Civil asset forfeiture reform bill clears Idaho House

Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 18:16:00-05

Idaho's House has cleared a proposal designed to rein in when police can take a citizen's property.

House members on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation forbidding police officers from seizing cash or property simply because it was in close proximity to an illegal substance. It would also ban seizing vehicles unless they are in connection with trafficking offenses, while creating reporting requirements for forfeited property.

Idaho's current civil asset forfeiture law allows police to seize someone's cash or cars if they believe it's tied to a crime as a way to fight large-scale crime operations. A person doesn't need to be charged with a crime in order to have property seized.

Last year, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed a similar measure after arguing he was not aware of any allegations Idaho's law enforcement officers are inappropriately seizing citizen property.

HB 447 now moves to the Senate.