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Idaho State Legislature

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Idaho State Legislature

Seal of Idaho.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Brent Hill (R)
House Speaker:  Lawerence Denney (R)
Majority Leader:   Bart Davis (R) (Senate),
Mike Moyle (R) (House)
Minority leader:   Edgar Malepeai (D) (Senate),
John Rusche (D) (House)
Members:  35 (Senate), 70 (House)
Length of term:   2 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art IV, Idaho Constitution
Salary:   $16,116/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
35 seats (Senate)
70 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Idaho Redistricting Commission has control
The Idaho State Legislature is the state legislature of Idaho. It consists of the upper Idaho State Senate and the lower Idaho House of Representatives. The Idaho Senate contains 35 Senators, who are elected from 35 districts. The Idaho House of Representatives consists of 70 Representatives, who are elected from the same 35 districts, with 2 being elected from each constituency.

The crossing of upper and lower house districts into a single constituency is found in only seven U.S. state legislatures: Idaho, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington. As of 2000, each legislative district in the state of Idaho had approximately 37,000 residents.

The Idaho State Capitol, where the legislature meets, is based in Boise. The historical building is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

As of March 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 states that the Legislature will convene its regular session on the second Monday in January of each year. Section 8 also allows that starting date of the legislative session to be changed by law. However, in 2010, the Legislature convened on the second Monday in January as provided by the Constitution. 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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the legislature was in session from January 7 through April 5.

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.[1]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through March 29.

Major issues

Legislators considered setting up a state-based health care exchange as required under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Conservative legislators opposed to the law sought to set up a public-private ownership as a compromise, rather that risking the federal government setting up one on the state's behalf. The budget and public education reform were also major issues.[2]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through April 7. [3]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 11th to March 29th.


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 is 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.[4]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Idaho legislature are paid $16,116/year. Additionally, legislators receive $122/day per diem for members living outside Boise. Members living inside Boise receive $49/day. Additionally, all members are eligible for $25/day for travel (vouchered), which is set by the Compensation Commision.[5]

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. They are officially sworn in during an organizational session on the first Thursday in December every second year. [6]


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.[7]

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.


The Idaho Senate is the upper chamber of the Idaho State Legislature. It consists of 35 Senators elected to two-year terms, each representing a district of the state. Each member represents an average of 44,788 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[8] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 36,970.[9] The senate has been composed of 28 Republicans, 7 Democrats since the 2002 elections.

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 6
     Republican Party 28
     Vacancy 1
Total 35

House of Representatives

The Idaho House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Idaho State Legislature. It consists of 70 representatives, two from each district, elected to two-year terms. Each member represents an average of 22,394 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[10] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 18,485.[11] The Idaho House of Representatives has been continuously controlled by the Republican Party since the 1950s, usually by a wide margin. However, Democrats picked up six seats in the 2006 elections, mainly in the Boise area.

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 57
Total 70


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

Idaho State Senate: 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.

Idaho State House of Representatives: Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Idaho State House of Representatives. The Idaho State House of Representatives is one of 9 state Houses 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 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives 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 have 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

State capitol

Idaho State Capitol under renovation
Idaho's state capitol, located in Boise, is considered to be one of the state's most significant buildings, both architecturally and historically. It is built in the Renaissance Revival style. Construction began in 1905 and the first round of construction was completed in 1912, allowing legislative meetings to commence in the new building. A second round of construction to complete the original building began in 1919.[12]

A State Capitol Commission was created in 1998. It was given the responsibility of developing a plan for the restoration of the Capitol.

In 2005, the state legislature allocated a portion of the state's tax on cigarettes to go into a permanent building fund earmarked for repair and restoration of the state capitol.

Joint committees

External links


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