Lengthy legislative session raises specter of a government shutdown

The marathon 2021 legislative session has state officials worried about a possible shutdown of some state agencies.

The shutdown could affect paychecks for some 20,000 state employees, and raises questions about whether state police officers and other first responders can stay on the job, Clark Corbin of the Idaho Capital Sun reported Thursday.

“There are some real and substantial consequences we are looking into,” state Division of Financial Management head Alex Adams told Corbin.

The problem comes down to the timing of the end of the legislative session, as Corbin reported. Under the state Constitution, “No act shall take effect until 60 days from the end of the session … at which the same shall have been passed, except in case of emergency…”

The new state budget year begins on July 1 — 61 days from today. And since the legislative session will stretch at least into next week, it’s unclear how that timing issue could affect budget bills and employee paychecks.

The Idaho House has passed House Bill 376, which says all legislation from the session would go into effect on July 1, regardless of when the session adjourned. But the Committee to Protect and Preserve the Idaho Constitution, a group co-founded by former attorney general and state Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, has questioned the constitutionality of HB 376, Keith Ridler of the Associated Press reported this week.

The Legislature will reconvene Monday for Day 113 of this year’s session. The longest session in state history occurred in 2003, and stretched for 118 days.




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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