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House Bill 548 — Cities, threats

House Bill 548 — Cities, threats

Parrish Miller
February 16, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 548 would grant cities broad authority to violate individual liberty and suspend property rights. 

Rating: -2

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 548 would create Section 50-347, Idaho Code, to grant city councils broad authority to, with a 2/3 majority vote, "declare by resolution any site a clear threat to public health and safety if, in the opinion of the city council, any expansion of the current operations on the site would pose such a threat to the public health and safety and would unduly attract subversive threats to the public health and safety." 

The bill further says the "resolution declaring a site a clear threat to public health and safety may declare a moratorium on any expansion of operations identified in the resolution."

The bill contains no definitions or thresholds to clarify what qualifies as a "site," how it would pose a threat to "health and safety," what constitutes "subversive threats" or how a site would "unduly attract" these supposed threats.

This bill would expand the authority of city governments by granting them broad and undefined powers to target property owners.


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?

Beyond letting cities expand their power on a grand scale, House Bill 548 raises serious constitutional questions about individual liberty, property rights, and due process. The provisions of this bill are not limited to acts of enforcing laws or punishing lawbreakers; instead, they allow a city council to simply vote away a person's property rights based on its perceptions regarding undefined "subversive threats" to "health and safety."


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