stennett said she did not attend the ISBA’s luncheon, saying she’d had a longstanding conflict.

Durst was in a committee meeting Tuesday afternoon and was not immediately available for comment.

“The ISBA are sorry the Senate Democratic caucus chose not to spend this time having valuable discussions with their locally elected school board members and administrators,” ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria said in a statement. “We thank those House Democrats who were able to attend.”