Idaho Legislature: Mob Rule vs First Amendment
The last year has been a challenge for everyone in the state of Idaho. Protests that we've seen across the country have come to the Gem State in a much smaller percentage than bigger states. The frustration echoed by Idaho voters has spilled over to folks picketing elected and appointed members of our communities' homes. Is that illegal? Should it be?
The Idaho Legislature will determine when the First Amendment ends, and mob rule begins. Two Idaho Legislators, one Democrat and one Republican want to introduce legislation that would prevent citizens from gathering outside of someones home to protest an issue. They say they plan to introduce this bill in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, according to a press release from the Idaho Legislative Campaign Committee.
The legislation is drafted by Reps. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, and Brooke Green, D-Boise, and aims to protect one’s privacy within the home, irrespective of their chosen profession.
The pair said targeted picketing applies to someone who demonstrates outside an individual’s residence or dwelling with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm. It wouldn’t apply to people whose homes function as their principal place of business.
“We saw this kind of behavior happen numerous times during the past year to elected officials and civil servants, alike. We can’t allow it to occur anymore. Intimidation isn’t a form of democratic expression; it’s mob rule,” Chaney said. “If you want to demonstrate, that’s fine — that’s American — but showing up in front of someone’s house to show them and their family they aren’t safe, crosses a major boundary.”
“The home is a person’s last place of retreat. It needs to remain that way,” Green added. “There is an appropriate way to engage in a civil or political disagreement, and this isn’t it.”
Former Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo tweeted her support for this proposal. She had several folks surround her home while attending a meeting of Central District Health.
The issue that the legislators will have to decide is whether or not another law is needed. If someone protests too much wouldn't the disorderly conduct law make another law unnecessary?