House Passes Arbitrary School Threat Bill

On February 27, 2019, State Representative Bill Goesling (R-Moscow) introduced House Bill 209 (H0209), which “amends existing law to authorize a peace officer to arrest a person without a warrant in certain instances.”

This legislation essentially makes it legal for police officers to arrest and detain people who make an active school threat. Currently, someone who makes active school safety threats is charged with a misdemeanor. This law expands the misdemeanor to include an arrest and detention. However, there are already two laws that address this issue.

H0209 seems repetitive and unnecessary since an active threat is already considered a misdemeanor according to section 18-3302, Idaho Code. Additionally, section 18-113 states “every offense declared to be a misdemeanor, is punishable by imprisonment in county jail.”

The language is also ambiguous, leaving room for loose interpretation. The new addition states that an arrest can be made if someone was “threatening violence upon school grounds — firearms and other deadly or dangerous weapons.”

The Idaho House of Representatives passed H0209 with a vote of 47-22-1 on March 6, 2019.

*Update: House Bill 209 was passed by the Idaho Senate on March 19, 2019, with a vote of 28-4-3. Governor Brad Little signed H0209 into law on March 25, 2019, with an effective date of July 1, 2019.

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Madison Liberty Institute’s recommendation: OPPOSE

Bill Details

Number: H0209 (2019)
Text | Statement of Purpose

Sponsor: Representative Bill Goesling (R-Moscow)

Bill status: Signed by the Governor (03.25.2019)