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Update: Speaker won’t remove 5 protesting lawmakers who want off committees

Update: Speaker won’t remove 5 protesting lawmakers who want off committees

BOISE — Five Republican lawmakers have asked to be removed from their House committee assignments in solidarity with a colleague who was stripped of hers. But the Speaker of the House says he has no intention of granting their wish.

During Monday’s House session, Reps. Ron Nate of Rexburg, Karey Hanks of St. Anthony, Dorothy Moon of Stanley, Christy Zito of Hammett and Priscilla Giddings of White Bird stood up and asked to be relieved of their committee assignments until Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, is restored to hers.

“I am deeply concerned about the integrity of this body and the mixed messages being sent to the citizens of Idaho,” Nate said.

Nate is a close political ally of Scott’s and the other four are all freshmen who beat incumbents in the May 2016 primaries. The views of all five generally align them with the further-right wing of the party.

Bedke removed Scott from her three committee posts on Thursday as punishment for comments to newly named House Agricultural Affairs Committee Chairwoman Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, made during the Dec. 1 organizational session and in the presence of other lawmakers, that female legislators earn chairmanships only through sexual favors.

“This whole thing is just really unfortunate,” Giddings said. “We all just want all this to be handled professionally.”

Scott’s and Bedke’s actions and a letter to Bedke from Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, detailing what she describes as a pattern of paranoid and aggressive behavior by Scott that has made some lawmakers feel unsafe have caused an uproar at the Capitol. Supporters of Scott have taken to social media and have flooded lawmakers’ email inboxes and voicemails arguing it was Bedke, not Scott, who was in the wrong.

Meanwhile, Scott has stood by her comments, saying she is being punished for speaking truth to power. On Friday, she took to the radio waves to lambast Bedke and Perry. Scott said she was referring to Perry when she made the comment about female legislators getting committee chairmanships.

 

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