House Bill 195 is designed to prohibit protesting outside the homes of someone’s residence in Idaho.
The bill is being proposed by Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) and Rep. Brooke Green (D-Boise). The legislators said the bill was being brought forward as a result of several protests that have taken place outside of elected official’s and other people’s homes over the last few months.
HB 195 passed the House Judiciary and Rules Committee, chaired by Rep. Chaney, on a vote of 11-4.
Below is the wording from the Statement of Purpose on HB 195:
This bill amends Chapter 64, Title 18, Idaho Code by the addition of a new section 18-6411 that prohibits targeted residential picketing. Any person who in engages in picketing or otherwise demonstrates in front of person’s residence or dwelling with the intent to harass, harm, annoy or alarm another person commits target picketing.
Here is the main portion of the text of the bill which also contains an emergency provision which means the bill would take effect immediately after signage by the governor:
TARGETED PICKETING. (1) Any person who intentionally engages in picketing or otherwise demonstrates on the street or sidewalk in front of a person’s residence or dwelling place, or the adjacent residence or dwelling place, with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person commits targeted picketing. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a residence or dwelling place used as the principal place of business of an individual.
(2) Any person who engages in targeted picketing shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
HB 195 states that if a home is being used as the principal place of business then the law would not apply.
The bill would prevent individuals, with intent, from annoying, harassing, or alarming someone outside of their home. Some testifiers who spoke said that the definitions of those words were too vague.
All of the testifiers who spoke on Friday were opposed to the bill. Idaho Dispatch did not hear all testimony from Wednesday to know if any supporting testimony was given but the ones we did hear were in opposition to HB 195.
The ACLU also opposed the bill and said that there were already enough laws on the books and that the law would face constitutional challenges.
Rep. Green said during the closing of the debate on the bill in committee,
The events of the past year really can’t be forgotten. As many people have testified here in this room, a new playbook was written and several groups of individual’s across the spectrum used it to terrify families in their homes.
Green and Chaney have discussed several incidents including sidewalk chalk protests outside of Boise City Council member’s homes last year. Additionally, Green also brought up a protest outside the home of a Meridian police officer’s home last year and said that that particular incident was more personal for her because her husband is also a police officer.
Chaney closed out the debate on the bill by saying,
This bill does not limit the ability to protest. If this bill passes, you will nonetheless have the same right to protest that you have now. It is a location restriction only and it is a narrow one.
Chaney declared “Rule 80” on the vote itself because he said the bill was drafted prior to protests outside of his home earlier this week. Rule 80 meant that Chaney would choose not to vote on the bill because it had at this point become a personal issue and therefore Chaney was allowed to not vote on it.
Prior to today’s hearing, Chaney’s home has had protesters outside of it. Additionally, protesters have targeted Chaney’s business advertising.
You can see some of the images here (story continues below):
The bill now moves to the full Idaho House for consideration.
What do you think of protesting outside of people’s homes? Is it appropriate or inappropriate?
Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: ACLU, Brooke Green, Greg Chaney, HB 195, House Judiciary and Rules, Picketing