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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Anti-Picketing Push Returns To Idaho House

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

A bipartisan effort to curb protests outside of people’s homes is taking a new form.

The new bill would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to share a person’s address with the intent to harass or intimidate them or picket at their home.

A previous proposal would outlaw picketing in front of a private home, as well as the next home over.

“This still targets the practice without specifically forbidding the practice. It’s an attempt to take a softer touch,” said Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell), one of the bill’s sponsors.

The measure to outright ban targeted picketing initially passed out of committee last month. It was supposed to be amended by the House, but was returned to committee – a procedural move that typically spells the death of a piece of legislation, but both proposals were voted out of the House Judiciary and Rules Committee Friday afternoon.

Each of them has gotten significant pushback from those who’ve protested against COVID-19 restrictions. They say it restricts their First Amendment rights.

“Picketing in a residential area is an abuse of those rights,” said Rep. Gary Marshall (R-Idaho Falls). “I do not want to make laws against that behavior. I would much rather have people restrain their behavior and not do that and recognize that it’s inherently wrong.”

Some legislators said they were concerned about prosecutors being able to prove someone maliciously intended to spread someone’s address and voted against it.

The House could vote on both bills as early as next week.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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