Bair steps away from Senate; VanOrden to return to Legislature

Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot

Sen. Steve Bair, the co-chair of the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, is taking a leave of absence.

And that will lead to some shuffles.

Former House Education Committee Chair Julie VanOrden will return to the Legislature.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Agenbroad will take over as JFAC co-chair.

Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press and Clark Corbin of the Idaho Capital Sun reported on the shakeups Tuesday.

Bair, R-Blackfoot, is stepping aside “because of family issues and things he’s dealing with,” Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, told Russell.

Julie VanOrden

Agenbroad will step up from vice chairman to co-chair JFAC, alongside a fellow Nampa Republican, Rep. Rick Youngblood.

Sen. Carl Crabtree, R-Grangeville, will take Agenbroad’s place as a JFAC vice chair. Crabtree had served as vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, but he will vacate that post for the leadership position on JFAC.

VanOrden, R-Pingree, served in the House from 2012 until 2018, chairing House Education during her final two-year term. She was ousted in the 2018 GOP primary by current Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot.

VanOrden now sits on the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, which authorizes most of the state’s charter schools.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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