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BOISE -- The Idaho House approved a bill that forbids cities from requiring specific exterior design and beautification standards, backing the measure over concerns it was an example of the Legislature meddling in local affairs.

Representatives voted 50-17 Monday for the legislation pushed by Republican Rep. Ed Morse of Hayden Lake.

Morse, a real-estate appraiser, brought the bill because he believes design decisions should be left to those who own and develop properties, not government planners.

Republican Rep. Steve Miller of Fairfield urged lawmakers to dump the bill, saying they should follow their own advice: Best to leave control to the locals.

Boise Rep. Mat Erpelding, a Democrat, characterized Morse's legislation as a salvo against cities like Idaho's capital that occasionally require buildings be designed so they don't negatively impact neighboring properties.

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