by Andrew Crisp
While House Bill 404, the anti-Occupy legislation brought by Oakley Rep. Scott Bedke, waits for a full vote from the Idaho Legislature, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter talked about his hopes that the bill would come to his desk.
"Well, the First Amendment has more than just freedom of speech in it," Otter reminded the room full of Idaho reporters. "They're welcome to the Capitol steps, carry their signs, do whatever they want."
While he had just told the Idaho Press Club that he would avoid answering questions from "editorial vigilantes" on sensitive issues like in-progress legislation, he ventured a guess that the bill would not interfere with the free-speech provisions of the First Amendment.
"I don't see anything in conflict there," he said. "I'm prepared to go forward with that bill."
The bill would bring acquisitions like the Old Ada County Courthouse into the Capitol Mall fold—which already has restrictions from overnight stays. Otter said that the movement was allowed to set up camp back in November because of a lack of "direct authority" to prohibit them from doing so.
"That's why we—Teresa Luna—in meetings, sat down with the Occupy Boise, and said these are the things we're requiring related to the trash and things that are going on over there," said Otter. "I didn't think we had the authority to deny them."
If the bill moves through both chambers of the Legislature, and Otter signs it into law, the emergency provision would evict the movement within a week of the governor's signature.