Three Democrats on a House panel considering a change to the Idaho Constitution involving redistricting walked out in protest on Friday at what they called a clear attempt at gerrymandering before the 10 Republicans voted unanimously to send the legislation to the full House. A short time later, the Democratic House Minority Leader, Mat Erpelding, continued the protest by requiring the full text of three bills be read before debate could begin. Democrats have said the redistricting legislation made public Wednesday followed by the hearing on Friday happened too fast to allow adequate public participation. “If they want to speed up the process, I can slow down the process,” Erpelding said after the House adjourned.
Bill sponsors typically ask for unanimous consent to skip reading the full text of a bill, but anyone can object and require the clerk to read the entire bill. The time it takes to read bills can significantly slow business in the House. Erpelding said he planned to continue objecting the rest of the legislative session unless Republicans chose a different path on the redistricting legislation.
“They can bring everyone to the table and have a conversation about how to fix it, not ram it down people’s throats,” he said. “It’s an amendment specifically to allow them to gerrymander Idaho.”