Idaho Dispatch

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Senate Leadership Responds to Zito Floor Speech Controversy

By • February 11, 2022

The Idaho Senate leadership and Senate parliamentarian responded to the controversy over Sen. Christy Zito’s floor debate last week.

Zito was on the Senate floor a day after attempting to add grocery tax repeal to the income tax cut bill. The move was defeated, and Senate Republican leadership put out a Press Release saying that Democrats and Zito had attempted to “derail” the bill.

The following day, during the Senate’s “15th order,” Zito gave a floor speech. As she attempted to read from the Senate leadership’s press release, Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) asked for unanimous consent to go “at ease.” Zito objected to the motion, and Anthon then asked for the Senate to adjourn, and it did.

Senate leadership, along with the parliamentarian, sent out an explanation of the events from that day. Here is what it said,

In response to the events that occurred on the Senate Floor on February 2, 2022, during the 15th Order of Business, Miscellaneous Business:

Senator from District 23 arose and requested Personal Privilege and it was granted by the Presiding Officer.

Pursuant to Mason’s Manual Sec. 222, Questions of Personal Privilege, it clearly states what is considered personal privilege.

The Senator from District 23 began to read about the history ofldaho. Mason’s states, “They are not entitled to the floor on a question of personal privilege unless the subject that they propose to present relates to them in their representative capacity.” It continues in subpart 3, “Members raising questions of personal privilege must confine themselves to the remarks that concern them personally.”

The first comments that were read were made under the guise of personal privilege but did not qualify under that provision. The provision that comments were leading up to fall under
Mason’s Manual Sec. 224, Personal Explanation. Mason’s states, “A matter of personal explanation does not constitute a question of personal privilege. It may be received only by
permission of the house.”

The body did not give its consent or permission to receive the comments given by the Senator from District 23. Nor did the body give permission for the member to read from their written speech, pursuant to Mason’s Manual Sec. 112, subparts 6 and 7.

As it is precedence in the Idaho Senate to go at ease to discuss a “point of order” the Majority Leader and Senator from District 27, arose and requested from the Presiding Officer, “that the Senate go at ease.” When the Senator first arose, he was ignored by the Presiding Officer which is a violation of Mason’s Manual Sec. 91, subpart 6, which states, “To ignore a member seeking recognition to state a valid motion is unparliamentary, violates the principles of equality and violates the obligations of the presiding officer. A member who states a motion, in order when stated, cannot be denied recognition by the presiding officer on the mere grounds of the presiding officer’s opposition to the motion.”

When the Majority Leader, made the unanimous consent to go at ease, the Senator from District 23 objected. The Majority Leader then made the motion to adjourn, which was in order.

The motion to adjourn was in order and takes precedence over all other motions pursuant to Mason’s Manual Sec. 225. The Idaho Senate has documented throughout the decades of a motion to adjourn in other orders of business, including debate. Those are attached for reference.

According to Idaho Dispatch’s correspondence with Jennifer Novak, the Senate parliamentarian, we asked her if Zito’s comments were out of order from the beginning of her speech.

Here is what Novak told Idaho Dispatch,

The answer is Yes – there were rule violations prior to the start of the reading of the document.

According to Novak, Zito’s comments violated the rules from the very beginning. However, Zito had read for 2 minutes and 39 seconds before being interrupted.

It wasn’t until Zito tried to read the Senate press release from the day before that she was stopped.

Idaho Dispatch asked Anthon why she was not stopped before she attempted to read the Senate press release. Anthon has not responded to that question at this time.

Anthon did send Idaho Dispatch an email response shortly after about his version of the events from that day. This email from Anthon was sent to Idaho Dispatch before the Senate’s letter explaining the rules of the Senate:

Thank you for reaching out. You are the first to ask for an explanation. I’m sorry for the delay, but I’ve been in meetings until now.

There was an unfortunate breach of rules and protocol on the Senate floor today. Senator Zito’s remarks were violations of the Mason’s rules for ‘personal privilege’ comments. When questions of rules arise during a floor session, the Senate’s traditional protocol is to go at ease to discuss things and get back on track without further violation of Senate rules. It is my job, as the floor leader of the Senate, to help this process along and assure that rules are followed. When I asked to go at ease to resolve concerns and review the rules, Senator Zito objected to my unanimous consent request. If the Senate could have paused, we could have resolved the rule violation and allowed Senator Zito to continue in a way that didn’t break the rules. At that point, the decision was made to adjourn rather than continue with the rule violations. Since the floor session, I have confirmed with our Senate parliamentarian that the matter was handled correctly.

Thanks again for asking.

If there are any updates to this story, Idaho Dispatch will post them here.

