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Eye On Boise

Debate for and against tribal policing bill…

Rep. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, debated in favor of HB 111, the tribal policing bill, noting, “There's been much correspondence, and some of it quite insulting to me.” He said, “I can't see why it would be an issue.” Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said he spent time on the reservation on Friday nights and Saturdays back in the early '80s before the institution of cross-deputization, when he was a county commissioner. “It was just a wild area, because of the lack of police protection for non-tribal members as well as tribal members. As a result of the cross-deputization, we sorted out most of the problems. … It was significantly better from a public safety standpoint. It was also better from a cost standpoint to the county.”  Henderson said, “I strongly support the adoption of this because the law itself builds in the sideboards that protect against abuse.”

Rep. Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, debated against the bill. “This is an issue which ought to be handled at the local level,” he told the House. “I think we should turn this legislation down and encourage the counties, as they did last year, to work towards an agreement that is acceptable to the residents of that area, both native and non-native.” Another opponent, Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, said, “I think we need to give it more time.” He said to support the bill, he'd want more specificity:  “I'd like to see a very detailed roadmap, when you encounter a non-tribal member you do this, when you encounter a tribal member you do that.” The bill contains no such language; it requires tribal police officers enforcing state criminal laws to cite violators into state court.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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