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Senate Bill 1062 — Cities, annexation

Senate Bill 1062 — Cities, annexation

Parrish Miller
March 2, 2023

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1062 would repeal and replace Idaho's annexation statute.

Rating: 0

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?

Property rights are the foundation of a free society, and you can draw a direct line from the level of oppression in a society to the extent to which property rights are subordinated to the jurisdictional claims of states and their political subdivisions.

Annexation is the process by which a city can assert a jurisdictional claim over private property, even without the affirmative and ongoing consent of the property owner. 

This is true under current Idaho law, and it would remain true under Senate Bill 1062, albeit with some changes. 

The bill would repeal and replace Section 50-222, Idaho Code, in a manner that, in the words of the bill's statement of purpose, "clarifies, simplifies, and reformats" the law. 

The new version of the section is more concise and it replaces the somewhat convoluted annexation categories in the current law. It fails, however, to require the affirmative and ongoing consent of the relevant property owner(s) before annexation occurs.

Even under the most favorable circumstances to landowners, consent is required only from "landowners representing two-thirds (2/3) of the parcels and at least fifty percent (50%) of the area proposed for annexation."

The bill has a particularly troubling exception for "enclaves," saying consent is not required when a city wishes to annex "any residential enclaved lands of thirty (30) or fewer privately owned parcels that are surrounded on all sides by lands within a city."

No mention is made of the fact that a city can manufacture such an enclave through the staged annexations of lands around it.

Additionally troubling is the final subsection of the rewritten statute, which says, "This section applies to annexations occurring on and after July 1, 2023. It does not invalidate or affect consent obtained or annexations undertaken lawfully according to the laws in effect at the time of such consent or annexations."

This provision allows one of the most onerous aspects of the existing law to remain in effect, that of "implied consent." The provision states that "valid consent to annex is implied for the area of all lands connected to a water or wastewater collection system operated by the city if the connection was requested in writing by the owner, or the owner’s authorized agent, or completed before July 1, 2008."

This provision binds homeowners whose homes were connected to city water or sewer by the developer, even when the homeowner never requested the connection or consented to annexation. Allowing this blatant violation of property rights to remain enforced and considered "consent obtained" for future annexations is a significant shortcoming of this rewritten statute. 

Senate Bill 1062 may clarify and simplify Idaho's annexation law, and it may even set an improved standard for the future, but it leaves many of the existing law's flaws in place, most notably by ignoring the fundamental truths about consent: Consent must be freely given. Consent must be given by the person whose life, liberty, or property is at issue. Consent must be ongoing to be valid. 


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