Bill description: Senate Bill 1321 would add to the list of individuals against whom an assault or battery carries an enhanced penalty.
Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?
Senate Bill 1321 amends Section 18-915, Idaho Code, to add "employees of a public utility as described in section 61-129, Idaho Code, including any employee of a consumer-owned utility" to an existing list of people against whom, based on their profession, an assault or battery is treated under law as a more serious crime.
Equal protection under the law is a foundational principle of Western justice. Yet Senate Bill 1321 compounds the problem found in existing laws by adding more people to a protected class and then declaring that someone who violates the rights of individuals in the class has committed a more severe crime.
Discrimination is widely abhorred today — historical laws that treated crimes against women or minorities as less severe are routinely criticized, and rightly so. Yet this bill proposes to enact new discriminatory laws treating some people's lives and liberty as more valuable than others, based solely on their choice of employment.