New Anti-Occupy Bill Approved by House Committee

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Idaho State Police officers had to escort members of Occupy Boise and their supporters out of a committee room at the Idaho Statehouse this morning. The scene was a meeting of the House State Affairs Committee, which approved House Bill 693, forwarding to the full House for consideration a new effort to oust Occupiers from state property across from the Capitol in front of the Old Ada County Courthouse.

The new measure would allow the Department of Administration to authorize new rules regarding behavior on Captiol Mall properties. The bill would also allow the department's director to take legal action to preempt certain activities planned for the Capitol Mall.

"How are you going to do this?" asked Boise Democratic Rep. Phyllis King to Administration director Teresa Luna.

"We currently have the authority to manage and maintain the property," said Luna. "But we don't have the authority to promulgate rules and manage behavior."

The committee room was packed, once again, with supporters of the Occupy Boise encampment, which has been in place since early November.

"I really think your time could be spent on much more important issues," said Kay Marquardt. "Many of you have become an embarrassment to the citizens of Idaho."

But Marquardt was gaveled by Committee Chairman Iona Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher.

"I'm finished," said Marquardt.

A number of Occupy sympathizers began calling the measure a "Luna Law," referring to Teresa Luna, who happens to be the sister of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, whose education reform bills were dubbed "Luna Laws."

"People keep referring to this as a Luna law," said Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Erik Simpson. "That's crossing the line. We can't make this so personal."

Loertscher agreed.

"We would appreciate it if you could keep your attacks on individuals at bay," said Loertscher.

Ultimately, the bill passed on a party-line vote to move the measure for full House consideration.

But Occupiers said they were planning on issuing an eviction of their own, against what they said were the "corrupt members of this legislative body."

When Loertscher ordered them removed, the protesters were escorted out by law enforcement.

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