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BOISE -- Sheepherders who abandon their animals on the open range could soon be guilty of a misdemeanor, according to a livestock-industry proposal that seeks to enlist the state to help enforce conditions of employment.

The Senate State Affairs Committee agreed to introduce the bill Monday seeking to charge sheepherders with a misdemeanor for going on the lam.

Aiding or abetting somebody leaving their sheep would also be a crime.

Idaho Wool Growers Association director Stan Boyd says foreign workers who leave sheep unattended on the open range have become a big problem.

Even so, some lawmakers were skeptical.

Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk of Boise asked Boyd if he knew of any other job in Idaho where workers could be charged with a crime just for quitting.

Boyd didn't know of any.

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