With an ‘Amen’ from a top Democrat, GOP’s Moyle kills a Senate bill

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said he expected his impassioned debate against a bill extending terms for highway district commissioners from four years to six years would make no difference after the Idaho Senate passed the measure 35-0.

“This is a bad bill!” Moyle said Friday morning in a near-yell that might have brought a gavel from a less tolerant presiding officer.

But Moyle’s argument that giving commissioners six years without having to face voters was a slippery slope appeared to convince his colleagues. Moyle said enacting the bill would bring pressure in future sessions to extend the current two-year terms for legislators and the four-year terms of statewide elected officials.

Moyle, whose vote-counting skills are part of the reason he’s the No. 2 GOP leader in the House, said he figured his debate was falling on deaf ears.

Not so, said House Assistant Minority Leader Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, who spoke immediately after Moyle, who represents northwest Ada County’s District 14.

“This doesn’t happen every day but it happened today,” Burgoyne said. “With respect to the gentleman from 14: Amen!”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1285, said he appreciated Moyle’s passion but said it was necessary to the good management of Idaho’s 64 highway districts.

To Moyle’s surprise, the vote went his way, and SB 1285 died on a 46-20 vote.


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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