2017 Idaho Legislature: Late consensus on roads caps session marked by infighting
The silver lining in the snow-laden storm clouds in Idaho this past winter might be that the weather’s crippling impact on state roads got the Legislature to find its wallet for major infrastructure repair and reconstruction.
That plan for roads and bridges, along with a repeal of the sales tax on grocery food, were the stand-out accomplishments of the session. But only one may live on after lawmakers head for home: Gov. Butch Otter, departing from his customary mid-session reticence, weighed in to oppose the grocery tax repeal before lawmakers voted on it. His veto is widely expected.
An 80-day legislative session went three days past its predicted end date as lawmakers struggled in the final weeks to reach agreement on rival tax cut measures and the highway finance plan. The last big lift was the roads bill, which passed both houses on Tuesday.
Aside from those efforts, lawmakers slogged through a quirky, meandering session dogged by uncertainty over how the power shift in Washington, D.C., would affect state issues such as health care, and insidious GOP infighting in the House that poisoned relationships and repeatedly slowed proceedings or brought them to a dead stop.