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Politics & Government

New Rules In The Works For Permitted Activities On State Grounds

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Scott Ki
/
Boise State Public Radio
Occupy Boise Protest

Idaho State Police officers escorted Occupy Boise protestors out of a hearing room Monday morning.  That’s after a panel of Idaho lawmakers approved a bill to create rules for how the Capitol Mall is used.  Occupy Boise continues its vigil out on the state-run Mall.

This issue boils down to this:  Republican lawmakers on a House panel support the bill.  Democrats don’t.  Republicans say it gives the Idaho Department of Administration authority to write rules on how to manage state property, including the site where Occupy Boise maintains a vigil.  Rep. “Bert” Stevenson (R-Rupert) says, “All we’re talking about is the ability of an agency to promulgate rules.” 

Most people who testified Monday morning opposed the bill.   They say the legislation, is unnecessary, too broad, and targeted at Occupy Boise.  Mike Despot once managed the Capitol Mall.  He says, "When I hear it expressed that this is to control behavior on the Capitol Mall, it almost enrages me.”   Capitol demonstrations didn’t require any rules when he was manager years ago and it should stay that way, according to Despot. 

New rules for Occupy Boise protestors would take effect in May if this bill becomes law.  Now, they’re allowed to keep tents up and hold 24-hour vigils until a federal hearing in June. 

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio