House Bill 197 — Ordinances, infractions

House Bill 197 — Ordinances, infractions

by
Parrish Miller
February 19, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 197 would prohibit local governments from classifying violations of local ordinances as misdemeanors, limiting them instead to infractions with more reasonable fines.

Rating: +3

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 197 amends Section 31-714, Idaho Code, to limit what penalties counties can impose on individuals for violations of a county ordinance. The bill removes the counties' ability to charge violators with misdemeanors and sets limits for the fines imposed for infractions. The fine for a first offense is capped at $25 and the fine for a second offense within one year is capped at $50. The fine for a third or subsequent offense is capped at $75. The bill also prevents counties from classifying the violation of one of their orders or proclamations as a misdemeanor. 

(+1)

House Bill 197 amends Section 50-302, Idaho Code, to limit the penalties cities can impose on individuals for violating a city ordinance. The bill removes the cities' ability to charge violators with misdemeanors and sets limits for the fines imposed for infractions. The fine for a first offense is capped at $25 and the fine for a second offense within one year is capped at $50. The fine for a third or subsequent offense is capped at $75. The bill also prevents cities from classifying the violation of one of their orders or proclamations as a misdemeanor. 

(+1)

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits governments from imposing excessive fines and of cruel and unusual punishment. House Bill 197 brings Idaho's counties and cities into compliance with the Constitution by restricting their ability to impose excessive fines or inflict unreasonable and disproportionate penalties on those who violate local ordinances. 

(+1)

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