House of Representatives
|November 6, 2012|
|Idaho State Capitol, Boise|
The Idaho Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Idaho. It consists of the upper Idaho Senate and the lower Idaho House of Representatives. The Idaho Senate contains 35 Senators, who are elected from 35 districts. The Idaho House of Representatives consists of 70 Representatives, who are elected from the same 35 legislative districts, with 2 being elected from each constituency. There are no term limits for either chamber.
The crossing of upper and lower house districts into a single constituency is found in only seven U.S. state legislatures: Idaho, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington. Based on 2010 census data, each legislative district in the state of Idaho had approximately 44,788 residents.
Elections and composition
Members of the Idaho Legislature were originally elected by county, but in recent times districts apportioned by population have replaced representation by county.
Today members of the Idaho Legislature are elected from 35 districts throughout the state. Some districts include several counties, while others are located entirely within a single county. Ada County, the state's largest by population, currently has eight legislative districts within its boundaries.
Districts are reapportioned every 10 years. The next reapportionment is expected to occur after the 2020 census and take effect as of the 2022 election.
In the 1980s voters elected legislators from two districts, a smaller local district and a larger "floterial" district which often encompassed an entire region of the state. Legislative seats in floterial districts were last contested in 1990. Today floterial districts are prohibited by the Idaho Constitution.
Currently both houses of the Idaho Legislature are controlled by the Republican Party with large majorities. In the 2013 62nd Legislature the Senate is composed of seven Democrats and 28 Republicans. The House is composed of 13 Democrats and 57 Republicans.
In terms of single party strength the Idaho Senate is tied with South Dakota for the third most Republican controlled senate in the nation behind Wyoming (26-4) and Utah (24-5). The Idaho House is tied with Utah as the second most Republican controlled lower house in the nation only trailing Wyoming (52-8).
Location and time of operation
The Idaho Legislature normally convenes at the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise. The Legislature meets annually from January until mid-March, although sessions have been known to last into May. The Governor of Idaho may also call special sessions at any time.
The Idaho State Capitol Commission was created by Governor Phil Batt in 1998. The Commission undertook the leading role of extensively remodeling the capitol building starting in 2007. The 2008 and 2009 sessions of the Idaho Legislature met in converted courtrooms in the old Ada County Courthouse. The capitol building was official re-opened and re-dedicated on January 9, 2010.