Local Party Officials To Idaho Gov. Little: Let Us Choose Legislative Replacements

Feb 7, 2020

A bill that effectively cuts the governor out of the process of filling a vacant legislative seat is headed to the Idaho House.

Right now, when a legislative seat is empty, local party officials in that district send the governor three names of people they want to take that office. A bill passed out of the House State Affairs Committee Thursday would require districts to send only one name.

Some Republican officials have been miffed that the top picks from these local districts have been passed over recently, including last month’s appointment of Rep. Tim Remington (R-Coeur d’Alene), who was the third choice.

Assistant House Majority Leader Jason Monks (R-Nampa) said it’s not appropriate for the governor to have this kind of say over what should be a local decision.

“I think this is between the representatives of the district – and that’s the precinct committeemen. Without having another election, that’s the closest thing we can do,” Monks said.

But some Republicans, as well as Democrats, have concerns about taking the governor out of the process as a check on the balance of power.

Such an arrangement isn't unheard of and half of states hold special elections to fill a legislative vacancy. Other states are split among appointments determined by county commissioners, the governor or political parties themselves, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration.

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