Sunday, March 9, 2014

Replacement Lawmaker Bill Comes Before Idaho Senate Monday

Posted By on Sun, Mar 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

It's common practice for Idaho's citizen legislature to turn to other citizens to temporarily sit on committees—and occasionally vote—when lawmakers need to be away from the Statehouse for extended periods of time.

But what's not common is what occurred in January when Post Falls Republican Rep. Frank Henderson needed to take time at home to recuperate from a broken hip. Henderson turned to a colleague, John Chambers, who filled in for the legislator for three weeks in the Idaho House.

The problem is that Chambers doesn't live in Henderson's district, Idaho Legislative District 3.

"This was a true mistake. I truly thought I was in his district," said Chambers, who explained that he lived only 180 feet away from the district's boundary.

But Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini doesn't want this scene repeated. And on Monday, March 10, the Idaho Senate will take up Nonini's Senate Bill 1370, which requires lawmakers to verify that any replacement indeed be qualified to serve that district.

The measure would amend Idaho Code, saying "no person may be designated or serve as a temporary substitute unless the person may, under the Idaho Constitution and statutes, hold the office of the legislator whose powers and duties the person is designated to succeed, which shall be verified by the legislator."


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