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Eye On Boise

Analysis: Trespassing bill violates 1st, 14th amendments, criminalizes innocent conduct…

An Idaho Attorney General’s analysis of HB 536, Rep. Judy Boyle’s trespassing bill, finds that it “appears to be overly broad as it proscribes a great amount of lawful conduct and runs afoul of First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment protections.”

The analysis, by Deputy Attorney General Paul Panther, found, “In reviewing the proposed language, it becomes clear that many innocent acts would be considered criminal. Three quick examples come to mind: a neighbor who sees a runaway pet and opens a fence or gate to approach the residence of the pet’s owner runs afoul … a child at a city park who picks up a handful of rocks, places them in his pocket and takes them home … a tired driver who pulls off a two-lane highway to take a nap alongside a cultivated field.” You can read the full analysis here.

The analysis also found that the bill conflicts with other sections of Idaho Code. Idaho Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell has a full report here. The bill cleared the House Agriculture Committee, which Boyle chairs, with only one “no” vote; it was up on the House’s 3rd Reading Calendar yesterday, but was held for one day rather than taken up.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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