House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, speaking in favor of HB 693, the Capitol Mall rules bill, said, “There is no rule. When the next group comes, is it first come, first served? … I think that we don't want to revert to the law of the jungle, if you will, of whoever is there the firstest with the mostest wins. And I think that is outside the spirit of exercising our 1st Amendment rights as well.” Bedke noted that the state's rule-making process is open and includes public input. “Regulating speech as to time, place and manner is a settled issue in the courts,” he said.
Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, spoke against the bill, saying, “I don't think it's needed.” She read from current Idaho Code, which authorizes the director of the Department of Administration to promulgate rules regarding the Capitol building and its grounds, and requires her to consult with the governor, House and Senate, and Capitol Commission when doing so. “This gives all the authority to promulgate rules to the director of the Department of Administration,” King said.
The House voted 55-14 in favor of the bill, sending it to the Senate; it was a near-party-line vote, with all House Democrats opposing the bill along with one Republican, Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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