Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Senate Committee Uncomfortable With Anti-Occupy Bill's Language

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

The legislative bill that would see the eviction of the Occupy Boise camp is no longer on a fast-track toward enactment, but that doesn't mean it's dead yet.

The State Senate Affairs Committee voted this morning to send House Bill 404 to the 14th Order. Simply put, lawmakers were uncomfortable with the measure's language.

Following two days of testimony, Idaho Falls Republican Sen. Bart Davis said he didn't like the bill's language, which would see the seizure of any camping equipment or personal belongings that weren't claimed by Occupiers when and if they were evicted.

"I have to admit that when I first saw the Occupy encampment, I was troubled by it," said Davis. "We may disagree on what the solutions are, but that's part of the public dialogue. I feel uncomfortable with the seizure and littering component here and I would like for us to look at modifications."

Rexburg Sen. Brent Hill seconded the motion.

"I came here to support this bill," said Hill. "But I would at least like us to consider the emergency clause and see if that's really necessary."

Hill was referring to the bill's provision that could force an eviction of the Occupiers within days of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's signature, which could make it law.

Meridian Sen. Russ Fulcher agreed.

"We may have disagreements in how to address some of these problems," said Fulcher. "But where we stand in unison is the need to have a voice for everyone and try to work together."

Only Ketchum Sen. Michelle Stennett voted against the motion to amend the bill.

"I have a philosophical disagreement with entertaining this bill in any capacity," said Stennett. "I think when we quiet what we don't want to hear in any form, then we open up a space for being quieted when we want to be heard."

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