In a lengthy and at times contentious session, the Idaho Senate considered two efforts to stall Gov. Butch Otter’s insurance exchange legislation, a plan he has put forth to bring Idaho into compliance with federal mandates and to implement Obamacare in the state. But, in the end, the bill passed with a comfortable margin, 23-12.
Senate Bill 1042 met with opposition from two senators in particular, who found fault with it and sought to make changes, rather than have the full Senate vote on it.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, said during open debate that the legislation would not adequately allow Idaho to prevent the federal government from mandating insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. Nuxoll then motioned that the bill be sent back for amending. Her motion was defeated, 25-10.
Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, noted what he believed were additional flaws with the bill. “I believe the process needs to hit the reset button,” Bayer stated, pointing out that as written, the bill would create an insurance exchange that would be subject to what the bill characterizes as “all applicable law.”
“That’s not just state law,” Bayer stated. “That includes federal law, even federal law that has yet to be written.” Bayer then issued a substitute motion that the bill be sent back to its appropriate committee (the bill originated in the Senate Commerce Committee) for more public testimony and input. His motion failed by the same margin as the Nuxoll motion, 25-10, with the same senators casting exactly the same votes.
Bayer and Nuxoll motions:
No: Bair, Bock, Brackett, Buckner-Webb, Cameron, Davis, Goedde, Guthrie, Hagedorn, Heider, Hill, Johnson, Keough, Lacey, Lakey, Lodge, Martin, Patrick, Rice, Schmidt, Siddoway, Stennett, Tippets, Werk, Winder.
Yes: Bayer, Durst, Fulcher, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nonini, Nuxoll, Pearce, Thayn, Vick.
Following defeat of the two motions, and after more debate, the full Senate voted on
SB 1042. There were two senators who voted against the Nuxoll and Bayer motions, but did vote against passage of the bill. They were Sens. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, and Chuck Winder, R-Boise.
The final vote tally for Senate Bill 1042:
Yes: Bair, Bock, Bracket, Buckner-Webb, Cameron, Davis, Goedde, Guthrie, Hagedorn, Heider, Hill, Keough, Lacey, Lakey, Lodge, Martin, Patrick, Rice, Schmidt, Siddoway, Stennett, Tippets, Werk.
No: Bayer, Durst, Fulcher, Johnson, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nonini, Nuxoll, Pearce, Thayn, Vick, Winder.
The bill will now be forwarded to the House of Representatives for consideration.