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The Latest: Idaho lawmakers close 2017 session

The Latest on the Idaho Legislature’s final day of the 2017 session (all times local):


The Idaho Legislature closed out its annual legislative session Wednesday.

The Senate and House adjourned for the year almost an hour apart from one another.

While legislators didn’t pass legislation addressing the estimated 78,000 Idahoans without health coverage, they did pass a $320 million transportation funding plan to repair and rebuild the state’s aging roads and bridges. In the final weeks of the session, lawmakers also were able to defy legislative leaders and pass through a bill repealing the state’s 6 percent sales tax on groceries.

State budget writers agreed earlier this year to boost public school funding by 6.3 percent, totaling roughly $1.7 billion. The K-12 budget plan also includes $62 million to fund teacher pay increases.


11:30 a.m.

The Idaho Senate has killed a last-minute $28 million tax cut plan on the final day of the 2017 legislative session.

House members had tacked on the tax relief proposal to an unemployment insurance plan on Tuesday as a way to slash personal and corporate income tax rates. However, that amendment didn’t sit well with the Senate on Wednesday and they killed the proposal on a 29-5 vote.

That means the only tax relief plan the Idaho Legislature passed this session was a repeal of the 6 percent sales tax on groceries. The bill has been sent to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s desk, who has said he opposes the measure.

The Idaho Senate is now poised to adjourn because they have finished their work for the year.


11:15 a.m.

The Idaho House closed out the 2017 session on Wednesday, concluding their work for the year as Senate lawmakers were on track to adjourn soon after.

House Speaker Scott Bedke praised lawmakers’ work on education funding and taking modest steps to address the state’s transportation needs. Both the House and the Senate spent the final week of the session fighting to pass a $320 million transportation funding plan. On Tuesday, both chambers approved the bill, clearing it to send it to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s desk for approval.

This year’s session lasted 80 days. The Legislature tends to run long in on- election years, but this year still wasn’t as long as in 2003 when it lasted 118 days.

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