Bill Description: House Bill 20 would create criminal penalties for knowingly making a false report or allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the government.
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 protection of parental rights is unquestionably a compelling government interest. Yet there are many ways in which parental rights are treated as secondary rights in Idaho, with suspicions and unfounded accusations given preference. We have even seen cases where young children were taken from competent and loving parents based on nothing more than unsubstantiated insinuations from meddlesome health care workers.
House Bill 20 takes a small step toward addressing this perilous government overreach by amending Section 16-1607, Idaho Code, to criminalize the act of knowingly making a false report or allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the government.
While this is a reform, much more is required. A further reform would be to subject government employees to criminal penalties if they act on a report that a reasonable person would know or suspect to be false.
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