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Bill tweaking Idaho's trespass laws passes House

Posted: 12:44 PM, Mar 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-12 19:08:40Z

An Idaho House has advanced legislation that would add increased fines for trespassing on private property.

If approved, HB 658  would set trespassing penalties anywhere from $50 to $500, with higher fees for people who intentionally trespass. Additionally, third time trespass offenses would be charged as a felony.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, is a rancher and says she's experienced trespassing on her property -- and that the law should protect private property rights.

"Few of the concepts in the history of the world have been more important than private property; that is what our country was founded on," Thomas Dayley, R-Boise said. "Sixty-three percent of our state isn't private property, and so we have a limited amount of property that we're protecting here for the citizens of our state."

The bill also allows property owners more flexibility on where they can post trespassing signs.

"As a professional guide and outdoor educator for 20 years, I never once found a student who could use a compass and a map very well," Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, said. "As a result, I think that innocent trespass becomes a concern here." 

The bill passed on a 45-22 vote and advances to the Senate. 

The Associated Press contributed to this article.