Gov. Butch Otter’s traditional post-legislative presser will be a little later than usual this year.
Otter will meet with reporters at 10 a.m. Thursday to discuss the 2015 legislative session. (For those who want to tune in, the news conference will air on Idaho Public Television’s Idaho in Session page.)
In past years, Otter has met with the media a few hours or a day or so after the session’s adjournment. Timing was no doubt a factor this time around; the 2015 session wrapped up their business at 1:36 a.m. Saturday morning. And while Otter was in his Statehouse office late Friday night as the Senate and House pushed through an end-of-session transportation funding bill, an after-midnight news conference might not have been the mostly widely attended of Otter’s political career.
So why the delay?
The defeat of a child-support bill was a factor, spokesman Jon Hanian said Monday afternoon.
In the final hours of the session, a House committee killed a child-support bill that jeopardizes $50 million in federal funding and access to federal tools the state uses to enforce some 155,000 child-support cases statewide. House Republicans have been publicly squabbling about the bill’s demise in committee, and on Monday, the Department of Health and Welfare said the state has 60 days to remedy the situation.
There is considerable speculation that Otter will be forced to convene a special session to run the bill again. At this point, said Hanian, Otter is in fact-finding mode. “We are analyzing the impacts of the committee’s actions and what they mean for the 400,000 people who depend on Idaho’s system,” Otter said in a prepared statement issued Monday afternoon.
Another factor in the timing: Otter hopes to take final action on most major pieces of legislation before meeting with reporters Thursday morning.
There may not be that much left for Otter to say about K-12 issues. He has already held public signing ceremonies for two of the high-profile education laws of 2015 — a career ladder to boost teacher pay and an anti-bullying law. And on Friday, to no great surprise, Otter signed the seven K-12 budgets that closely mirrored his original request for a 7.4 percent spending increase.