Idaho Press Club announces 2016 pre-legislative social

What: Idaho Press Club’s pre-legislative social
When: 5-8 p.m., Thursday Jan. 7 (following the AP Legislative Preview that morning)
Where: Solid Grill and Bar, 405 S. 8th St., downtown Boise
Cost: Free for Idaho Press Club members and guests
Join the Press Club or renew your membership online today at www.idahopressclub.org

By Clark Corbin

Mark your calendars, because one of the Idaho Press Club’s most popular social events is right around the corner.

The Southwest Chapter of the Idaho Press Club is inviting you to help celebrate the new year and mark the beginning of the legislative session by joining us for our annual legislative social from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7 at Solid in downtown Boise.

Best of all, the event is still free for IPC members and their guests.

For years, the legislative social’s promise of cheap drinks and free food has attracted a rambunctious cast of characters — from the ever-thirsty statehouse press corps crew to the starving rookie reporters, the jaded news veterans, the former journalists who can now afford to eat out on the regular because they took PR or communications gigs and even the occasional lobbyist or legislator. And every year there is a surprise guest or two, so you never know who will show up or what will be discussed.

Your friends at the Southwest Chapter will provide an amazing spread of appetizers and finger foods to enjoy while we get reacquainted with old friends, connect with new ones and generally try not to imagine the long days and nights that await the poor press corps during the 2016 legislative session.

In keeping with tradition, this year’s legislative social coincides with the Associated Press’ Legislative Preview, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Statehouse on Jan. 7.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and GOP and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate will attend and share their remarks on the upcoming session. Most importantly, they’ll take questions from journalists who attend.

Past previews have brought promises to restore education funding, lively discussion on the prospects of Medicaid expansion and heated debate over budget priorities. They’ve also resulted in major breaking news, such as Otter’s decision to have the state take over a troubled private prison.

The preview is open to all. As usual, a few ground rules for the event: The governor won’t answer questions that touch on his State of the State address, which is set for Jan. 11, and journalists from AP member news organizations get first dibs on questions. Once they run out of things to ask, we’ll open the floor to everyone else.

Here’s the details:

AP Legislative Preview – Jan. 7, 2016
Statehouse WW55

Coffee and socializing  starts at 8:30 a.m., program runs from 9 a.m. to noon

Guests: Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, Sen. Michelle Stennett, Rep. John Rusche.

Moderated by AP political reporter Kimberlee Kruesi

That should give you all the incentive you need to wrap those interviews up, file your story and head to Solid. Soft drinks, beer, wine and cocktails will be available to purchase, so be sure to arrive early to take advantage of happy hour pricing.

Watch your email inbox for a follow-up invite, and please feel free to invite your significant other or anyone who might enjoy a chance to hang out with a bunch of journalists and communications pros celebrating one of their last nights of freedom before the session kicks off.

Corbin is a legislative reporter for Idaho Education News and the president of the Southwest Chapter of the Idaho Press Club and Rebecca Boone, AP.