Idaho State Senate

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Idaho State Senate

Seal of Idaho.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Partisan control:   Republican Party
Term limits:   None
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)
Members:  35
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
The Idaho State Senate is the upper house in the Idaho Legislature and it meets at the State Capitol in Boise. It consists of 35 members, each representing a district. The districts are identified by a number. The senators serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Each member represents an average of 44,788 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 36,970 residents.[2]

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.

See also: Idaho State Legislature, Idaho House of Representatives, Idaho Governor


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.[3][4]

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

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.[5]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 6 through March 21.

Major issues

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.[6]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through April 4.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the creation of a state-controlled health exchange, school reform, business tax breaks and ethics rules.[7]


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.[8]


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
Idaho on Horizontal-Policypedia logo-color.png
Check out Ballotpedia articles about policy in your state on:
BudgetsCivil libertiesEducationElectionsEnergyEnvironmentPensions

Idaho operates on an annual budget cycle with each fiscal year beginning in July. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[9][10]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in June of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor by September.
  3. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Idaho State Legislature five days after the session convenes.
  4. In March the legislature adopts the budget. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.

Idaho is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[10]

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.[10]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[12]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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.[13]



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

Elections for the office of Idaho State Senate were held in Idaho on November 6, 2012. A total of 35 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was March 9, 2012 and the primary date was May 15, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Idaho State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Idaho State Senator were held in Idaho on November 2, 2010. State senate seats in all of the 35 districts were on the ballot in 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
     Democratic Party 7 7
     Republican Party 28 28
Total 35 35

In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in state senate elections was $1,380,073. The top 10 contributors were:[14]


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:[15]


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:[16]


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:[17]


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:[18]


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:[19]


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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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.[20]


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.

2010 census

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.[21]

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.[22]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Idaho legislators assume office after the first day of December following the general election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 7
     Republican Party 28
Total 35

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Idaho State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Idaho State Senate.PNG


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.[23][24]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Idaho State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Brad Little Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tem of the Senate Brent Hill Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader Todd Lakey Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Vacant Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Cherie Buckner-Webb Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Idaho State Capitol under renovation
State senators must be citizens of the United States, electors of Idaho and residents of their legislative district for at least one year prior to election.[25]
Current members, Idaho State Senate
District Representative Party Assumed office
1 Shawn Keough Ends.png Republican 1996
2 Steve Vick Ends.png Republican 2010
3 Bob Nonini Ends.png Republican 2012
4 Mary Souza Ends.png Republican 2014
5 Dan J. Schmidt Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
6 Dan Johnson Ends.png Republican 2011
7 Sheryl L. Nuxoll Ends.png Republican 2010
8 Steven Thayn Ends.png Republican 2012
9 Abby Lee Ends.png Republican 2014
10 Jim Rice Ends.png Republican 2012
11 Patti Anne Lodge Ends.png Republican 2000
12 Todd Lakey Ends.png Republican 2012
13 Curt McKenzie Ends.png Republican 2002
14 Marv Hagedorn Ends.png Republican 2012
15 Fred S. Martin Ends.png Republican 2012
16 Grant Burgoyne Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
17 Maryanne Jordan Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
18 Janie Ward-Engelking Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
19 Cherie Buckner-Webb Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
20 Chuck Winder Ends.png Republican 2008
21 Clifford R. "Cliff" Bayer Ends.png Republican 2012
22 Lori Den Hartog Ends.png Republican 2014
23 Bert Brackett Ends.png Republican 2008
24 Lee Heider Ends.png Republican 2010
25 Jim Patrick Ends.png Republican 2012
26 Michelle Stennett Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
27 Dean Cameron Ends.png Republican 1990
28 Jim Guthrie Ends.png Republican 2012
29 Roy Lacey Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
30 Dean M. Mortimer Ends.png Republican 2008
31 R. Steven Bair Ends.png Republican 2006
32 John H. Tippets Ends.png Republican 2011
33 Bart M. Davis Ends.png Republican 1998
34 Brent Hill Ends.png Republican 2000
35 Jeff C. Siddoway Ends.png Republican 2006

Senate committees

Idaho State Senate
SLP badge.png
Senate Committees

Agricultural Affairs
Commerce and Human Resources
Health and Welfare
Judiciary and Rules
Local Government and Taxation
Resources and Environment
State AffairsTransportation

Joint Committees
House Committees

The Idaho Senate has 10 standing senate committees: [26]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Idaho
Partisan breakdown of the Idaho legislature from 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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Idaho, the Idaho State Senate and the Idaho House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Idaho state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

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
Chart displaying the partisanship of Idaho government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

State profile

Idaho's population in 2014 was 1,634,464.

Idaho's population in 2014 was 1,634,464 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 4.3 percent increase from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 19 in 2010, falling below the national average of 87.4.

Idaho experienced a 2.3 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[27]


Idaho fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 25.1 percent of Idaho residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.

The median household income in Idaho was $46,767 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 15.6 percent poverty rate in Idaho during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[27]

Racial Demographics, 2013[27]
Race Idaho (%) United States (%)
White 93.7 77.7
Black or African American 0.8 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.7 1.2
Asian 1.4 5.3
Two or More Races 2.2 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 11.8 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[28][29]
Year Democratic vote in Idaho (%) Republican vote in Idaho (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 32.6 64.5 51.1 47.2
2008 36.1 61.5 52.9 45.7
2004 30.3 68.4 48.3 50.7
2000 27.6 67.2 48.4 47.9

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[30]

See also

External links


  1., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  3. Idaho Secretary of State, "The Constitution of the State of Idaho," accessed August 8, 2013
  4. Idaho State Legislature, "Title 67; State Government and State Affairs," accessed August 8, 2013
  5. Teton Valley News, "A sneak peek at the 2015 legislature," January 8, 2015
  6., "Idaho’s 2014 legislative session underscored by election," January 5, 2014
  7. Idaho Statesman, "Otter facing battles within GOP as Legislature convenes," January 7, 2013
  8. Idaho Legislature 2011 Session Dates
  9. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  11. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  13. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  14. Follow the Money: "Idaho Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  15. Follow the Money, "Idaho 2008 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "Idaho 2006 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Idaho 2004 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Idaho 2002 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "Idaho 2000 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  20. Idaho Legislature, "Idaho Statutes," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 59-904A)
  21. 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
  22., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  23. Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
  24. Idaho State Senate Leadership
  25. About the Idaho citizen legislature
  26. Idaho Senate, Members of Idaho senate standing committees
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  28. Idaho Secretary of State, "Election Results," accessed April 17, 2015
  29. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  30. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014