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Bill would increase fines and penalties for trespassing

House Bill 658 would dramatically in fines and criminal penalties for trespassers in Idaho.

BOISE - A bill designed to clarify Idaho law regarding the use of deadly force to defend yourself and your property is headed to Gov. Butch Otter's desk.

It's been called the "stand your ground" bill.

This is happening at the Statehouse as a bill to dramatically increase the penalties and fines for trespassing also moves ahead.

Those in favor of the trespassing bill say it strengthens individual property rights, but opponents point to an opinion from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden who says the trespassing bill and the "stand your ground" bill would, together, put otherwise innocent people at greater risk.

The trespassing bill, House Bill 658, is sponsored by Republican Rep. Judy Boyle of Midvale.

Under current Idaho law, someone convicted of trespassing faces a $50 fine.

Boyle's legislation would increase both civil and criminal penalties.

If passed, trespassing fines would start at $500 for the first offense and up to $1,500 for the third offense.

In instances of criminal trespassing, Boyle's bill would mandate a $1,500 fine for the first conviction, $5,000 for the second, a $15,000 fine and a felony charge for the third.

“This has been an issue for years, there has been a property rights coalition for as long as I remember, it comes and goes with different bills and different issues but the lack of respect for private property has been growing through the years, these damages, it’s terrible to listen what has happened to people on their own property,” said Boyle.

HB 658 would also relax landowner’s responsibility to post private property signs.

Opponents say this measure conflicts with Senate Bill 1313, the "stand your ground bill," which passed the Idaho House Tuesday morning, and states that anyone who forces their way onto your property or into your car without your knowledge or authorization is presumed to be a threat.

“We did have an opinion from the attorney general saying that the interaction of those bills makes it much more likely that innocent recreationists can be shot,” said Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise.

HB 658 has already won House approval and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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