Rep. Steve Berch Newsletter - Preparing for the 2023 session


Each legislative term starts on December 1st, about five weeks before the actual session starts within the first two weeks of January (this year it is January 9, 2023). This means my current term in office ends on November 30, 2024.
Members of the House and Senate convene separately at the Capitol for an Organizing meeting in preparation for the start of the coming session in January. Six tasks are completed during this meeting. The outcome of these tasks remain in effect for the next two years.  

This newsletter details the activities and outcomes from the House Organizing meeting. 

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime for any reason. My contact information appears at the end of this newsletter.


Organizing meeting results

SELECTING PARTY LEADERS. This is done the night before the start of the Organizing meeting. Republican and Democratic Senators meet separately to elect their party leaders: Majority/Minority Leader, Assistant Leader and Caucus Chair. The majority party also elects the Senate Pro Tempore (Chuck Winder).  Republican and Democratic Representatives conduct the same selection process, with the Majority Party also electing the Speaker of the House (Mike Moyle). Technically, all members can vote on the Speaker position, but the political reality is that a majority of the majority party must agree on this selection for the person to have the support they need to be effective.
TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE. This is a short ceremony that takes place on the House Floor.

SELECTING SEATS ON THE HOUSE FLOOR. This is done by seniority. A member can select any available seat when it is their turn (specific seats are reserved for the majority and minority party leaders and the Speaker of the House, who sits at the head of the Chamber AND has a seat on the House Floor).  Members of the minority party traditionally selects seats located around their party leaders.
SELECTING OFFICES.  The majority party controls this process. Previously, offices were selected by seniority, which enabled long-tenured members of the minority party to have some of the nicer, private offices on the first floor. This year, majority party leaders ejected returning Democrats from those offices and put them all into a suite of cubicles in the basement.
COMMITTEE CHAIRS.  Majority party leaders select the Chair and Vice Chair of each committee.  This is a highly political process done behind closed doors. This is one reason members of the majority party who aspire to become committee chairs may be hesitant to vote or debate against their party leaders.
COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS. Each member submits their committee assignment preferences in advance of the Organizing meeting. The number of minority party members on each committee is determined by its percentage of the seats they hold in the Chamber, customarily rounding up accordingly. Robust negotiations take place between the party leaders, but the majority party makes the final decision. CLICK HERE to see composition of each House committee. 
I am pleased to report that I have been assigned to all the committees I requested, which are the same ones I’ve been on since first elected in 2018: 

  • Education
  • Business
  • Local Government

I look forward to continue serving District 15 and the State of Idaho in the coming session!