Idaho State Senate
|Idaho State Senate|
|Partisan control:||Republican Party|
|2015 session start:||January 12, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Brad Little (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Bart Davis (R)|
|Minority Leader:||Michelle Stennett (D)|
Democratic Party (7)
Republican Party (28)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, Idaho Constitution|
|Salary:||$16,116./year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (35 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (35 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Idaho Redistricting Commission|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The Idaho Senate meets in session each year in January, typically running through late March or early April. Most senators have careers outside of their work as state legislators. In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 9 through March 29.
Idaho state senators are paid $16,116 per year, plus expenses for housing and travel during the session. They are also given a constituent service allowance of $2,200. The President Pro Tem and Speaker receive an additional $4,000 per year.
Following elections in November of every even-numbered year, candidates who are elected to the Idaho Senate are sworn in on December 1.
As of May 2015, Idaho is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Article III of the Idaho Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to be in session; section 8 of Article III allows the Legislature to change the starting date by law. According to 67-404 Idaho Code, the Idaho Legislature convenes annually at 12:00 noon on the Monday closest to the 9th of January. Section 8 also states that the Governor of Idaho can convene special sessions of the Legislature at any time.
The Idaho Legislature normally convenes at the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature was in session from January 12 through early April. The Legislature had a one-day special session on May 18 about child support enforcement.
Major issues during the 2015 legislative session included increased education funding, infrastructure improvements, tax reductions, government transparency and additions to the state's Human Rights Act.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 6 through March 21.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included $350 million worth of educational improvements, the state-based health insurance exchange passed in 2013 and prison reforms.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through April 4.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the creation of a state-controlled health exchange, school reform, business tax breaks and ethics rules.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 9 through March 29.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 10 through April 7.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 11th to March 29th.
Role in state budget
- See also: Idaho state budget and finances
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in June of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor by September.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Idaho State Legislature five days after the session convenes.
- In March the legislature adopts the budget. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
The legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget; however, the budget does not have to be balanced in order for the governor to sign it into law.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Idaho was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Idaho received a grade of F and a numerical score of 44, indicating that Idaho was "failing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Idaho was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on May 20, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 14, 2014.
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2012
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Idaho State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|Idaho State Senate, District 5, General Election||Dan Schmidt||2%||20,276||Warren A. Ducote Jr.|
|Idaho State Senate, District 15, General Election||Fred S. Martin||4.2%||18,328||Betty Richardson|
|Idaho State Senate, District 18, General Election||Branden J. Durst||7.1%||21,088||Mitch Toryanski|
|Idaho State Senate, District 29, General Election||Roy Lacey||7.7%||17,636||Greg Romriell|
|Idaho State Senate, District 6, General Election||Dan Johnson||10.7%||18,365||John Bradbury|
|Idaho State Senate, District 16, General Election||Les Bock||14.5%||19,032||Joan Cloonan|
|Idaho State Senate, District 4, General Election||John Goedde||21.6%||18,383||Warren A. Ducote Jr.|
|Idaho State Senate, District 10, General Election||Jim Rice||22.4%||12,591||Leif Skyving|
|Idaho State Senate, District 17, General Election||Elliot Werk||25.9%||16,130||Judy M. Peavey-Derr|
|Idaho State Senate, District 7, General Election||Sheryl L. Nuxoll||28%||18,105||Jon Cantamessa|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2010
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 19, 2010, and the primary Election Day was May 25, 2010.
The partisan breakdown of the Senate before and after the election was as follows:
|Idaho State Senate|
|Party||As of November 1, 2010||After the 2010 Election|
In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in state senate elections was $1,380,073. The top 10 contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Senate Republican PAC of Idaho||$27,250|
|Idaho Farm Bureau||$25,550|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$25,500|
|Idaho Power Co||$25,000|
|JR Simplot Co||$22,100|
|Coeur D Alene Tribe||$20,750|
|Idaho Education Association||$19,000|
|Idaho Telecom Alliance||$18,250|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 27, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,661,840. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Idaho Republican Party||$32,500|
|Idaho Power Co||$31,750|
|Sorensen, Dean E||$31,279|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$24,250|
|Troupis, Christ T||$22,682|
|Idaho Farm Bureau||$22,675|
|Senate Republican PAC of Idaho||$21,000|
|Jr Simplot Co||$20,300|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 23, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,199,736. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Idaho Power Co||$35,000|
|Idaho Education Association||$22,500|
|Senate Republican PAC of Idaho||$19,500|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$18,750|
|Fulcher, Russell M||$18,500|
|Idaho Farm Bureau||$16,800|
|Idaho Associated General Contractors||$15,125|
|Union Pacific Railroad||$12,350|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 25, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,315,599. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Idaho Education Association||$28,900|
|Union Pacific Railroad||$20,400|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$20,400|
|Idaho Power Co||$15,650|
|Jorgenson, Michael (Mike)||$15,304|
|Senate Republicans of Idaho||$15,050|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 28, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,287,803. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Idaho Education Association||$35,000|
|United for Idaho/Idaho Business PAC||$32,100|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$26,800|
|Senate Republicans of Idaho||$26,100|
|Idaho Power Co||$13,700|
|Citizens for Federal Term Limits Cmte to Repeal The Repeal||$12,750|
|Jr Simplot Co||$12,750|
- See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 23, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $628,054. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Idaho State Senate|
|Idaho Education Association||$13,900|
|Jr Simplot Co||$13,505|
|Senate Republicans of Idaho||$12,500|
|Lodge, Patti Ann||$12,500|
|Idaho Association of Realtors||$12,050|
|Idaho Associated General Contractors||$10,650|
|Idaho Trucking Association||$9,950|
|Boise Cascade Corp||$9,900|
|Idaho Medical Association||$9,750|
Article III, Section 6 of the Idaho Constitution states: No person shall be a senator or representative who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of the United States, and an elector of this state, nor anyone who has not been for one year next preceding his election an elector of the county or district whence he may be chosen.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
The Governor is responsible for filling all vacancies in the Senate.
