Worn out by long almost all-GOP debate, House majority takes a breather from itself

Idaho House Republicans had planned to meet behind closed doors Thursday, but Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude said told the House shortly before the lunch recess that Wednesday’s health insurance exchange made a get-together unnecessary.

“After yesterday’s long debate, which I’m going to call a caucus meeting — the Democrats didn’t debate — we’re not going to have a caucus today,” said Vander Woude, R-Ada County.

Vander Woude exaggerated slightly: Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, did debate for House Bill 248 shortly after 1 p.m., just over two hours into Wednesday’s 7-hour debate.

The bill divided the House GOP as closely as mathematically possible: 28 voted for Gov. Butch Otter’s bill; 29 voted against it.

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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