State Reps. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, and Mary Lou Shepherd, D-Wallace, topped the House in missed votes during the 2010 legislative session. Sen. John Andreason, R-Boise, led the Senate in the missed vote count, though it seems that medical causes may have elevated some of the missed vote totals for all three legislators.
Using information provide by our sister site, IdahoVotes.com, IdahoReporter.com has determined that Clark, who is retiring from the Legislature and will not seek re-election, missed 122 of the 474 votes taken on the House floor, while Shepherd missed 106. Andreason far outpaced any other senator by missing 119 votes of the 353 taken in the Senate. The No. 2 senator on the list of missed votes is Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, who missed voting 32 times in 2010.
Andreason missed the majority of his votes toward the end of the session on March 24 and 25. On those two days, in an effort to hasten the end of the session, the Senate voted on a much-higher-normal-amount of legislation, which resulted in Andreason's elevated vote count. IdahoReporter.com contacted the senator to inquire about his absence on those two days. He said his wife was taken to the hospital by ambulance and that he spent two days in the hospital with her.
Likewise, Clark and Shepherd both missed the bulk of of their votes during the last few days of the session. Clark, in an interview withIdahoReporter.com, said that he missed much of the last three days because he needed to have his blood drawn by his doctor in north Idaho. Clark said that his doctor requires that his blood be drawn for testing once a year and that his doctor prefers March because Clark often reports high levels of stress during that month, which can have significant effects on test results. Had he not been able to travel back to north Idaho for the appointment, Clark said that his doctor would have ordered him into a Boise hospital anyway.
"If you look at my record, I'm not a guy who walks away from votes," said Clark.
Shepherd’s elevated count, like Clark’s, resulted from a necessary medical appointment. Shepherd told IdahoReporter.com that she had scheduled an eye appointment six months in advance with a doctor in Spokane and that she could not miss it. She left Boise the Thursday morning before the Legislature adjourned, which meant she missed most of her votes in the last three days of the session, when House members voted on more than 80 bills and resolutions.
Several legislators in both houses were able to make it through the duration of the session without missing a single vote. In the House, Reps. Fred Wood, R-Burley, Pat Takasugi, R-Wilder, Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, Bill Killen, D-Boise, and Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, all completed the session without any missed votes. The Senate, though with fewer members than the House overall, saw more members with no missed votes. Sens. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, Jim Hammond, R-Coeur D'Alene, Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade, Kate Kelly, D-Boise, Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, John McGee, R-Caldwell, Curt McKenzie, R-Boise, Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, and Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, all voted every bill that came to the Senate floor.
Curious as to how many votes your legislator missed? See here.