Senate Debating Anti-Occupy Bill

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The Idaho Senate took up HB 404 today, the controversial bill that would see the eviction of Occupy Boise from the grounds in front of the Old Ada County Courthouse.

But before lawmakers consider the eviction measure, a few amendments have been proposed. One, Democratic Moscow Sen. Dan Schmidt and Republican Lewiston Sen. Dan Johnson, would remove the bill's emergency cause, which would force the eviction soon after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's signature.

"The last thing we want to see is hordes of police evicting them in summary fashion," said Boise Sen. Les Bock in support of the amendment.

But Dalton Gardens Sen. Steve Vick challenged the motion.

"Are you saying there should be no enforcement of the provision and the [Occupiers] would just wait until they got tired before they finally left?" asked Vick.

Johnson said he was troubled by the original wording, which would see an eviction sooner than later.

"When I came here I said I would vote my conscience," said Johnson. "I'm trying to take a stand by saying I don't agree with the emergency clause. The protest site may not be pleasing to the eyes and I do not personally believe they should be able to camp there. But the use of 'emergency' denotes an immediacy that does not exist."

But a series of technical votes overrode the amendment, meaning the emergency clause was still attached to the measure.

The only amendment that was attached to the bill was a new requirement for the state to store any belongings left on-site for 90 days to give campers a chance to claim their property at a later date.

The newly-amended bill now returns to a print hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee.

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