BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho House late on Friday killed a must-pass budget bill, extending this year’s legislative session.
The House voted 36-29 to kill the $7.7 million budget for the Commission for Libraries.
It’s the last budget bill that needs the Legislature’s approval, but it came under fire from right-wing lawmakers who said libraries contained pornographic material.
The budget was rejected once before this session, with all 12 Democrats and some Republicans voting to support it. It was then revised with the latest budget bill cutting nearly $4 million from the commission’s budget. That failed to placate enough Republican opponents, and it caused Democrats who opposed the cuts to pull their support.
The cuts involved $3.5 million in federal virus relief money as well as $307,000 in state funding for e-books.
“I found this budget just so punitive and excessive against libraries that there was no way I could be a part of that,” said Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel.
The 12 Democrats are often enough to push through budget bills when a majority of the 58 Republicans oppose them.
“That was not something we were willing to do on this one,” Rubel said.
After the vote, Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke put a pause on House proceedings so majority Republicans could decide on their next move, with Bedke saying he preferred to meet on Saturday. But the Legislature’s budget committee started gathering just before 8:30 p.m. to start crafting a new budget for the Commission for Libraries to put before the full House again.
It costs at least $20,000 a day for lawmakers to remain in session.
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