A bill introduced Wednesday by the Idaho Real Estate Commission could open the door to government officials regulating the font size of a realtor’s advertisements.

Members of the House Business Committee voted 10 to 2 to introduce the bill. Reps. Jason Monks, R-Meridian, and Randy Armstrong, R-Inkom, opposed giving the proposal a full committee hearing.

Commission Executive Director MiChell Bird told panel members the bill would bring clarity to an opaque area of Idaho law. State code already requires realtors to list their names, plus the names of their brokers, on all advertising pieces.

Bird testified, some realtors fulfill that requirement by using extremely small text that isn’t obviously clear to consumers. Bringing clarity would aid consumers, she said. The legislation introduced simply requires that realtors display the broker’s name “clearly and conspicuously” on advertisements.

That might not end ambiguity, though. Bird suggested that if the bill passed, her commission would use the law to write agency regulations to further clarify how realtors advertise. That could mean, she told legislators, deciding what font sizes realtors use to display a broker’s name.

Armstrong criticized the plan as overly vague, and wondered if it might lead to further confusion for Idaho realtors.

“It says it has to be clear and discernible, well, who decides that?” Armstrong asked during a phone call with IdahoReporter.com. “You can’t put out vague language like that and expect people to follow that.”

Given his druthers, Armstrong would have the Legislature abstain from further hearings on the issue.

“We shouldn’t be involved in this wacky stuff,” Armstrong said.

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