Idaho Lawmakers Approve Talks on Annexing Oregon Counties

Idaho lawmakers have given the green light for discussions on absorbing several Oregon counties into the state, a proposal that would add thousands of square miles of rural eastern Oregon into Idaho, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).

The legislation, which was approved by the state’s House lawmakers on Wednesday, has raised concerns among legislators about the logistical and financial implications of adding such a large geographic area with relatively few inhabitants to the state.

Some Idaho Republicans view the move as an opportunity to tap into Oregon’s resources, such as water, minerals, and timber.

However, some of the land in question is under federal control, raising questions about how such a plan could be implemented.

Adding a significant amount of territory would also significantly increase the geographic size of legislative districts in Idaho, which are already stretched thin in some areas.

The move could also be a financial burden for Idaho taxpayers, given the high rate of Medicaid enrollment in these sparsely populated areas.

Critics have also pointed out that these areas have high levels of poverty and that they would lose a valuable source of revenue if they were to join Idaho, as the legalization of marijuana in Oregon has led to increased sales to Idahoans.

Democrats have also criticized the proposal, jokingly referring to the proponents of the plan as “political refugees” who are ignored by lawmakers in Salem.

Changing the state’s border would require approval from both the Idaho and Oregon legislatures, as well as Congress, OPB notes.

While some Idaho Republicans have cited concerns about the impact of Oregon’s recent decision to decriminalize most drugs on their communities, the proposed annexation has been met with significant opposition from legislators and residents alike, raising questions about the likelihood of its success.

Also on Wednesday, the Idaho House of Representatives voted in favor of the “Greater Idaho” bill. The bill (HJM 1) authorizes Idaho legislators to begin talks with Oregon about relocating the state line they share, according to