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House Bill 468 — Endowment land, notices, violations

House Bill 468 — Endowment land, notices, violations

by
Parrish Miller
January 27, 2022
Parrish Miller
January 27, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 468 would make a first violation of rules promulgated by the state board of land commissioners an infraction subject to fines.

Rating: -1

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 468 creates Section 58-156, Idaho Code, to say, "Violation of any properly posted closure, restriction, regulation, or prohibition of endowment lands promulgated by the state board of land commissioners pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall be an infraction punishable by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). A second violation within five (5) years of any prior conviction under this section shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) and imprisonment in the county jail for no more than six (6) months."

It should be noted here that no actual harm or damage has to be done for the violation described in this section to apply. 

Additionally, the notion of "properly posted" leaves a lot to be desired. The new section includes just two requirements that must be met for the penalty to be sanctioned. First, "notice of said closure, restriction, regulation, or prohibition shall be posted on the Idaho department of lands website and made available at the department's supervisory area offices." Second, "notices of closures, restrictions, regulations, or prohibitions shall also be posted at gates or road or trail entry points onto the endowment land to which they apply and shall state: (i) 'Use restrictions apply,' or similar wording; and (ii) A website address and phone number for contacting the department."

Endowment lands are often in rural locations that lack mobile phone or data service. Therefore, a website address and phone number could be useless to anyone trying to determine what "closures, restrictions, regulations, or prohibitions" may exist. 

Additionally, the bill's fiscal note says "fines levied under this legislation are remitted to local courts." In other words, even if harm or damage were done, the fines levied under the provisions of this section would not serve any restorative purpose.

The proposal contained in House Bill 468 is not limited to cases of inflicting harm or causing damage, does not require sufficient disclosure of the rules being enforced, and offers no meaningful remedy even if harm or damage were done.

(-1)

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