Would you believe that current Idaho law authorizes mayors to call on “every male inhabitant in the city over 21 years of age to aid in enforcing the laws”? A newly elected Idaho mayor who was reviewing the statutes that describe her duties found that odd, and contacted Rep. Jana Kemp, R-Boise, who is sponsoring HB 559 to change “male inhabitant” to “resident.”
Kemp told the House just now that the mayor asked her, “Why is it that I can only call upon male inhabitants to enforce the law?” Kemp’s bill passed the House on a unanimous, 69-0 vote.
But a look into the law’s history is even odder. The law, as you might think, originated in 1893. But it was amended in 1967 when it and several surrounding sections were recodified. At that point, the enlightened ‘60s legislators changed it from the original wording, which had authorized mayors to call on “every male inhabitant over 18 and under 50” to enforce laws. That’s right - they just changed the age.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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