The political party committee that last held the vacant seat has 15 days after the vacancy to submit a list of three recommended candidates to the Governor. The Governor makes the selection based on the recommendations.
If any party committee fails to submit a list of recommended candidates after the 15 day deadline, the Governor has 5 days to appoint a person from the political party that last held the seat. The person appointed to the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.
The Idaho Commission on Reapportionment is responsible for redistricting. The commission has 90 days to finalize a plan; if unable, the Idaho Supreme Court takes over.
Idaho received its local census data on March 20, 2011. The five cities with the highest populations were Boise, 205,671; Nampa, 81,557; Meridian, 75,092; Idaho Falls, 56,813; and Pocatello, 54,255. Boise grew by 10.7 percent since the 2000 Census. Nampa grew by 57.2 percent, Meridian grew by 115.0 percent, Idaho Falls grew by 12.0 percent, and Pocatello grew by 5.4 percent.
In the 2011 redistricting process, the commission missed its September 6 deadline to draw new state legislative maps. A new commission was formed, and first met on October 11, 2011; on October 14, they agreed to the final plan, which had 11 county splits and placed many incumbents into the same districts.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Idaho legislature are paid $16,438/year. Legislators receive $122/day per diem if living outside of Boise or $49/day if living inside Boise. Additionally, all members are eligible for actual travel reimbursement between their home districts and the Capitol as prescribed by the Citizen’s Committee on Legislative Compensation.
When sworn in
Idaho legislators assume office after the first day of December following the general election.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2015|
The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate. The President Pro Tempore is elected by senate caucus who presides over the daily session when the Lieutenant Governor isn't present and is also the chief leadership position in the majority party.
Idaho State Capitol under renovation
|Idaho State Senate|
The Idaho Senate has 10 standing senate committees: 
- Agricultural Affairs
- Commerce and Human Resources Committee
- Health and Welfare
- Judiciary and Rules
- Local Government and Taxation
- Resources and Environment
- State Affairs
Partisan balance 1992-2013
Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Idaho State Senate. The Idaho State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Idaho spent the last 19 years under Republican trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Idaho state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Idaho never had a Democratic trifecta during the period of the study, but the state has had a Republican trifecta from 1995 to 2013, and before that divided government between 1992 and 1994. The Idaho state legislature has been in Republican hands since 1992. The state’s lowest SQLI ranking came near the bottom-10 class (40th) in 1999 and 2000 under a Republican trifecta, while its highest ranking (17th) also occurred under a Republican trifecta in 2007. Idaho made its largest leap in the SQLI ranking between the years 2011 and 2012, jumping nine spots in the SQLI ranking in a single year.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 28.50
- SQLI average with divided government: 31.00
- Official website of the Idaho State Senate
- List of members of the Idaho State Senate
- Idaho Senate on Wikipedia
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Idaho Secretary of State, "The Constitution of the State of Idaho," accessed August 8, 2013
- Idaho State Legislature, "Title 67; State Government and State Affairs," accessed August 8, 2013
- Teton Valley News, "A sneak peek at the 2015 legislature," January 8, 2015
- spokesman.com, "Idaho’s 2014 legislative session underscored by election," January 5, 2014
- Idaho Statesman, "Otter facing battles within GOP as Legislature convenes," January 7, 2013
- Idaho Legislature 2011 Session Dates
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Idaho Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money, "Idaho 2008 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Idaho 2006 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Idaho 2004 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Idaho 2002 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Idaho 2000 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
- Idaho Legislature, "Idaho Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 59-904A)
- U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Idaho's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," March 20, 2011. Accessed August 20, 2012
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
- Idaho State Senate Leadership
- About the Idaho citizen legislature
- Idaho Senate, Members of Idaho senate standing committees
State of Idaho
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