Legislation to penalize cities that don’t enforce Idaho laws passes through House

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:14 PM MST
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —An Idaho House Bill that would penalize cities that don’t enforce Idaho felonies is heading to the Senate, after passing through the house easily On Monday.

Rep. Bruce Skaug’s HB 22 passed through the House Monday morning 52 to 13, with 5 absentee votes.

The Nampa representative said the aim of the legislation is to withhold sales and use tax revenue from local entities that refuse to enforce Idaho felonies.

“In some of our nations, we have seen over the last couple of years we have seen some riots, wildness in the streets and that has happened because felony laws were not enforced by the local jurisdictions in those states and cities during those times,” Skaug said.

Some House members raised concerns that the legislation would take local control away from cities and counties, and the state would be dictating what crimes local governments should prioritize.

“You know what, we don’t have enough police to go around, so we are going to prioritize murder over shoplifting. We are going to prioritize these things but the second they say that they lose their sales tax share,” said Democratic Rep. Ilana Rubel. “So I think this really is an incentive to keep things in the darkness.”

Skaug and HB 22 co-sponsor Rep. Megan Blanksma countered by saying the language of the legislation does not touch prioritization, and only addresses refusal. Cities and counties that willfully and intentionally refuse to enforce state felonies in Idaho

“It does not penalize in any way murder over shoplifting felony burglary. In njo way does it do that. They have to proactively say we will not investigate or prosecute a felony, before this kicks in.,” said Skaug. “Do not stretch this bill into something it’s not.”

One of the people who voted against the proposed legislation was Twin Falls Rep. Greg Lanting, because he said there was not clear language in the bill on who was in charge of enforcing the legislation.

Skaug said the Idaho Attorney General’s Office would be in charge of investigating complaints.