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Politics & Government

Idaho Democrats Reflect On End Of Legislature

Otto Kitsinger
AP Images
Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, speak to reporters about the upcoming 2017 legislative session at the State Capitol building Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 in Boise, Idaho.

The state legislature wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, less than a week after leadership had hoped to adjourn.

The minority party went into this legislative session on its heels after losing four seats in the November election. Out of 105 House and Senate members, only 17 were Democrats.

According to House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, the party has focused on three things since the session began in January: education, economy and quality of life. Epelding told reporters Wednesday that Democrats represent the moderate middle at the statehouse, and pointed to a bill to reform the civil asset forfeiture system which received bipartisan support.

But Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett expressed frustration about their inability to fill the health care gap without support from Republicans. The majority party has repeatedly turned down federal funds through Obamacare to expand Medicaid in Idaho. Stennett says for some uninsured Idahoans, waiting another year to see what happens to healthcare on a national level is not an option.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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