The tradition of having retiring lawmakers act as speaker in the final weeks of the session proved a true test for the Ivy League educated Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise.
After two hours as presiding officer, Cronin sighed with relief at the motion for adjournment and Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, "Mr. Speaker, I'm thankful to second that motion!"
Cronin got a curveball with a long debate on Senate Bill 1369, an unemployment fraud measure. During debate on the bill, some lawmakers attempted to shift it for consideration of amendments, but their motion was defeated. Subsequently, the bill passed by a two-vote margin. But then, Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke moved to reconsider the bill, which the House agreed to do. Debate resumed and another motion to amend was offered, only to be challenged as out of order. Ultimately, Cronin moved the motion in order and the bill will be considered for amendment.
The House gave Cronin a standing ovation after his performance.
When Speaker Lawerence Denney returned to the dais to reclaim his gavel, Cronin said, "Did you know that was going to happen?"
Cronin: "Well, at least I learned something. Once you stray from the script, it gets pretty challenging."