Idaho Legislature to Change Budget-Writing Committee Process

Jordan Vorderbrueggen January 15, 2023
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 With the 2023 session in full swing, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee has begun discussing a significant change to their budget-writing process. House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, is pushing for a new system that would require a majority from both the House and Senate sides of the committee in order to pass a budget. This change could have wide ranging impacts on the legislature's ability to pass budgets quickly and efficiently.

How Does the Current System Work?
Currently, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee operates under a simple majority rule, meaning that if more than 50% of all members vote yes, then the budget passes. This allows for quick decisions but can also create problems as it only takes one party to pass a budget. It also makes passing amendments difficult as they require unanimous consent from all members.

What Would Change Under The New System?
Under this new system, each chamber would vote separately on budgets and amendments before moving them forward for final approval by both chambers. This means that any proposed budget must receive majorities from both sides before it can be passed. This would give each chamber more power when creating budgets and ensure that both parties are heard before any decision is made. It could also make passing amendments easier as only one chamber needs to agree in order for an amendment to be added or removed from a bill.

The Benefits of Separate Voting
This new system has many potential benefits for both lawmakers and citizens alike. For lawmakers, it gives them more control over what goes into bills while allowing them to work together more effectively across party lines. For citizens, it ensures that their voices are being heard and that no single party is able to dictate how bills will be written without input from other sides of the aisle. Additionally, separate voting provides an extra layer of accountability as each chamber will have its own individual records on how they voted on every budget item or amendment considered by JFAC.

The proposed changes to JFAC’s voting system could have major impacts on how Idaho legislators draft budgets in the future. By requiring majorities from both chambers in order for bills or amendments to pass, it ensures that both parties get equal representation when making decisions about state finances and resources. If passed into law, this new system could provide greater transparency between lawmakers and citizens while also making sure everyone’s voice is heard in crafting legislation that affects us all. It remains to be seen whether these changes will become permanent or if they will just be used during this session - but either way they represent an important step forward in giving Idahoans more say over their government’s actions going forward.

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