Legislature racks up $78K in state police costs for special session

CARES Act funds will foot the bill

By Reader Staff

The special session of the Idaho Legislature, which took place Aug. 24-26, accumulated a $78,600 bill from the Idaho State Police and more costs from the Boise Police Department have yet to be finalized, according to the Idaho Press. 

Alex Adams, the governor’s budget director and chair of the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee, said ISP costs ran to about $26,000 a day for the three-day session, which saw large groups of protestors storming the Statehouse; ignoring social distancing protocols; and, in one instance, creating a tussle while attempting to push past ISP personnel to enter a gallery area, breaking a glass door in the process. 

The session also saw a number of arrests, including famed anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, who was arrested twice and won’t be allowed to enter the Capitol building for a year.

The Idaho Press reported Sept. 3 that CFAC — which is made up of legislators, members of local governments, tribal representatives and business owners — voted unanimously to pay the police bill with part of Idaho’s $1.25 billion share of federal CARES Act funds.

“I think it was a costly session in more than one way,” Boise Democratic Rep. Melissa Wintrow told the Press. “But financially, that’s a lot of money.”

Wintrow added that she felt the Legislature’s budget should have covered the ISP cost, rather than the CARES Act, but acknowledged that what happened during the special session couldn’t be foreseen.

“When we do the ISP budget, we didn’t budget in $78,000 for a special session,” she said. “I think no one would have allocated that. … I had never experienced anything like that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt unsafe doing my job.”

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