Should Idaho have an 'Idaho Day?' One lawmaker says yes

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - State lawmakers are moving toward making appreciation of Idaho an annual event.

Rep. Linden Bateman raised the motion Thursday to name March 4 "Idaho Day," addressing members of the House Education Committee with a miniature Idaho flag sticking out of the breast pocket of his suit.

"Celebrations nourish the human spirit," he said. "When we celebrate a grand historical event, we gain courage and confidence for the future."

March 4 marks the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the Idaho Territory into law in 1863.

Bateman, an Idaho Falls Republican, said the statewide jubilation surrounding Idaho's sesquicentennial last year inspired him to propose a yearly celebration. Bateman became emotional as he called the opportunity to present the motion "the most precious moment of my service."

"Once we designate an 'Idaho Day,' it will stay as long as there's an Idaho," he said.

Bateman also touted the benefits for schoolchildren, including a clause in his motion that the day of celebration be moved to a Monday or Friday if it falls on a weekend. That way, he said, educators can use the holiday as a platform from which to teach about Idaho history and instill excitement about the state.

School and offices would not close March 4. If the new bill becomes a reality, the first "Idaho Day" will be held in 2015.

The motion passed unanimously. It still needs to be approved by the full House and Senate.