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Tags: Christy Zito, Idaho Senate, Jennifer Novak, Kelly Anthon

15 thoughts on “Senate Leadership Responds to Zito Floor Speech Controversy

  1. Great example of the need for Term Limits.
    Majority Leader, Mason’s Manual, Protocol all gobbledygook.
    The old stooges didn’t want their little party disrupted.

  2. Hogwash.

    He had already let her say the part that was “technically” out of order. By the time he rudely interrupted her, she was clearly talking about the personal matter.

    The fact that you CAN find a way to silence your critics under highly technical parliamentary rules does not mean the you SHOULD.

    What Senator Anthon did was rude, self-serving, and classless. The fact that no one else in the Senate spoke up in Zito’s defense speaks poorly on all of them.

  3. How much corruption needs to be exposed before Idaho voters drain the swamp that is the Idaho Senate? I’ve had my fill of this “business as usual” way of shutting down all opposition to their tyrannical actions!


  4. Typical windbag response to someone who the good old boys are afraid will upset their ‘ little “ fiefdom. They are mostly shyster windbags.

  5. That long drawn out explanation was just a fancy way to hide the fact that they wanted to shut her up ! We are not being fooled here !
    Christy, you have been an inspiration to REAL Idahoans. Thank you for all your efforts .

  6. Sounds like the problem with castration had reached Idaho. These chumps who desire control have it in this setting obviously, but nowhere else in their lives. They do not promote leadership at all. Speaders of horse manure. They are approaching the earned title of human garbage.These eunuchs should run for office in California or Oregon, where this is standard behavior. This isn’t so much about the issue at hand here, but the chickenshit way it was handled.” Libtard Leadership at its best.”

  7. My Take Away: “Senator from District 23 arose and requested Personal Privilege and it was granted by the Presiding Officer. ”

    “Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) asked for unanimous consent to go “at ease.”

    Zito objected to the motion, and Anthon then asked for the Senate to adjourn, and it did.”

    Senator Zito should not have objected to the consent to go at ease.

    AS I understand it, this would have given the body a chance to consider the Senators Personal Privilege, discuss her options to get the point across in an appropriate form, and then the “BODY” could have given its consent or permission to receive the comments given by the Senator from District 23.

    Seems she shot herself in the foot and left the Leader with no choice but to adjourn. Please people RULES ARE RULES, we must have order in the house.

    That said, this whole issue falls back squarely on the broken campaign promise of the Governor for which Senator Zito is trying to hold him to account. Good on her.

    1. Rules are rules, true, but if a rule is enforced, it and EACH other rule needs to be enforced equally. They only enforce rules against the people who go against them, all the while letting other rule violations by their cronies slide all the day long! Just look at their so called ethics committee who wouldn’t know integrity if it stood and slapped them in the face! Senator Zito has done more for the people of Idaho than the vast majority of our sitting legislators. It’s 100% time to drain the swamp. All these men and women Senators and House of Representatives need strict term limits and/or their privileges to continue to serve should be 100% based on their voting record, which should be broadcasted and viewed by every single voter before elections. Since we can’t trust the huge majority of apathetic voters to do that research, we’re all doomed to continue on our journey toward a socialism takeover until this state and the entirety of US Voters as a whole wake up! How anyone cannot see that escapes me completely!

      Thank you Senator Zito, I for one think you are the example to follow, even if you did break a rule! What matters is your patriotism, integrity, hard work for the people of this great state, and commitment to sustaining our freedom!

  8. They Make sure that there enough convoluted rules so that there is an obscure vreason for a person to put forth a proposal or comment that don’t want on record. Corrupt politics at its finest. Time for a new group of people.

  9. The Idaho legislature is corruption at it’s finest. The problem is with the voters. They don’t care and are too self-centered to do any research. The lamestream media is as corrupt as the politicians. If they say anything about the corruption they loose thier access and are not “in the know” and don’t get treated like insiders.

  10. The Senate has again disappointed the people of Idaho. Those that represent the district I am in, I am not surprised because of past poor performance. This action was not about breaking a rule, it was about silencing the only one in the room I feel that truly sees and understands what the people of Idaho have gone through these past two years. Senator Zito is the shining light, in my view of integrity, a very hard worker, and compassionate about what she believes in.
    The circus the Senate pulled at the Emergency session last year was quite obvious. They were there to do nothing. It was planned. It’s time to take out the trash. Vote them OUT!

  11. You knew full and well that Senator Zito was clearing the air of the egregious accusations of her trying to derail the bill. Your actions are full evidence of your complicity in denying the constituents goals and desires. You, my friend, are part and parcel of why the is state, and country as a whole , are drifting towards socialism. You hide behind proceedure while denying an honest representative to REPRESET the people ! It’s abhorrent the way this was handled and you should be ashamed ! We the people have zero faith in you ,or yout so called representation!

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