Idaho legislative leaders have filed a civil lawsuit against the treasurer over the use of office space at the state capitol building.
An Oct. 31 hearing was scheduled to decide if state Treasurer Julie Ellsworth could stay in the capitol building, The Idaho Press reported.
Ellsworth violated a state statute when she refused to move her office at the Legislature’s request, House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said in the June lawsuit. A 2007 law allows the Legislature to decide what is done with the first, third, and fourth floors of the building. The treasurer’s office is located on the first floor.
The Legislature made the request to make room for more House members and staff offices, officials said.
“The House suffers from a shortage of office and other space that hinders its members’ ability to discharge their legislative duties,” according to a motion filed Friday. “Plaintiffs intend to use space on the first floor of the capitol currently occupied by the treasurer’s office to help alleviate this shortage.”
The treasurer’s office location is necessary for her and her staff members to do their job, Ellsworth’s attorney David Leroy said.
A motion he filed in August asked a judge to dismiss the case against the treasurer, Leroy said. Legislators are not able to sue the treasurer and it would require a resolution from both houses of government.
“The treasurer’s position would lead to the absurd result that she could claim any state office space in the capitol as her official domain (with the power to evict the House and Senate from their chambers in the exercise of her purported constitutional prerogative to establish her office location),” according to a motion.