Idaho Senate OKs Anti-Occupy Bill; 2 Republicans Join Dems in Voting 'No'

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The anti-Occupy measure has cleared another major hurdle in the Idaho Legislature.

The State Senate voted 26-9 this afternoon to approve the bill that would see the eviction of the Occupy Boise encampment from the lawns in front of the Old Ada County Courthouse.

Two Republicans, Lewiston Sen. Dan Johnson and Meridian Sen. Patrick Malloy [filling in for Sen. Shirley McKague] joined the Senate's seven Democrats in voting against the bill.

"This debate is a false premise," said Boise Democratic Sen. Les Bock. "We have laws on the books that could easily take care of this problem. Some people are offended that we have an encampment on state property. They don't want to see it because it's dirty. But they want to essentially put a chilling effect on free speech in the future."

Idaho Falls GOP Sen. Bart Davis argued that the Idaho Statehouse was a welcoming venue to those who opposed legislation, but Boise Democratic Sen. Nicole LeFavour took exception to that.

"Today, we're debating a bill that attempts to silence," said LeFavour. "I believe this is only an echo of what has been happening in our chambers and meeting rooms throughout this building this year. Hearing what needs to be said is vitally important."

House Bill 404-A now heads back to the Idaho House, because of the "A" attached to the measure. The Senate OK'd an amendment adjusting clauses on property seizure in case Occupiers leave behind tents or personal belongings.

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