2020 Legislature

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman


What a year 2020 has been. For this special end-of-year edition of the Idaho Matters Reporter Roundtable, we'll look back on what happened before COVID-19 first arrived in the Gem State and everything that happened since those first few days of the pandemic. From a rocky legislative session to racial justice protests and an historic general election, it's a packed hour of analysis from our journalist partners.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. Brad Little says he will call a special legislative session in Boise later this month, but it’s unclear what lawmakers will take up.

AP Images

While Idaho appears to have closed out its most recent fiscal year in the black, Gov. Brad Little is wasting no time in preemptively cutting $200 million from state budgets in the face of falling revenue.

Idaho Ed News

The Idaho Supreme Court has sided with the Legislature and the State Board of Education in a budget tug-of-war with state superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

Screenshot / Idaho Ed News

After nearly 90 minutes of constitutional arguments and pointed questions, a turf war between state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, the Legislature and the State Board of Education is now in the Idaho Supreme Court's hands.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge says her ruling from two years ago barring the automatic denial of a transgender person wanting to change their birth certificate still stands.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The state of Idaho argues a new law banning transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificates does not violate a federal court order that barred a similar state policy in 2018.

In 2016, following a contentious Presidential campaign season, City Club of Boise partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to organize a series of events exploring civility in our public discourse. The goal of this project, to paraphrase City Club founder Dottie Stimpson, was to "get people to start talking" to each other, and to chart a course for communicating outside of traditional partisan lines.

Now, nearly four years later, we appear to be at another test of civility. The 2020 Presidential election and a global pandemic of historic proportions are once again challenging elected leaders and citizens to talk to each other-- not at each other.

The 2020 legislature in Idaho was certainly overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  What were the outcomes?  What issues were left unadressed?  Four respected pundits weighed in on the session, some hot-button issues and even shared a couple of limericks for levity.  The discussion took place via Zoom meeting to respect social distancing and attendees asked questions via chat and e-mail.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio


A lawsuit was filed Wednesday that challenges Idaho’s recently passed law banning women and girls who are transgender, and many women and girls who are intersex, from participating in sports. 

AP Images

Gov. Brad Little (R) has signed two controversial bills that roll back transgender rights and which have prompted threats of lawsuits.

Samantha Wright/BSPR

Governor Brad Little (R) has until Tuesday night to sign or veto 15 outstanding bills from the 2020 legislative session.


senate, legislature, capitol
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio


In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in Idaho, the state legislature adjourned last week after a turbulent session. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho legislature has officially gone home after an acrimonious session that was marked by controversial social issues. But lawmakers’ exit from Boise leaves the governor free use of his veto stamp, if he chooses.


Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Between the coronavirus and the Idaho State Legislature, this week has been one of the most news-heavy the state has seen in a while. 

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

As the Idaho legislature continues to meet, it is doing so with fewer and fewer of its members sitting behind their desks due to concerns over spreading the coronavirus.


James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials are discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people and telling them not to dine-in at bars and restaurants, one day after the federal government issued these guidelines.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

In the waning days of the 2020 Idaho legislative session, state senators are rolling the dice on a bill that would ban transgender people from changing their birth certificates, something that's almost certainly to be challenged in court.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, Speaker, House Speaker
James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Shortly after issuing a statement saying they were taking “proactive steps” to halt the spread of coronavirus, House Republicans promoted an end of the session party in downtown Boise.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Senate has backed a bill that would forbid transgender girls and women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.