BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho House has killed the Idaho Attorney General’s budget for the upcoming year, a move that will force the Legislature’s budget-setting committee to create a new budget for the office.
The 40-29 vote Friday appeared to be latest move in a series of attempts by some conservative lawmakers to limit the power of Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. Wasden’s opponents have also pushed legislation that would bar his office from representing the state Department of Lands and allow state agencies and other entities to bypass the attorney general’s office in favor of hiring more expensive private attorneys instead.
The Idaho Constitution requires the Legislature to stay in session until it passes a balanced state budget — which includes having a budget for the Attorney General’s office. The budget proposal included $25.7 million in state general funds next year, an increase of 4.7%, the Idaho Press reported. The increase would have covered the cost of adding a paralegal, mediation costs for regional water rights adjudication in northern Idaho and restoring about $483,000 in special litigation funds.